Straight To The Point: Quick Reviews Of FATHER MURPHY And MAMALEEK

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Father Murphy – Croce

Croce cover art

Italian experimental duo Father Murphy tackle the Crucifixion on their newest full-length, Croce. These two noise makers have a knack for concocting some pretty unnerving tunes, as made evident by last year’s Pain is on Our Side Now EP. Now the group combines their frightening skills with a deranged retelling of the crucifixion of Jesus, resulting in a dark auditory experience. The record kicks off with “Blood is Thicker Than Water”, which is surrounded by walls of dense, buzzing sound and is spearheaded by stop-and-start verses. The dichotomy between the instrumentation and the “playful” vocals make the track quite creepy. By the time pulsating, industrial crawl of “A Purpose”, and the hauntingly empty drones of “So This is Permanent” have passed, the listener will be completely on edge. Croce offers a short break from the insanity with the acoustic guitar-centered, melancholic instrumental, “In Solitude”. But once the track comes to a close, Father Murphy plunge the listener back into the dark recesses of their minds. The abstract procession of percussion and hollow atmospheres on “Long May We Continue” follows “In Solitude”, and is quickly preceded by the bombastic and cavernous “All The People Yelling Fire”. Croce tones down the tormented soundscapes one last time in favor of the swelling, organ-generated drones of “They Won’t Hurt You”, before launching into one final seven-minute abstract dirge with “We Walk By Faith”. Croce is a strange, terrifying and challenging album that is in a league all of its own. It is definitely not for everyone, but those willing to take a chance on it may be enthralled by Father Murphy‘s unorthodox methods.

Rating: 7/10
Label: The Flenser
Release Date: March 17, 2015
Favorite Tracks: “A Purpose”, “All The People Yelling Fire” and “They Won’t Hurt You”
For Fans Of: Xiu Xiu, Prurient, Nurse With Wound and Wolf Eyes.


Mamaleek – Via Dolorosa

Via Dolorosa cover art

San Francisco’s most insane, mysterious brothers come together once again as Mamaleek to deliver another genre-defying album entitled Via Dolorosa. The experimentalists have been assigned to the “experimental black metal” category in the past, but Via Dolorosa shows the band pushing further and further away from black metal in general. The album begins with the psychedelic “Nothing But Loss”, which is filled with buzzing, melodic guitar riffs and contrasting snarling, acidic vocals. From there, the majority of the remainder of the album takes on a jazz-heavy approach. Tracks like “Pain as Providence” and “Already There” revolve around dark, reverb-laden guitars that sound like the tunes of a regular act at a smoke-filled jazz bar. The smooth, somber licks are accompanied by trip-hop inspired percussion and are offset once again by deranged vocals that spew forth rabid, animalistic sermons or droning chants. The instrumentation on these tracks are slightly reminiscent of the Grails off-shoot, Lilacs & Champagne, only darker and bleaker. Most of the album follows this aberrated jazz formula with little deviation in an attempt to create a consistent (aside from the first track) atmosphere that’s as unsettling as it is relaxing. “Ain’t Got No Fight” attempts to break things up a bit by adding ethereal ambiance, an electronic dance beat and some walking bass lines to the mix. The album doesn’t stray far from the path it laid out for itself, as previously noted. But when something works, it works. These oddball brothers have crafted a thought-provoking piece of work that will definitely polarize casual listeners and long-time fans a like.

Rating: 8/10
Label: The Flenser
Release Date: May 26, 2015
Favorite Tracks: “Pain as Providence”, “Already There”, “What’s Left” and “Ain’t Got No Fight”
For Fans Of: Botanist, Lilacs & Champagne and Locrian


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