Aleph Null
Nocturnal

Wow.

Fucking wow.

Aleph Null, a Germanic trio of sludge-like proportions, mix the best of everything you remember best about grunge combined with a whole lot of sludge, 70’s rock freewheelin’ experimentalism, and just enough catchiness to give Torche a run for their money in the “we’re sludgy-yet-grungy-yet-catchy” department. This album is equal parts fuzz, heft, depth, groove, and murk.  I’ve yet to hear a band so thoroughly play these sounds as if they are the first time one has ever heard them. With this, their third release, they’ve solidified themselves as masters of their craft and it is a glorious craft indeed. Wholly parts Truckfighters, Colour Haze, Tad, Soundgarden, and Alice in Chains, it’s a hell of a listen that rewards its listener more and more with each subsequent spin.

“Roman Nails” starts this seven-track album off with such a fuzzy tone that one wouldn’t be out-of-line if they mistook this for a new Electric Wizard album. Just subtract the inherent “doominess” of the aforementioned and give them a little more desert fuzz and that’s where this song lies.  The song seamlessly bleeds into the next one, “Backward Spoken Rhymes”, and this is where the vocalist really stands out. Really showcasing the grungier side of their sound, this song sounds as if Aleph Null is truly the reincarnated soul of the Seattle Sound. Abrasively soulful and inherently stoned, this song is just about the catchiest offering on the album.

“Muzzle of a Sleeping God” showcases Colour Haze-ish guitar work with a rhythm backend that betrays it’s sludginess with cowbell straight out of 1975. There are moments where the fuzz is thicker than Precious and the burl almost overtakes the song but it’s only a brief foray into those realms as some swinging stoner rock comes into play and really brings a stylized boogie to close out the song.

Then the abrasion sets in as “Black Winged Cherub” starts; a disgusting riff straight from the bowels of Hades with enough groove to break more than a few vertebrae. This is the first real showcase of harsher vocals…not necessarily screamed/growled but more of a yelling with fuzzy effects added. Alep Null certainly has a knack for making a noise bigger than their numbers and it really stands out in this track. They hit a real catchy groove that acts as a bridge to some delicious Electric Wizard fuzz to close out a song that encapsulates their sound completely.

“Stronghold” follows with hints of Dead Meadow mixed with organ (why they didn’t add more throughout the album, I don’t know but I’d not be opposed to hearing more). The vocals are very soulful and very much in the same vein as John Garcia albeit with a slower, more European desert sound as opposed to that classic Palm Desert vibe. The organ is prominent but never to the point of overkill which helps the song showcase it’s almost New Orleans stylized boogie but not quite doomy. The pace is never really sped up and the song actually ends in some noisy feedback/squeals to only segue into the two part “Nocturnal”. The first part is all instrumental /noise/ambience with some sampled vocals in the back. Slightly haunting with some whale-like bass tones punctuating the hollow-sounding (not in a bad way) drums. It certainly fits in the context of the two together. Then the second part kicks in with same exact pace but this is where the actual song begins. The vocals really carry this band and I love the fact that I hear bits and pieces of Layne Staley because it fits this group so wonderfully. I can understand why they put this song at the end. It’s perfectly melodic, fuzzy, catchy, and full of soul it’s almost ridiculous. Everything on this record seemed to be just a teaser to what they seem most apt at doing and that is rocking the fuck out with everything they could muster and holy hell does this song showcase that to a T.

If you like anything worth its weight in fuzz, I couldn’t recommend this album more than I already do. It’s a beast of a record that came out of nowhere. I only hope to see more of them in the future. The best part is it’s on their bandcamp for free along with their previous releases. Check them out asap and let me know what you think.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Chris S
May 9th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Luke_22

    Nice review, this sounds right up my alley. The song links are a great idea.


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