SubArachnoid Space - "The Red Veil"
(Strange Attractors Audio House 2005, SAAH025)
From Aural Innovations #30 (February 2005)
The Red Veil is the follow up to last years Also Rising and SubArachnoid Space's second on the Strange Attractors Audio House label. The album represents a changing of the guard of sorts, as new members Chris Cones on guitar and Diego Gonzales on bass join drummer Chris Van Huffel and founding member/guitarist Melynda Jackson.
Long time fans will find some surprises on this new outing, as the band explores a highly intense and spaced out brand of metallic stoner rock. "Honorable Mention" is the opening track and is a steamroller slab of psychedelic metal. The SubArachnoid Space we know and love is still very much in evidence, with the emphasis on using guitars to create an overwhelming wave of power, emotion, atmospherics and lusciously spaced out psychedelic sound. "Ourobouros" is next and is a powerhouse rocker that really gets deep into space. Actually, both these tracks have elements that make me thing of a spaced out, heavily psychedelic form of Red-era King Crimson. What a trip.
The 11 minute title track is the longest of the set, beginning with an extended tension building intro of eerie, swirling guitars and effects. Then around the 4 minute mark the rhythm section kicks in, and the band settles into an easy paced space rocking stoner groove. This is such a fantastic dual guitar band. Each guitarist works in their own completely independent but seamlessly cooperative sphere, creating atmosphere, textures, drones and pure cosmic space, backed by a solid rhythm section. Chris Van Huffel was one of the best things to ever happen to this band. He's an incredibly capable musician who really knows how to create a foundation over which the guitarists can take off and explore. "P.S.S.A." is another track that really stretches out and explores as it digs deep into white knuckled gripping psychedelic metal territory. "Trainable" is the shortest track of the set, clocking in at just under 4 minutes. But what a statement it makes, with its pure, unfiltered spaced out metallic ROCK. And "Duster" is a deep space atmospheric rocker that closes the set.
In summary, SubArachnoid Space are a band that have proven over time their ability to grow and evolve. Even the loss of founding member/guitarist Mason Jones couldn't hold them back, as new members bring what is clearly fresh creative blood into the fold. Nothing from the past has been abandoned. Rather, the past remains as building blocks for something new and deliciously exciting. Is there already a genre called psychedelic space metal?
For more information you can visit the SubArachnoid Space web site at: http://www.subarachnoid.com.
Visit the Strange Attractors Audio House web site at: http://www.strange-attractors.com.
Contact via snail mail c/o Strange Attractors Audio House; PO Box 13007; Portland, OR 97213-0007.
Reviewed by Jerry Kranitz