"Scream of the Iron Iconoclast"

(At a Loss)

01. Gravitas
02. Scream of the Iron Iconoclast
03. To the Sun
04. Secrets of the Past
05. Willie Nelson (Tired of the War)
06. Unreal
07. Yagan's Head
08. Thirteenth Moon
09. Soul Retrieval
10. Indomitable Will
11. Presence of Mind
12. Requiem For a Rock Band
13. That's How I Feel
14. Cyclops
15. The Neutral Ground
16. Nails

RATING: 8/10

Instrumental bands, from THE FUCKING CHAMPS to DYSRHYTHMIA to KARMA TO BURN to ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF, seem to have a really hard time with the whole categorization thing. That's all well and good for the art, but it's a bitch trying to file the damn CD at the record store. Are DYSRHYTHMIA indie rock? Would they still be if some wiry young pretty-boy in a too-tight Quisp Cereal t-shirt and neck tattoos was screaming his barely-dropped balls off over the music?

STINKING LIZAVETA have been bouncing around for years in just that kind of category purgatory. The instrumental three-piece plays a big, dirty, ornate, earthy form of raggedy prog (they call it "doom jazz") that's just as much post-rock as it is trad-metal (imagine "To the Sun" as a HAMMERS OF MISFORTUNE song and watch the denim-and-buttons crowd freak out). But really, it's easy to overthink this whole labeling thing. Perhaps more than anything, they sound like three-quarters of LED ZEP threw out the poncy guy with the mic, set up in a big empty chamber of Pagey's crumbling castle and just wailed for an hour, all thundering and analog sweat and grease.

There's coming-down-the-mountain riff crunge, there's deliciously twisted noodling lines, there's a big loud clattering real drum kit being hit damn hard, there's meandering rhythms that slink and creep along like the trail of some shambling, living cryptozoological wet dream… it all evokes quite a lot of vague, fuzzy and generally tripped-out mental images, all open to interpretation and immeasurably aided by the controlled substance of the listener's choice. Great choice either for a night alone with the headphones on, or cued up on the stereo at the tail end of one of those really good, really fucked-up parties, when the last few still standing have fallen about the place, eyes half-shut, not talking, enjoying the way the room is spinning just so. Mood music for free-thinking metalheads and indie rockers unafraid of a little gristle and chunk.


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