Boomkat Product Review:
Avant-metal lord Aaron Turner cuts loose with knife-edge guitar distortion and penetrative use of near-silent tension on his killer first solo album
Over the past few years Turner has repositioned himself in more abstract experimental terrain after craving his name all over radical modern metal with his band, Isis. Whether working with his wife, Faith Coloccia, noisy guy Daniel Menche, or Bhutanese virtuoso Tashi Dorji, he’s clearly a demonic dynamo with capacity to generate deeply probing sounds from his guitar, amp and FX set-up. On ‘Repression’s Blossom’ he works with seething levels of restraint stop cough up four distinct, interrelated works that firm up as his definitive solo statement.
Perhaps too far out for some Isis fans, and perhaps exactly what others were looking for, the album makes sure to keep any half-hearts at arm’s length with the opening side of sustained, piercing high-end frequency exploration and erupting distortion in ‘Fear of Discovery’, before sousing your senses like a baptism of fire with the jagged free jazz wrenches and nose-to-string technicality of ‘The Vanity of Need’, which highlights your own “need” for something with its long stretches of threatening near silence eventually banking into buzzing, claw-handed motifs. In sequence ‘Attar Datura’ follows this course of summat from nowt as his amp hum grows into a haunted scape of string scrapes that sound like banshees to doomy, plangent riffs comparable with Dylan Carlson, making his legion hairy horde wait until the final track ‘Underlying Nature of Habitual Dishonesty’ for the tension to nearly spill over into aggression. But even then he keeps it on a tight leash, until an eventual Merzbow-esque squall pays up on your deferred gratification.