No Steps Left to Trace by PAKT

Release date: March 1, 2024
Label: MoonJune Records

There’s no denying that something remarkable could land upon your feet in a nanosecond. For a quartet like PAKT who unleashed their sole self-titled debut album three years ago on the MoonJune label and unleashing eight live recordings from their Bandcamp website, proves how strong this amazing quartet can still make incredible music.

Their next release which is a 2-CD set entitled No Steps Left to Trace, sees our very own Justice League bringing down the house once more. The first CD is a studio recording they did at the NRS Studio at Catskill Village in New York on December 17, 2021 whilst the second disc is live recordings at various locations they did in New York and Philadelphia between 2021 and last year.

Going through this set shows how much Skolnick, Motzer, Jones, and Grohowski are very much a band of brothers creating some of the most intense, weird, and balls to the wall releases MoonJune has given its listeners in 2024.

Battering rams are needed when it comes to ‘Spontaneous Combustion’ where Jones’ frenetic bass line comes in handy. He goes all over the fret as Skolnick and Motzer create these crazy wah-wah effects before Grohowski’s tidal waving drum patterns go into this hay-wiring effect for Motzer to transform as a mad scientist before coming to a complete halt.

The two-parter suite with ‘On The Other Side’ takes a soothing setting for the electrodes to kick in. It felt like an outtake from the first Silver Apples album released in 1968. But with some reverbing guitar parts, harp-like effects, crawly spider textures, bass’ turning into a horde of mouses, scourging to return to their small, hidey-holes, how does PAKT do something like that?

Well, the trick is finding out where each of the members deciding how its going to play out, and create this massive beat to get you on where the next sequence is going to be. ‘NYC’ is a love letter that PAKT has written about the Big Apple. Both Skolnick and Motzer take turns into a walk across the big city, both in and outside of the city.

Alex hits in a train-chugging motif for the other three to go full-speed ahead before he transforms his guitar into the forms of Robert Fripp, Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, and Terje Rypdal. There is some Floydian-like approaches that Skolnick challenges by tipping his hat to the maestro himself, David Gilmour.

He adds some minor techniques to create a scenery inside this dark, cavernous place as the closing piece ‘Solar Myth’ brings it all back home for PAKT by bringing their spaceship to the planet earth. All in all, as I’ve mentioned earlier, it’s good to see that MoonJune’s answer to the Justice League have finally brought in the bigger guns to see what the quartet will think of next.

And who knows what PAKT will think of next. And as George Harrison would say from the 1968 animated classic Yellow Submarine, “It’s all in the mind y’know?

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