It’s not often we get discs turn up with covers that appear to be drawn by children in felt tip pen and there’s something a little bit unsettling about it all. In fact this album by Where The Sun Comes Down takes a lot of effort to interpret and is definitely on the odd side. It is the work predominantly of musicians Thomas Hand Chaste and Alexander Scardavian and if you want to find out who they are like I did it’s time to go dipping back into the Italian cult doom scene. I’m no expert in this but everything stems back to Death SS and Paul Chain in essence and a band called The Paul Chain Violet Theatre who both these musicians played in. This is said to be a unique collaboration between them and others picking up pretty much where the Violets left off. Having not heard them before it made this listening experience all the stranger.
‘As Mister Lie’ bounces in there is a definite air of proto-doom and progressive airs in the sound then booming in are the vocals. Both musicians seem to contribute to these over the course of the album and to say they are both of an austere, theatrical and flamboyant nature would not be an understatement. They put a real authoritative stamp on things and there’s no avoiding them. It’s pretty much down to how you handle them as to whether you are particularly going to enjoy this or find yourself at complete odds with it. Some neat spiralling guitar solo work is every bit as flamboyant as the instruments get chance to groove on down and the whole thing is a bit overwhelming at first. There are retro keyboards in the background and one has to admire things for what they are, the Italian sound without which many of the bands playing ‘Occult Rock’ today would not be around. It appears from album credits that Scardavian takes over the vocals on ‘A Snowin Day’ but it’s hard to tell them apart. Sometimes he sounds deliberately off-key as the music on this one goes about things in more of a gloomy plodding fashion. A burst of creepy organ, guitar riffs and strange atmospheres are thickly found within this but it kind of puts on edge in the process and I can’t truthfully say that I’m entirely enjoying the experience; something that strikes me pretty much throughout the album. Throw in some discordant wailing saxophone and you certainly cannot ignore the avant-garde sensibilities here.
Musically this straddles decades and it’s particularly enjoyable when the musicians are allowed to jam without the disruptive influences of the vocals as they do for a time on songs like ‘Voyage’ which takes very much on one of the head as it grooves on down in free-flow. When those hoary croons come out over the top though it’s a whole different ballgame and ‘Myself’ sees Scardavian injecting a real unhinged performance that’s definitely going to throw the cat among the pigeons. There are some thick bass tones that remind a little bit of Type O Negative ‘Welcome’ and here we have some ‘sampled phonetic vocals’ which make things all the more bizarre as they noodle along and things suddenly canter off. As for ‘Because We Were Fools’ it’s like some sort of weird stage production put to musical form
Minotauro seem to be the authorities at releasing music like this and have given me a bit of a crash course into this scene. It’s not been entirely out of choice as other reviewers have perhaps wisely not been keen to take on this and similar works. There’s probably people in Italy reading this and thinking I haven’t got a clue and I certainly do feel like an outsider looking in. That’s not to say it’s not been challenging and enjoyable getting to grips with work by the likes of Where The Sun Comes Down but this is definitely an acquired taste. One thing that is certain is that the cast-list have definitely stamped their own zany authorities all over their work.
(6.5/10 Pete Woods)