When guitarist and sonic sculptor Eraldo Bernocchi (Harold Budd, Bill Laswell, Nils Petter Molvaer, Obake) got together with Porcupine Tree bassist Colin Edwin to form a band, or perhaps I should say, project, they did away with constraints from the very beginning: “There’s really no specific idea or concept at work here,” said Bernocchi in describing the product of their collaboration, called Metallic Taste Of Blood, same as the name of this project.
Joined by keyboard player Jamie Saft (Bobby Previte, John Zorn, Marc Ribot) and drummer Balázs Pándi (Merzbow, Obake, Venetian Snares), Metallic Taste Of Blood is an ensemble that projects the collective musical personality of its participants and are not angling for a certain style. The style just happens from group interaction and improvisation, and it’s a style that traverses far and wide across the cutting edge parts musical landscape: metal, jazz, ambient, ethnic fusion, progressive dub, drum ‘n’ bass, experimental and prog rock are all represented on this disc.
It’s apparent to me that this unique mixture of styles came about because of the individuals involved. Bernocchi is fire and ice, the fire coming from his axe and the ice that could be used to describe the frigid electronic washes and smooth sonic sheets.
Saft plays a key supporting role adding spare piano motifs that contrast harshly with Bernocchi’s heavy slabs of guitar and electronic effects, but he’s got a flair for the jugular, too as on “Schizopolis,” when he chose to counter Bernocchi’s thunderous chords with a harpsichord. “Glass Chewer” is what might happen if Budd were fronting Rush.
Edwin gets to strut his stuff even more than what he been known to do for Porcupine Tree, which is especially good since it appears his old band has gone into hiatus. With Bernocchi’s encouragement, he’s turned up the fuzz on his bass and leaves behind big, funky footprints. There are some good grooves to be found on “Maladaptive,” and his peculiar bass pattern bolsters “Crystals And Wounds.”
There are several great moments on the record that come about as a result of these guys working together so well. “Twitch” is about Edwin and Pándi pushing hard against the dreamscapes crafted by Bernocchi and Saft, and “Sectile” moves through such a dizzying array of music categories but does so in a coherent way. “King Cockroach” (Soundcloud above) is dominated by a beastly guitar riff that evaporates away, leaving behind a rich, reverb-drenched dub groove.
Metallic Taste Of Blood is a collaboration of forward-thinking musicians who have all proved it well before joining this ensemble and with their self-titled debut, they’re are already justifying a long-term existence.
Metallic Taste Of Blood gets released on June 12 by Rare Noise Records.
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