Reviews (මහසෝනා​)​* යන්ත්‍ර.මන්ත්‍ර.ගුරුකම්!

(මහසෝනා​)​*

යන්ත්‍ර.මන්ත්‍ර.ගුරුකම්!

Given that I’ve put together year-end lists of the strangest albums I heard for the past couple years, I was pointed to this release coming out of Sri Lanka. It’s by a band with no name (the only representation of the group is the image of Sri Lankan demon Mahasona depicted on the album cover), there’s no list of band members, and the album name looks (to me) like a computer spasmed out while attempting to produce text.

So what is this album? The only details revealed about it is that it was recorded “live on the floor” in a single take. Apparently, it’s some sort of invocation to Mahasona to possess the individual performing the ritual, and honestly, that’s what it sounds like. For most of the single 14-minute track, there’s vocals that sound like echoing groans, barks, and grunts as opposed to being any discernible foreign language over sludgy, droning bass tones and a minimalist drumbeat. It’s murky, it’s noisy, and it's almost overwhelmingly unsettling.

Around the two-thirds mark, the piece picks up energy, the vocals becoming slightly more desperate and the drumming more furious before the track again settles down into an almost lethargic finish. Well, sort of a finish, because after a moment or two of fuzzy guitar tones, the final several minutes of the track uncork a repeating loop of slithering and rumbling bass tones. At times, I can definitely make out what seems to be some sort of found sound playing under the loop. To be honest, the ending makes this thing all the more puzzling: did the band simply want to provide a less foreboding end to the track, or is there something else going on here?

I don't know exactly what to make of it, but this release is intriguing and thoroughly strange. As this is labeled as a demo, I’m left wondering what comes next for this band/project/whatever: a whole “Rituals and Demons of Sri Lanka” series? If you’re looking for something enigmatic, genuinely different and more than a little bit “out there,” this would probably fit the bill nicely.

7.0 / 10Andy
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