Manchester’s Dead Sea Apes return to Cardinal Fuzz (Skylantern in the US) for an epic bout of high desert blues and creeping drone psych. The label’s not entirely off base in comparing this to a lost Jodorowsky soundtrack. Maybe somewhere out there El Topo II is awaiting an injection of lysergic heaviness. This might be just the ticket. But even without a cracked psychedelic western as the backdrop, Soy Dios holds its own in terms of conjuring up visual imagery. Rife with tense passages from the outset, the record licks the knife edge and runs the blood along the strings. Setup as a four song suite bearing the album’s title on each track, the band moves from the crushing blow of the opener to creeping distress with calculated ease. There’s a bit of Barn Owl’s expansive drift and curdled unease coursing through Soy Dios and the album seems to have studied well at the altar of Earth’s Hex; Or Printing In The Infernal Method.
To lump it as merely cribbing from those sources, though, would be to give the album less credit than its due. They hold much in common with those two bands, but its clear that over the last few years Dead Sea Apes have been building up to this cycle of songs. The album arcs with a vision, slashing wild and dragging the listener through the parched flatlands of pts. II and III with precise tension and a sense of abandoned hopelessness. In fact maybe we round back to that Jodorowsky parallel once again. Someone get Alejandro on the phone. Tell hims to cast Liam Neeson and set him alone in the parched wilds, snake bitten and feeling the effects; fighting the elements, his grip on sanity, and a spiritual projection of his own sense of mortality and failure in the form of a massive cougar. Neeson’s reborn in blood only to die of dehydration, twisting in contorted hallucinations through the latter half of the film, underscored ably by Soy Dios. Was the cougar ever real? Was Liam? That might be the best analogy of how the album feels. Its cinematic, but in a way that feels like a happy ending isn’t waiting anywhere near the culmination of the journey.
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