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Album Review

by Kerretta


Review Date
20th September 2011
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

Spaced-out “post rock” has quite a foothold in the musical landscape of New Zealand these days.The world-renowned Jakob and Hamilton’s Sora Shima fly the flag for more traditional, ambient style post rock. An Emerald City uses it as a launching point for their worldy prog-psyche ramblings and Arc of Ascent fill it with mind-bending astral metal. Auckland three piece Kerretta inhabits a similar land to these musical titans but are still their own unique creature. While atmosphere still plays a large role to them it must also accommodate some serious head banging and long haired ruffians throwing their horns in the air.

The challenge in making instrumental music is trying to make it so that it is as engaging as it would be with vocals. With no lyrics to follow you can be fooled into thinking that it all sounds the same or that is it more like one gigantic song than a series of individual tracks. This is no easy task but Kerretta are up to the challenge. Saansilo flows with an unnatural grace from the ear-splitting highs to the amorphous lows. Traditional rock wisdom might suggest that having no vocals in music that is as incendiary as Saansilo could be a serious limitation, in truth it gives Kerretta a primal energy and fiery, freight train momentum. The triumphant stomp of first track ‘A Ways To Uprise’ kicks it out in style and immediately grabs you by the throat. The band’s official description of the track reads like the synopsis of an impossibly epic action film;

"When you march your barbarian horde through the streets of the fallen city, atop a fifteen hands high silver wildebeest(using their horns as handles), laser beams sparkling and shimmering over the smoking battlefields, a thousand million pearlescent snakes coiling slowly through the dead city streets, tiny unicorns cowering in their cages … 'A Ways to Uprise' will be your soundtrack".

It is high praise indeed but the song earns it. On the flipside of that mood, the minimal black-light disco of ‘Bloodlines’ has a suffocating atmosphere that you can practically taste. This oppressive mood parts like storm clouds when the Polynesian drums enter and blow the roof clean off the house. This is one track that I eagerly anticipate to hear recreated on stage. ‘Shepherd’s Thread’ is the perfect marriage of humanistic rock noises and alien landscapes. Occasionally the music will drift on for a bit too long but it is always brought back to earth with a crunchy riff or the dull twang of a killer bassline. Closing track’ Onyxia’ has an out-of-sync formlessness charm for the first two and a half minutes and then someone lights a match under it. Laser beam guitars and apocalyptic drum beats explode all around you, circling ever closer to the vacuum of sound you find yourself in when the album ends.

This is music with a real sense of purpose and drama. It may not be as immediately attention grabbing as Vilayer but it is an album that rewards repeated rotations. Saansilo has given the band ample opportunity to play around with their sound but it is still packed with (wordless) hooks. This record has more transcendental moments of “rocking out” than many rock bands could ever hope for. And all of this is achieved without a single word being said. It is a fitting sister-piece to the beloved Vilayer. They are two very different animals but really they are two sides of the same coin.


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