LUGUBRUM
"Heilige Dwazen"

(Old Grey Hair Records)

01. Holy Fools Embodied
02. The Kiss on the Anus
03. At The Base of Their Tail
04. Though Chained
05. We Slyly Sucked Stolen Bread
06. On Anemone Meteorites

RATING: 7/10

Well, doing this album justice with my meager words is going to be next to impossible, but I'll give it a shot anyway. If you're a black metal fan, will you like "Heilige Dwazen" from Belgium's LUGUBRUM? Maybe. You had better go in with an open mind and an appreciation for the strange and the eclectic though. While the term "black metal" is used broadly in this context, it is accurate in the sense that "Heilige Dwazen" does rock hard with lots of galloping rhythms, primal (though a bit off the beaten path) guitar tones, and Barditus' gravelly-throat croak vocals. It's not like LUGUBRUM has strayed as far from the black metal path as, for example, ULVER, but wrapped around those black metal fundamentals is one freaky ride, and a cool one at that.

The frequent use of a saxophone serves as more than an intriguing oddity; it is a central component of the album's sound. Sometimes subtle (i.e. the light squawks on "Holy Fools Embodied" as bass and guitar play off each other nicely), but more often on par with bass, drums, and guitar, the instrument demands your attention. There are moments when I thought less about a black metal band with a sax and more about the random freak-outs heard on THE STOOGES' "Funhouse" disc (i.e. "We Slyly Sucked Stolen Bread"). As I alluded to earlier, those that can only take so much artsy trippiness should find solace in the album's general aggressiveness. The band is at its best when mixing it up, as "At the Base of Their Tail" so aptly demonstrates. One particularly enthralling section has the group travelling at full-speed, the bubbling bass and semi-clickety guitar equally audible before slowing down into a swaggering beat as a lazy sax plays, Barditus still uttering his shouts of what I could only describe as irritation at a bout of severe constipation. When the vocalist breaks from his regular delivery and moves into what seems to be purposeful off-key "singing" on "We Slyly Sucked Stolen Bread", the result is actually quite charming, albeit in a pants-stained-with-piss, drunken sort of way. After four-and-a-half minutes of, uh, "normal" LUGUBRUM musical delivery on "On Anemone Meteorites", the remaining eight minutes consists of an unsettling drone and creepy carnival accordion loop.

Have you now figured out that "Heilige Dwazen" is not for everyone? Good. I seriously doubt the band intended for its smartly done and wonderfully grating art to have mass commercial appeal. Good stuff.

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