I think it’s only fair to tell you right from the start that, right now, I think Gnod are the best band on the planet. So with this in mind, expect little in the way of balanced judgement and an automatic assurance of a five-star review.
Gnod are from Salford and have a constantly shifting identity, in which members switch roles and come and go as they please. They have released a laudable amount of aural goodness. Anyone who has had the good fortune to see them live will attest to their sheer power and open ended-ness onstage. It is not unusual for you to be inadvertently in the band just by the dint of you being in the same venue, such is the inclusiveness of the band. The normal lines of demarcation between band and audience are often ignored.
Gnod have already dropped one of the most remarkable albums of the year with ‘InGnodWeTrust’, which was two side-long slabs of bloody minded papal infallibility. Last year’s Gnod/White Hills ‘Dropout’ was/is one of the finest albums I have ever heard, and was certainly my album of the year without question.
‘Chaudelande vol.1’ begins with the propulsive ‘Tron’, which melds the stratospheric space rock of Hawkwind with the monolithic grimey-ness of Butthole Surfers to thrilling effect. This is the first Gnod release where wirey vocalist and long-time live fixture, Neil ‘the fish’ Francis comes to the fore, which he does to quite unexpectedly anthemic effect. I remember hearing this track at this year’s Supernormal festival, and being left floored by it.
Next track, ‘Visions of Load’ marries a Suicide-esque analogue synth riff to a insistent motorik beat, over which Francis intones dark mantras clouded in delay, the meaning of which only he knows. The side-long ‘Vertical Dead’ is reminiscent of PiL after an accidental exposure to the brown acid. Dark, dubby bass and scraping guitar glissandos provide swirling backing to a Francis’s psychedelic musings of being a missing person. The song breaks down into echoey disintegration, only to rise again with a pounding shamanic ending.
A truly stunning release which is hopefully going to be followed up by a ‘Chaudelande vol.2’ (it’s certainly implied in the title), and with a rumoured split EP with Largactil-strength Newcastle doomsters, Bong, the future is looking very sludge-y indeed.
Posted: Fri 18 November 2011