Review: Gnod ‘Easy To Build, Hard To Destroy’

The prolific monarchs of drone sit atop their throne. Nothing if not prolific (they’ve twenty substantial releases on Bandcamp) this addition to Gnod’s menagerie of psychedelic-space-drone-jazz-rock birthlings is surely welcome to old hands and neophytes alike. Rightly billed as ‘the sound of an uncompromising devotion to rapture through noise and repetition’ this collection of the rare, the odd and the unreleased is a worthy addition to Gnod’s impressive discography.

Gnod 'Easy To Build, Hard To Destroy'

Occasionally, as I’m sure you good people already know, compilations of this type comprise pieces that are unknown, unreleased and unloved for a reason – they should’ve been consigned to the floor of the tape room shortly after birth such is their unloveableness. The chimeric albums that they comprise are disjointed, inconsistent and unsatisfying to all but the fanatical hysteric. What makes Easy To Build… all the more impressive is that, not only is the filling good but the pie is a tasty congruent, one whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

We ease in with the raga infused, percussion driven Elka, a simmering piece of tinkling space drone that takes the listener on a journey through the hypnopompic state experienced as one wakes gently from a beautiful dream. With glockenspiel accompaniment.

a true trove of gems that will serve as a good introduction to Gnod’s oeuvre for the uninitiated, as well as giving established fans something new to nourish their souls…

On we go through the Loop-esque, guitar focused Inner Z with its smothered vocals at times sounding to these tired old ears like a drowning Mark E Smith railing at the Universe below circular fuzz-wah riffing. All underpinned by that curiously specific space rock drum plod (and I mean that in the very best sense!) which is also the foundation of the third missive, They Live. Again we’re engulfed in hypnotic riffing, vocals aurally glimpsed through a thick sonic mist through which we’re led to safety by a reedy organ before it’s subsumed by the guitars.

Don’t fret friends, I’m not going to take you on a track by track guided tour of the whole album! I do, however, want to introduce you to the sonic landscape of 5th Sun (Chaudelande Version), this is the standout track for me, near-on twelve minutes of tribal drum powered (think Neurosis) thunderous riffage. Accepting that Gnod’s Paddy Shine is reluctant to court mysticism, 5th Sun is a perfect soundtrack to the worship of a bull deity by Hathorian cult members somewhere in a cavern deep in the ancient Aegean landscape. A cyclical behemoth of driven guitar that, somewhere in the middle, plummets further into the earth via the means of a reverb and echo drenched spiral descent. It’s its own beast, but if you need a peg to hang it on for context, try Orthodox’s Geryon’s Throne.

In all Easy To Build… is a true trove of gems that will serve as a good introduction to Gnod’s oeuvre for the uninitiated, as well as giving established fans something new to nourish their souls. It’s the sonic equivalent of the clean serenity that can follow the morning after a particularly heavy psychedelic trip and that’s not something to be sneezed at.

Label: Rocket Recordings
Band Links: Bandcamp | Twitter

Scribed by: George Green