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Boomkat Product Review:
The none-more prolific John Zorn returns with this fearsome body of work, for which he has recruited Mike Patton, Ikue Mori and Jamie Saft as collaborators, in addition to the cast iron rhythm section of Joey Baron and Trevor Dunn. The inspiration behind this suite is the decadance and eccentricity of the short-lived Roman emperor and all-round nutjob, Heliogabalus. The album begins with some Melt Banana-like stop/start noisecore, but this being a John Zorn work, you can expect all manner of generic and stylistic twists and turns along the way. In fact the album manages to take in elements of jazz, contemporary classical and outright grindcore with tremendous success - usually within the confines of a single piece. On 'Litany III', Saft's organ elevates this ferocious music way beyond the realms of metal with some magnificent soloing. 'Litany IV' is Patton making like Maja Ratkje or Jaap Blonk with some utterly wild, animalistic vocal improvisations and incantations. It's pretty scary stuff. The album comes to a comparatively stately close with the chorus and laptop workout 'Litany VI' a piece dominated by the close-knit harmonies of a female vocal trio and Mori's meticulously detailed electronic interventions. Excellent.