Entheognosis by Plasmodium

Release date: December 29, 2016
Label: Cimmerian Shade Recordings

Good lord! Plasmodium, the enigmatic Aussie band from Melbourne have put out one screwball of a debut with album Entheognosis. Clocking in at just over 1 hour over 4 tracks of maddened chaotic dissonance this eclectic band have produced one of those rarities any reviewer hopes to stumble on, one that challenges our minds and ears and leaves us rocking back and forth in the corner of a room until the light of transcendence touches our brow.

The band describe themselves as ‘Undulating Psychedelic Darkness’, and this self analysis couldn’t be more apt. The album’s title, from what I gather, is a concoction of the words ‘Entheogen’, meaning a drug that is taken to bring on a spiritual experience and ‘Gnosis’, meaning insight and knowledge. I’m surely not the only one who sees the tripping balls to touch God reference. Perhaps they’re here to indoctrinate the world, or maybe just bring it some bat-shit crazy music. Whatever their reasoning they have rolled the joint of insanity and forged not only a daring and thought-provoking album but one that is truly a gem of a find.

This particular oddity sounds like the massacred nightmare of a meth-possessed madman whose fantasies of sex, drugs and metal mayhem furiously pound into one another as he froths at the mouth to produce one climax-inducing drug wank that’s just as messy and satisfying. The album takes riffing to the next level of pomp and brashness with serious groove and countless textures to explore in each thrilling riff-ride.

Entheognosis is structured deconstruction of the genre. Less organised, more reorganised chaos, peeling back the layers of convention and what you think metal is and should be and then kicking it ass to teeth where it festers on you like a facehugger. It’s the audial equivalent of being stuck inside a pinball machine. 20 minute opener ‘Limbic Disassociation’ is a perfect example of what Plasmodium are all about. Starting with several drawn out minutes of dawdling low and uncomplicated strums, not telling of the maelstrom of free-form metal to clatter our ears further on, the track burns rather slowly until thankfully ignited by the rush of cyber-techy guitars sounding like a Nintendo meltdown and scrambling precise, yet un-precise, blast beats. Midpoint the track blurs its vision and dribbles into a spaced-out odyssey of trippy chants all inducing of bright colours and dancing elephants. These Aussies have their own idea of metal and they stick to this formula throughout the album.

‘Reformoculus’ is a frenetic schizo of a song that plays like a free-form jazz fusion session of cavernous almost inaudible blastbeats and riffage turned up to eleven on the crazy meter. At its heart is one killer of a catchy riff that’ll have you stomping and banging your fists to the beat, and then your forehead when you fail to keep up with it. The track manages to sustain your interest for its ten minute length even without the inclusion of any vocals due to its punchy and furiously upbeat enthusiasm. Last two tracks ‘Hermaphrodisiac’ and ‘Deuteromitosis’ are drawn out slow burners with several assaulting moments of fury throughout, but these two tracks could easily be spliced together to form one beast of a track as they play out in similar fashion, melding into the same formula with no strikingly discernible variations in content, that’s not to their detriment though as what these guys do with feedback and wailing guitars is quite extraordinary.

To fully appreciate, set aside your mind beyond the usual boundaries of your musical comfort zone. It would be easy to bail out and scream “NO” as you frisbee the disc through a window, but embrace the circus and escape the confines of tradition as this band has clearly escaped the realm of normality… and bathes in it with pride.

Their strange mastery allows you to fully immerse yourself in most of its run time and paint your own picture from the elaborate colours provided. Yes, parts are ball-achingly hard to bear as aspects of its avant-garde experimentation take its toll only to bring you back to life with a killer riff or twisted turn of genre. This is clearly a band at ease with lengthy pieces of expression where their visions (and I’m assuming they have many) can be told in far-out detail. By far not an easy listen. Not easy to get into. But easy to finally accept. A genre breaker? In its parts no, but as a whole… maybe. A genre rule-breaker for certain. Do not try to understand, you wont need a dooby for this one, just kick back and fuckin’ enjoy it man!

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