Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Ghost of the Russian Empire Release The Mammoth

Having lived there for most of the decade, I admit that I'm an Austin music junkie. When I got news of the new release by Ghost of the Russian Empire, I couldn't wait to hear it. Their 2006 EP With Fiercest Demolition, according to Brandon Whitten, lead singer and guitarist, "was really a love letter to our childhood heroes Jack Tripper and Captain Planet." Even so, it is a sonic maze, looping back and forth in style and sound. The Mammoth expands upon the varying sounds, making the album difficult to pigeon-hole into a single genre or even compare to other artists. Foggy and ethereal vocals predominate over the entire album joined by driving rhythms and soaring guitars on tracks like "A Decade Without A Death" and "The Winter Soldier", giving it a shoe-gaze aura. Then they throw a curve and go a little bit country on "The Black Mark" with a haunting slide guitar (or pedal steel, I can never discern which is which), an almost perfect match for the vocals. After that they go a little singer-songwriter acoustic on "Hammer Hands" and the final track "The Butcher". In Brandon's words again: "It's like an exotic, alien zoo with weird scales and fangs, softened by the dark emptiness of space. The music of a first date and a divorce proceeding." I couldn't have said it any better.

A Decade Without A Death
The Black Mark



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