Brutal is an understatement when describing ‘Stirring in the Noos’ – the new album from metal pseudo-supergroup, John Frum. But would you expect any less from this band, who are the combined talents of ex-The Faceless vocalist Derek Rydquist; The Dillinger Escape Plan bassist Liam Wilson; John Zorn guitarist Matt Hollenberg; and Intensus drummer Eli Litwin.
Describing themselves as ‘darkly psychedelic’ John Frum is like psychedelia meets The Plague; a macabre acid trip that makes your head and heart pound.
The album, which has been in the works for six years, is comprised of eight tracks or 45 minutes of mind-aching death metal. On first listen, it can be hard to grasp the musical bedlam that is ‘Stirring in the Noos.’ However, as you listen to it again, and again, the pandemonium becomes addictive, almost, and you find yourself craving the anarchy. The beat, the timing, the whipping of the guitars – they all f**k with your mind, in the best possible way. This album is a self-inflicted wound, with a scab you can’t help constantly picking at.
The album opens with Presage of Emptiness, a song built on the solid foundation of a clobbering bass guitar, and overlaid with trembling, frenetic guitars. The deeply jarring vocals are unnerving; hounding and persecuting your ears in a magnificent way.
The toying of tempos in Pining Light makes this a great track, with accentuated off-beats that create cerebral chaos.
Menacing and eerie, Memory Palace, is exquisitely crafted and showcases some of the lyrical beauty that you will find on this album. It is worth finding and reading through the album lyrics in its entirety, as there are a sincerity and gravity in the words Rydquist bellows.
One of the standout tracks on the album, Through Sand and Spirit is a fast-paced headbanger with fluctuating beats; a masterstroke in musical timing, and percussion. In fact, drummer Litwin makes a tour de force with his blistering performance on this album. The strenuous drums run on overtime. The palpitating kick drum doesn’t take a single moments rest and hammers away through the tracks.
The foreboding opening ring of bells sets the scene in Lacustrine Divination. It somehow manages to capture both the purity of divinity and the scorching flames from the abode of the damned.
He Comes is an instrumental track full of mysticism. The instruments are earthy and uninhibited in performing a gritty grouse.
Assumption of Form is almost nine minutes of penetrating screams, and the probing of the bass and electric guitar. It has an enviable breakdown and is a freefall of sound and thunderous vocals.
Where final tracks on albums often musically dissipate Wasting Subtle Body is possibly the most devilish song on the entire record. Attesting to the reputations of all the members of John Frum, it makes sense that they would end the album on the most vicious note.
‘Stirring in the Noos’ is an album that confronts you head on, storming at you like a frenzied bull. By the end of the ride you feel the piercing of its horn tear through you; a punch to your internal organs that will leave you disoriented, disheveled and be desiring more.