Palace In Thunderland - In The Afterglow Of Unity (CD)
With a name like Palace in Thunderland, that alone tells you why I had to listen to what proved to be a phenomenal album chock full of sludge filled, metal loveliness.
After a five year break, the formidable foursome have regrouped to offer an album rich in tone, riffs and guitar pyrotechnics that has evolved into an aural assault of epic proportions.
The opening track ‘The Owl in Daylight’ is an atmospheric, haunting number sans vocals that whets the appetite with some heavy riffs, banging drums and appealing tonality throughout. At just shy of 2 minutes it is short enough to make an impact without seeming overegged or tiresome.
‘Beyond The Stars’ is next up and my oh my, right from the top you’re subjected to a heavy guitar riff that does not let go, sludgy and filth filled with crashing drums reminiscent of early Black Sabbath. Then the lyrics kick in; cosmic and abstract with an almost chanting quality that hypnotises the listener to the end. A near 6 minute song which is over in a heartbeat; the talent on display is phenomenal.
‘Deus Ex Machina’ opens up with a warbling alien like effect, harking back to The Outer Limits type imagery; it is nothing short of haunting. Ably supported by exquisite guitar work with flashes of filth filled riffs, it instantly captures the imagination. Eerie, forlorn and bizarre to say the least, it is worth an honourable mention for the alien chipmunk style vocals at the end- the only spoken input in the entire 4 minute ride of “what the hell have they been smoking” excellence.
‘Decadent Decay’ offers up more of the heavy. The vocals are in immediate effect here, the quartet really giving it some in every aspect to throw across their message. Melodious riffs and energising backing from the drums and guitar is a small departure in some ways from what has grown to be expected and it shows another dimension to this inimitable bunch of misfits.
‘Soulstorm’ is a fuzz filled cacophony of noise and vibration that will enter your ears and pitch a tent encouraging you to listen, the monotone quality of the vocals lends to the chanting nature of the piece. Again some epic guitar/drum work and more engaging riffs leads this to be an out and out hit for yours truly.
Formed from members of various groups Beresky (Black Pyramid), Newman (HydroElectric) and Abrams and Netto (both from Blue Aside) inevitably makes this somewhat of a super group, something I am generally not a fan off.
However the visionary song writing, the entheogenic guitar licks, the evocative and ethereal vocals intertwined with intense lead guitar and beefy riffs lay the foundations for the dynamic undulations that take place across the album. Simple in its complexity it offers such diverse styles throughout that one does not get the chance to get bored. And while yes, you can hear the influences; Baroness, Melvins, Atomic Bitchwax to name a few, they do not imitate nor remain trapped in the one genre, instead flowing constantly from one to the next with smoothness and aplomb. - The Sludgelord