• John Frum – A Stirring In The Noos

    John Frum – A Stirring In The Noos
    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: May 12th, 2017.
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    The debut album from John Frum (a band, not a person), is A Stirring In The Noos, comprised of eight tracks running roughly forty minutes in length intricately bridging the gap between psychedelia and technical death metal. John Frum is a four piece made up of Matt Hollenberg on guitar, Eli Litwin on drums, Derek Rydquist on vocals and Liam Wilson on bass.

    The album, released via Relapse Records, starts off with Presage Of Emptiness, a five minute assault on the sense comprised of brutal cookie monster style vocals that you probably won’t understand and a some absolutely wicked drumming courtesy of Litwin. The guitar work here is odd, kind of spastic and not always the kind of shredding you’d expect from a death metal track, but it gives this track, and the other seven on the album, an interesting schizophrenic feeling that works quite well.

    Up next, Pining Light, a four minute track that sees Rydquist’s vocals get a bit more discernable (at least to start) and the band backing him get incredibly technical. This one changes tempos and shifts gears a few times throughout its running time, making it an interestingly unpredictable entry form the band. This one is remarkably eclectic, it really is all over the place and it’s quite experimental. Track three, Memory Palace, is the longest track on the record at just over nine minutes in length. It opens with a sort of mellow, droney intro that, two and a half minutes later, heads straight on into some seriously sludgy territory. It’s never doom or stoner rock, it’s way too unpredictable to fall into that style. It’s almost like free jazz in how it goes in so many different directions at once – it’s pretty amazing. The first half of the album finishes up with Through Sand And Spirit, the shortest track here at three minutes and twenty-two seconds in length. This is the closest thing here to traditional death metal, it’s fast and speedy and intense with the low, guttural vocals associated with the genre, but again, John Frum doesn’t adhere to convention, channeling some Faith No More or maybe Mr. Bungle or Fantomas into the mix in healthy doses.

    Lacustrine Divination kicks off the second half, spending just over six minutes. It opens with an ambient, trance inducing instrumental section, very clam and very mellow – almost dreamlike. Just before the one minute mark the drums and guitars and bass swell up in the mix, until the eventually dominate. Rather than blast you right from the start, however, the musicians continue to build just a bit longer until the vocals kick in. Once they do, this one stays planted firmly in mid-tempo territory, some mathy chord changes keeping us on our toes while the drum and bass keep things moving along at a good clip. He Come, clocking in at four minutes even, also opens on a quieter note, though it’s a slightly unnerving one, sounding almost like something out of a horror movie soundtrack. The percussion kicks through into the mix and the guitar and bass play in time with the drums – it gets pretty crunchy here for a bit, then those weird, jazz influences take over again and they band somehow manage to sound like they’re playing together and apart all at the same time. It’s the only instrumental track on the record and it segues directly into Assumption Of Form by way of some weird, trippy effects work – there’s no pause, it just slows down, moves into the next track, then speeds up. Once it does that, Assumption sees the band back in more familiar territory, Rydquist grunting his way through the vocals with the drums hitting so fast and so hard as to approach blast beat territory at times. It all finishes off with the album’s closer, Wasting Subtle Body, a three and a half minute rager than closes things out on an incredibly aggressive note. It comes at you fast, maybe the fastest track on the record, but again, the playing is so tight and yeah, so clean, that you can make it all out very clearly and appreciate just how technical this band gets and how good they are at what they do.

    Check out some of the band’s official videos for a few tracks off of this record below: