Jucifer/Show Of Bedlam – Split CD 2009
Two bands fronted by righteous, rawkin’ chicks sharing one wee silver disc here – two-headed sludge rawk behemoth Jucifer bring four new tracks to the table, and avant-doom new kids on the block Show Of Bedlam hit us up with five tracks of blistering dooooom riffola.
Jucifer seem hell-bent on using their four tracks to show us their range – from the balls-out slow-mo nuclear sludgefest of ‘Hiroshima’, during which frontwoman Amber Valentine appears to be channelling the eye-popping throat-shredding banshee howl of Alan Dubin (of OLD/Khanate/Gnaw infamy), to the galloping Iron Maiden/Melvins hybrid of ‘Invincible Armies’, via the sloppy all-over-the-shopisms of quick and to the point-less grind number ‘Good Provider’, and finally on the ‘Houdini’-era Melvins hypno-rocker ‘Soldiers Of White Light’, where Amber alternates between droning, layered, sweet as honey vocal breaks and her usual throaty rasp before layering the vocal drones into slightly sinister harmonies over a machine-gun syncopated ending. Heck, that’s a fair amount of ground covered during four relatively short tracks, but Jucifer manage to show us what they’re capable of whilst still maintaining their own identity. Although the sound quality isn’t as flattering to their sound as their last full-length, L’Autrichienne, these four ‘live-in-the-studio’ tracks would serve as a great introduction to Jucifer for the curious.
Montreal’s Show Of Bedlam contribute five tracks of lumbering, rolling avant-doom metal to this, their debut outing. Frontwoman Paulina Richards declaims and croons, swooping between the two dramatically, whilst the male contingent behind her let rip with HUGE roiling doom riffage, pounding drums and lithe basslines, alternating between those Goatsnake-esque riffs of hugeness and subtler ebbing and flowing atmospheric parts. Opening track ‘Mr. Filth’ begins with humming, droning feedback before the mighty wardrums of Nick Richards start up, closely followed by the massive, surging central riff of guitarist Guillaume Pilote and bassist Kevin Jones. The sound here is not that of a band on its first outing to the recording studio, they sound like salty old sea-dogs and veterans already, so well doe their sound gel. The main riff of ‘Mr. Filth’ gives way to a churning, surging pulse of drums, intercut with dischordant guitar stabs, before fading away entirely.
The following four tracks follow along similar lines in their construction, with colossal riffs giving way to more contemplative passages, with a more sinister, pervasive atmosphere entering on slightly more subdued final track ‘Doppelganger’. Parts of this hint at an almost filmic level of creepiness ala Bernard Herrman. Paulina Richards strident vocals stand out, sounding as they do like a cross between a much calmer Diamanda Galas and Yoshiko Ohara of fellow avant-doomsters Bloody Panda at times. She can growl and shriek with the best of ’em, I’m sure, but she mostly plays it safer here. All-in-all, a VERY impressive debut from Show Of Bedlam.
Label: Choking Hazard Records
Show Of Bedlam: www.myspace.com/showofbedlam
Scribed by: Paul Robertson