It feels bizarre listening to Altered States during a heatwave the like Glasgow hasn't seen in sixteen billion years. You see the albums dark as fuck, like early post-punk bands Killing Joke and Souxie and the Banshees, feels like taking some acid and sitting yer driving test. I first encountered Vom kinda accidentally. On my first live gig review for Beard Rock I went to see Tim Hecker. The support was Vom an some chode making stupid noises with a dictaphone and a guitar.
When Vom started it was like getting hit on the head with a golf club. What the fuck is this I thought and what the fuck is that bass player playing. Live they had that Albini thing going on, loud drums and bass and the guitar playing second fiddle throughout not really sounding conventionally at all like what it is. Later when Hecker was on the bass player came out the wrong door and invaded Tim's personal space. I'm not sure if it was the amazing gig by Vom blowing everyone else out the water or the stage invasion (that backstage had Tim Hecker square going the accident prone bassist) so when I discovered their album was out I had a massive wank that lasted for two month. Gathering my thoughts after such a physical event I plotted to review the album. Here it is.
Altered States reminds me of what the Soft Moon and Belong attempted to do, tap into that nihlistic post-punk sound and do something with it. Obviously unlike The Editors & Interpol (who released a few good albums) Vom can see right past Joy Division and at times sound like The Sound and Pil.
Opening up with a song I listened to about forty times in a row when I first heard it 'Moon of Hecate' sets the standard for the whole fucking album. Its torrential rain of bass will be enough to grab the attention of any cunt with ears. The drums sounding like they are being attacked and the guitars unselfishly allowing everything else to move the tune forward with its harmonics. There's definitely krautrock and American influences here with the rhythmn section. Every fud goes on about Motorik these days but on Altered States it's very evident.
Elsewhere on the album tracks like 'They Live', 'Smack Attack', 'The Master' and 'The Stand' are blacker than black enough to tractor beam any goth onto a shitey disco floor. Like all the best bands Vom know about balance and on this album deal with it by controlling the tempo like mad fucking tempo masters. Only thing I'll say is the last track 'Sorcery' was a head scratcher. It kinda sounds out of place an like something from an Lucio Fulchi Apocalyptic film from the 80s. Still, regardless of its odd sound I liked it and can figure why it's at the end. The 80s to me was grim sci fi films, the IRA on the TV, gothy bass lines and 2000AD. The UK was terrible back then, listen to any alternative bands from then, they didn't sound happy, but fucking Wham did I suppose. Times are extremely grim just now again in the UK with the Tories going after anything they can with a hatchet, Altered States is the ultimate soundtrack to our corpses being skullfucked by Westminster.