Crater has been developing an improvisational nexus to be reckoned withsince 2004, and "Elemental" announces the musical nous of these three chaps from the south of England to the omniverse. Having jammed everything from singing bowls and sitars to electronics of digital and analogue varieties, the group now get most satisfaction from wilfully deconstructing the traditional guitar/bass/drums combo. The fierce free-rock of "Elemental" is that deconstruction in practice. Recorded with one stereo microphone, this is the room sound of the Crater hive mind. Two lengthy pieces form the backbone of the album, "Lie Down With Dogs" and "Pine Box". The former is all bowel quake and thunder before giving way to brief bop flutters. Guitar squall and klang dominate a mid-section that allows Paul's bass to flex alongside what Seb calls his "wilfully, wildly out of tune" strings, while Steve's drumming holds an angled mirror to the whole thing. Heavy leads reappear towards the finale as the group hit full tilt once more before evaporating into a pitch-shifted reverie.
"Pine Box" starts out with tight third bridge tones until toms hit us up into a different place altogether. Synthesis stutters in and out of focus and mutant riffs crawl out of the undergrowth. The night draws in around us and things get more humid and dense than we thought possible. Strong stuff. "Coalition Blues" closes proceedings with the devil's own bar band in tow, as we are offered a delirious, joyfully chaotic toast to possibilities. And perhaps, on this evidence, those possibilities really are endless. Crater are: Paul Bavister - Bass, electronics. Seb Hunter – Guitar. Steve Gibson - Drums, percussion.
1. Lie Down With Dogs 2. Pine Box 3. Coalition Blues
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