I’ve long been a proponent of the works of GNOD. The UK psych unit skims the line between pulsing, rhythmic psychedelia and noise so easily that they’ve let the colors run into one another over the years. On their latest they skirt into avant impulses fraught with a clangorous din and hypnotic polyrhythms. The band members are nothing if not consummate collaborators, having worked cross genre with everyone from Anthony Child (Surgeon), White Hills, and John Doran. Now they hook up with experimental percussionist Joăo Pais Filipe (Paisel), whom they met at Milhoes De Festa event in Barcelos, Portugal. The set was hammered out a short while after over four days at Joăo’s metal shop.
Like any other GNOD album it swerves away from its predecessors. The connection with Pais Filipe proves to center the album in hypnotic rhythms, a side that’s found its way into the band’s work plenty of times prior, but what the Portuguese artist brings to the set is a sense of foreboding atmosphere — haunting ripples, the ominous air of gongs. Guitars still scrape at the senses, but they too tend to ride the fluctuation of rhythm. As the air crackles with dissonant tension, scraping with feedback and woodwind howl, GNOD do their own part to match Pais Filipe’s calamitous atmospheres. The pieces remain instrumental until the second side tucks into the title track, and then GNOD enter the vocal fray with pained, fraught vocals that don’t direct anger so much as they have on the past couple of GNOD LPs, rather a lost frustration that’s fighting its way out of the rhythm haze. The band’s never stagnant and Faca De Fogo readily pushes them more towards the margins they were already occupying most of the time. Still haunted, still chewing on the bent cables of chaos, but also providing a satisfying body buzz at high volume in the right mood. No matter who’s in the co-pilot’s seat, GNOD make for a heavy hit.
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