KarrettaAuckland instrumental three-piece Kerretta have been slinging their unique brand of dark experimental rock since 2006 and the newest release Pirohia continues the work which the band are known for – creating a vast sonic landscape with moments of beauty utilising intricate leads and jumping from gentle post-rock phases into heavy prog-metal styled bursts of power.

“Ossein Trail” opens the album. It starts with a simplistic build up with a quick flowing lead line over a mood-building backdrop which steadily increases in intensity, giving a sense of something big about to happen. It continues to tease in this manner as the drums drift off and the bass takes over the mood setting briefly before it starts to feel a little more urgent as a disjointed rhythm kicks in and the song seems to devolve a little. It continues in this manner, teasing away before it finally wraps up after a dramatic sounding section which eases off. “The Roar” starts off with a simple guitar line which alternates between the left and right channels giving it a strange but enjoyable effect when you listen to it through headphones. The steady rhythm backing the guitar runs right through the middle, allowing you to focus more on the guitars as the song gradually picks up the pace. There is a nice melodic section round 1:20 into the song which you could possibly call a chorus (its instrumental, go figure). It dips a little and gets moodier, but it eventually comes back round and as the bass gets more distorted, the intensity builds up again for the end of the song.

“Warnlands” has a slight upbeat feel to it with the opening lead guitar melody over the dark sounding bass. It builds up more but darkens slightly as the song progresses, teasing between bright and dark moments. There are times when the bass teases for something bigger to come with the guitars, but it doesn’t quite come till round the 3:15 mark when a proper lead section kicks in and the song gets more intense from there with some interesting rhythm work added in contrast to the bright lead lines. “His Streets Of Honey, Her Mouth Of Gold” is the next track up and the first single off the album, and its title also sounds like a really bad euphemism or line from an erotic novel! Starting off with a steadily growing guitar line with the bass swelling up beneath it in an almost hypnotic manner with a simplistic drum beat, the song gets more complex as the guitar goes into Frank Zappa territory with its discord filled riffs and fills. This theme continues throughout the song, occasionally getting heavier thanks to the work of the rhythm section but it doesn’t really shine much or go anywhere. “Iron Hail” on the other hand does. Its heavy introduction catches the attention more than anything else so far before it trails off into a moody, clean melodic section which starts to build up with intensity before a stop-start heavily distorted section kicks in. The beefed up section works great and brings something to the album which was sorely missing – some bite and aggression. The song trails off into a more ambient noise section in the second half before returning with a tool-like section – hypnotic drums and effects laden guitars to take the track home.

“Kawea Tātou Ki Ngā Hiwi” starts off with a light guitar line and a thick bass and drum beat which like most of the songs so far, drives it along. What differs this from the rest of the album is a tribal styled backing vocal chant which is present. The ‘vocals’ give a new focus to the musicianship and the music builds around them, growing in intensity and feeding off them. As the song continues, the wall of sound hits you and with the vocal track mixed into it, the feeling it creates is one of both awe and dramatic. “Sister, Come Home” starts out with an echo/delay filled guitar line which is joined by a pulsing bass line and drums which start off simple but get more complex as the song goes on in a Tool-esque manner. The hypnotic melody which runs through the track coupled with the drums just draws you in and trying not to zone out whilst caught up in it is a task in itself! As the song progresses, it gets darker and heavier before trailing off at the end, setting up the album’s closing track. “The Last Rivers” starts off with the bass leading the song with some ambient synths in the background which soon dominate the track as the bass fades out and the drums pick up beneath them. The bass joins back in halfway through, adding some weight back to the track and it continues on in the slow pace which has a very dramatic edge to it. The song eventually peaks as the bass line picks up towards the later parts of the song before it trails off, bringing the album to a close quite subtly, just like how it started.

Reviewing this was hard. It’s not my preferred instrumental style of music, but it is well executed. It is definitely an album of two halves, the second one standing out more than the first and it is delivered brilliantly. The main problem though is how easy it is to just zone out to it and get lost whilst listening. If you like dark, experimental post rock sounds, give it a go.

(6/10 Fraggle)