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Seven That Spells, "Black Om Rising"

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cover image The latest from Zagreb's instrumental rockers Seven That Spells is a marked improvement over their previous collaboration with Acid Mother Kawabata Makoto. While that album certainly wasn't bad, its main fault was that it sounded too much like any other Makoto project. Here, however, their energy and prowess are on full display.


Beta-lactam Ring

What sets the band apart from other instrumental psych groups, besides their occasional synth, is their use of the saxophone, particularly on songs like "Ra" and "Lo III." Its playing is alternately soaring or frenetic, complementing the music perfectly and giving it a unique identity. Although all of the musicians are uniformly excellent, drummer Bruno Motik in particular stands out on tracks such as "Lo III" and "Daktari." His unconventional style brings a welcome urgency to these songs.

Unlike the work of some other instrumental groups, there is never a sense that these songs are lacking vocals. Their ever-evolving arrangements provide all the entertainment they need. The band goes from whirring electronics to tribal beats to straight-ahead rock to ear-shattering freakouts with ease. They are always full of surprises, even ending the album's finale, "Tearjerker," with an airy, palette-cleansing guitar cloud.

The flipside of the CD is a DVD of one of the band's live performances. While generally the bonus material that supplements an album tends to be of average or sub-par quality, this concert footage is actually pretty good. It doesn't waste time with any artsy gimmicks and shows the band under decent lighting, capturing their music with good sound quality. The songs themselves don't stray too far from how they sound on the album proper, but that's only a minor complaint. Since I'm not sure if I'll ever have the chance to see them live, it's nice to have this footage.

There seems to be a dearth of quality rock these days, but Black Om Rising goes a long way toward proving that wrong. Lacking any fashionable pretensions, the group simply lets their music speak for itself in all of its dazzling glory.


Last Updated on Sunday, 24 August 2008 13:57  


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