KEIJI HAINO AND SUMAC- Into This Juvenile Apocalypse Our Golden Blood to Pour Let Us Never (Thrill Jockey)

Friday, 14th October 2022
Rating: 8 / 10

Japanese improv luminary Keiji Haino and the PNW’s avant-garde metal stalwarts Sumac have released their third collaboration, and this is by far their most cohesive outing. Their first release, 2018’s American Dollar Bill-Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous to Look at Face On is flamethrower jazz-metal, equal parts sonic maelstrom and tranquil uneasiness. Sumac has always toed the line of improvised music on their first two albums, but their first meeting with Haino completely pushed them into ‘free metal’ with more confidence and wanton disregard for conventional structure, reveling in the majesty of the results afterwards.

Recorded in May 2019 at Haino’s Vancouver stop on a brief tour, Into This Juvenile Apocalypse… sees the four musicians gelled like nothing before, you could swear that at some points in the record, they’re playing preconceived structures. Keiji Haino still paints his sonic masterpieces, using Sumac as his three-headed brush. He gives them cues, tells whoever, whatever, and whenever to play. It’s like Eru Iluvatar himself creating Arda with his Music.

“When Logic Rises, Morality falls…” starts out quite pensively, as if to test the audience’s degree of receptivity to the incoming sonic deluge. “A shredded coiled cable…” bares its fangs with Aaron Turner’s inhuman howls, and the rhythm section of bassist Brian Cook and drummer Nick Yacyshyn beating an imagined beast with their respective instruments. “Into This Juvenile Apocalypse…”is the proverbial storm, with its dizzying mix of fuzzed-out bass, aluminum guitar squeals, and insane string-wrangling by Haino himself. “Because the evidence of a fact…” starts out quietly as Keiji Haino starts spewing diatribes (in English this time) like a madman in the corners of East Hastings, and as the track concludes with a wall of sound of feedback and some beautiful guitars chiming away, “That fuzz pedal you planted…” beats you bloody senseless as the Four Horsemen of Improvised Madness summons otherworldly sounds out of their weapons of mass impression. The record concludes with “That regularity of yours…”, an ending that leaves you wanting more, as if somehow enduring the barrage of formless music pulled from the void by Keiji Haino and Sumac is not enough that you want to subject yourself to it all over again.

Whether Haino has succeeded in getting SUMAC to push for a completely improvised record for their next outing, time will tell, but I sure as hell wouldn’t have any problem with it.

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