Pektop ‘The Antikythera Mechanism’ CD 2011
Belgian rock and roll is something of an unknown quantity. We know the Belgians love chips and mayonnaise and make some kick arse beer but almost nothing is known about their rock and roll scene. It does exist, however, and does throw up some bands worthy of a second look if they could only break out of their own little enclave.
Pektop will, I suspect, be entirely unknown to just about all of you but there is something about this trio from Leuven that is worth investigating. Their instrumental post rock meets stoner meets metal vibe, despite the description, does make for an interesting listen. The opening title track is a fairly full on, propulsive slice of post modern stoner metal backed up by some skittish rhythms…like Pelican if they were a lot more interesting and a lot harder edged. “Drowning” follows a similar path but eases back on the aggression to deliver more light and shade, particularly through the faintly psychedelic mid section.
Talking of psychedelia, “Sadie” rocks in on a fuzzy and aggressive riff not a million miles from some of Hawkwind’s harder moments. The drums here seem to be attempting to lift the tune into a higher level with a rhythm that approaches dub step with metal overtones…figure that out if you can!!! “Dusk” is an altogether more atmospheric piece as the trio lock in to a creeping, darker shade of groove that constantly threatens to break into something far heavier and doom laden yet in not doing so serves to create a greater level of tension. It’s placing directly in the middle of the album gives great pause for breath.
The band crash back into more familiar territory on “Flames Of Rhyss” which rides on yet more fat riffs and impulsive drumming. Pektop up their metal ante on “Quickening” where guitarist Adriaan De Raymaeker kicks off with a riff that could have been born in the glory days of the NWOBHM and almost seems to run away from the drums of Ivo Rensen. This injection of punky energy is a welcome shot of adrenaline from the band and shows they have the credentials to start of a successful mosh pit. The band bring the mood down once more for the final track ”The Last Great Beast” which sidles in on a wave of feedback and understated tom work before crashing in with some prime doom metal.
At seven tracks this isn’t the longest album in the world and Pektop aren’t one for overplaying their song structures. Unusually for a band of this ilk their songs are, for the most part, short sharp shocks that rarely give way to any extraneous fat and that works in their favour as no song is allowed to overstay its welcome. If I do have a criticism it lies with the production. Undertaken by the band themselves on the cheap it does sell them short. There is no shortage of clarity and everything is perfectly audible but it is short on balls. The guitars sound a little thin and the drums lack that real kick in the guts that would make this a far more visceral listening experience. The dynamics and ideas are all certainly in place but a little more time and a little more financial investment in creating a killer recording could potentially lift Pektop head and shoulders above their peers. This is a good start but there is more to come from these guys. The album is available to stream at their website (and below) so give it a spin.
Label: Angel Dusted Music
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall