A stodgy stuffed squash from Taman Shud. I think you'll need some extra large wellies for Viper Smoke, because wading through this sonic mulch in a pair of flip-flops simply wont cut it. It's sludge-infected-stoned-rage-punk-slop. Somewhere between Isis, Cult of Luna, Sleep and a black hole. Heavy as hell, you will poo your pants. Out on vinyl LP and CD from Trash Mouth.
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- Viper Smoke by Taman Shud
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They like to call it “blackened psychedelic motorcycle punk from hell”, though actually it sounds more like that riff from the one song the Strokes did with the Spanish metal riff. Taman Shud gained a little traction squaring off with Fat White Family on a recent 10”, and ‘Viper Smoke’, their new record, continues to homage their love of poisonous, ugly music. It’s a pretty easy calibration, when you boil it down to its fundamentals: a sludgy rhythm takes the backseat as riffs oscillate at the gnarly speed of a car engine coughing up petrol. As for the vocals, they’re coming from somewhere else entirely: they echo out like a last-ditch prayer, intentionally obscured so all we can really hear are vague intonations.
Tamad Shud’s diction leans them closer to an instrumental band than anything -- the vocals feel purely incidental, like filler on otherwise bleak, dystopian landscapes of doom violence. Some of it works well -- the first two songs on this record are champions of the band’s aesthetic, which is so cruel and medieval it would make Christopher Lee cry. Other moments, though, come out real stupid: “The Hex Inverted”, for instance, takes squeaky riffs and couples it with an embarrassing baritone, which later gets converted into some far too distanced skramz. A song like this should be intense and full of life (or, you know, death), but it floats by.
As does most of the record, really: the low end bass is constant, and the guitars roll back and forth for eternity, and while it makes for good landscaping, I’m pretty sure Taman Shud aren’t in the real estate business. ‘Viper Smoke’ isn’t the genre hybrid I was expecting from its description, but if you want to hear a band playing really slow and really fast at the same time, you’d do well to choose this black hole.
9/10 Scott Mason Customer review, 14th February 2015
I came here to buy this after reading reviews in The Quietus & The Wire. Amazing album, best thing I've heard in a long time. It's strangely catchy & stands out from any genre in a way I can't I really put my finger on. Maybe it's the organ or the way the churchy-ness of some of the vocals keeps the satanist vibe from feeling contrived or something? I dunno. . . I really like the way the band look too - none of the long hair & beards you'd expect. They look really. .. normal. . . geeky even & that totally enhances it somehow. Really cool band, very much looking forward to seeing them live. 9/10
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