With inferences to metal-drenched avant-garde jazz, sounds of doom, and crazed electronica based free-jazz; Combat Astronomy's fourth album extends its bizarre, apocalyptic spin on cross-genre stylizations. With notable British experimentalists and avant-garde perpetrators shaping the crazed vistas, leader, conceptualizer, and five-string electric bassist James Huggett lays down some of the heaviest bass lines known to mankind with guerrilla tactics and calamitous sound-sculpting maneuvers. Huggett overdubs bass lines within various parts, and needless to say, envelops an ominous undercurrent throughout the broad plane of lower and upper-register tonal contrasts.
Combat Astronomy takes your listening space under siege. They open with a fat e-bass note on "The Stone Tape," followed by trombonist Derek Saw's intense, soul-searching motif atop mega electronic drumming parts and crashing cymbal hits. Multi-instrumentalist Martin Archer employs a bass recorder amid his saxes and bass clarinet work, in alliance with reedman Mick Beck's bassoon segments, where the bass element is reinforced to the hilt. Hence, the avant metal/jazz aura remains a constant as jazz-based improvisation attains a bizarre equilibrium with the loud and oscillating death-metal type grooves.
"Infinity Decay" starts out with an eerie organ vamp that could intimate an entry-point into a mysterious subterranean dwelling. It's an ethereal interlude of sorts, culminated with subliminal treatments and a sense of unsettling anticipation. The musicians proceed to interweave an electro-organic component into the final moments; however, they return with a neural impetus on the doomsday laden and 4-part "Inverted Universe." Here, visions of an angry titan's footsteps come to mind via slightly distorted bass, subsequently shaded by simmering woodwinds choruses and a booming rock pulse.
Daring and somewhat innovative, Combat Astronomy's perilous journey into the unknown tenders a thrills-per-minute experience. With gut-wrenching patterns and a larger than life sound, the album should be branded with a clause, stating that the audience should play at their own risk. The artists' purveyance of imagery set on a colossal soundscape could also serve as a proving ground for a high-end stereo system. Indeed, a top selection for 2011.