Shub Niggurath - "Testament"
(Musea/Gazul Records 1994/2003, GA 8665.AR)
Uploaded to Aural Innovations: October 2003
Testament is actually the fourth (and possibly last) album by French group Shub Niggurath. Iíd heard this band compared to French prog rockers Magma, and had been curious to listen to them. But if they bore any resemblance to the sound of Magma on their previous works (havenít heard them, so I donít know), their latest is nothing like what I associate with the so-called ďZheulĒ sound. This is more a RIO (Rock In Opposition) kind of thing, drawing on influences like Belgiumís Univers Zero (but with far less melody and structure), and the live, improvised music of Henry Cow. But itís much darker than either of those bands. Dark, dark, dark, indeed.
Itís certainly quite appropriate that they took their name from one of the primordial, cosmic, and monstrous deities of gothic horror writer H. P. Lovecraftís universe. From the opening, deep, shadowy creepiness of the first piece onward, this could be the soundtrack to the chaos and madness of Lovecraftís terrifying cosmos. Wild, primal percussion vies for attention with disturbing stabs and impenetrable clouds of noise; harsh feedback; screams; guitar shrieks, moans, sobs, and whispers; eerie atmospherics, and frightening, jazz influenced, subterranean bass. Itís definitely not music for the faint of heart. Intense, murky, sinister, and very experimental, this certainly wonít be everyoneís cup of primordial ooze. But for the more adventurous listeners wanting to catch a glimpse of cosmic horror, this may be just the ticket.
For more information you can visit the Musea Records at: http://www.musearecords.com.
Reviewed by Jeff Fitzgerald