I imagine a steel flask held in moving clamps, viewed through a reinforced and triple-glazed scuttle. The flask has a spring-loaded lid and a hydraulic ram bears down to compress the volatile contents. Whenever I hit play on my machine, something snaps. Shattered song fragments burst against the walls and the glass. That's how I visualise it. I have to keep resetting the levels and waiting for the smoke to clear. Start again. And again.
It is THE BUTTERFLY. We reported an early live flight in 2004. I used phrases like "steroid munching". A year or two later their manic and multidirectional assault has hardened and disciplined to become the seriously explosive charge that this four track EP barely manages to contain. With Ghost Town recording and Pravda mixing and mastering it’s as lively a first serious recording as I've heard in some time. There is enough urgency, passion and dynamic range to power a small town in America. Or a small country in Europe.
So you’re getting the idea, perhaps, that this is punk or speed core metal. But that doesn't even start to describe it. There are four bar sections that could be either of those. There are also hip pockets of funk, a hat full of Mexican marching band, a carrier bagful of Northern indie, a shovel of AC/DC and a pipe of Fripp and Byrne. The rock scholarship encompasses an APPLESEED CAST chorus and a twist of TOOL. The postmodern collage is breathtaking. And, damn it, it’s FUN without, for a moment, being a piss take. The band love all this stuff with a righteous vengeance.
"Priorities" has a SCARAMANGA SIX feel to it. Once the misleadingly lo-fi introduction has been despatched, the song swaggers and bludgeons itself through a very tight verbal denunciation of the passing of time. The epic "Eros and Thanatos" then chops an entrance with some sharp funk so that the metal guitar artillery can blast us at short range and let the Mexicans through. And then the a cappella chimes "forever and ever, endeavour to be together (...) to be together at the altar with a stake through my heart" Love, hate, life and death, ceremoniously thrown into the super-capable shredder that is THE BUTTERFLY. " Eros and Thanatos holding hands" is about it.
"The Art of Falling" keeps the blood boiling with mirrored guitars and doubled vocal lines, then the waltzing APPLESEED CAST section with blossom and snowflakes and love before METALLICA show up in filthy monks cowls. But it works. You'll have to believe me. It works.
"Dispatches From De Clerambault's Patient", the finale, is a terrifying account of paranoia and delusion (De Clerambault's Syndrome is sometimes called Erotomania). "You won’t let me finish my sentences" is repeated over and over, crisp, manic and perfectly enunciated. This is the dramatic, operatic metal finish to a ridiculously ambitious EP that you must hear at least once before you surrender to Radio 2. "Some Things Are Worth Waiting For" they yell before hurling us a deviant Doobie Brothers section to finish.
So it starts as nuclear melt down and finishes as a white knuckle ride. Top stuff.