THEE SILVER MT.ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA

Constellation

Kollaps Tradixionales
Constellation

And Godspeed You! Black Emperor begat Thee Silver Mt. Zion Traditional Orchestra and it went on to give itself lo, a different name for each album and yeah, many players came and went but 15-minute songs remained unto this, Thee Silver’s sixth album.

Kollaps Tradixionales comes with a different name and the usual line-up changes but it’s unmistakably the work of main man Efrim Menuck and his band of punked-out experimentalists. The lineup’s down to one guitar now but in fact Kollaps... contains some of the heaviest guitar moments from the band to dat

Clocking in at around 15 minutes, There Is A Light opens the album in the usual try your patience fashion except it’s short of bombast and unexpectedly drenched in pathos, especially when Menuck comes on with emotionally laden vocals. Length aside, it’s one of the more accessible album openers ever from this band. Don’t get all comfy however because next up is the teeth-rattling I Built Myself a Metal Bird which goes straight for the jugular with abrasive guitar and rollicking drums in which you can hear faint echoes of early Sonic Youth. It's as close as Thee Silvers get to a conventional rock song, if you can put aside the scary violins ripping at Menuck’s vocal refrain of "Dance You Motherfuckers".

Then it’s into the experimental mystic that’s their usual turf with the three-part centrepiece from which the album derives its name. This is a bleak and foreboding country soundtracked by an unrelenting funereal dirge - Kollapz Traditional (Thee Olde Dirty Flag) and a pretty lament in the shape of Collapse Tradixional (For Darling). It concludes with the shrill guitars of Bury 3 Dynamos being overwhelmed by a thundering surge of drums and bass. It hums with a grandeur that practically commands a salute. Although Menuck’s never made much of his vocals, the boy can sure turn on a dime. On this one he starts out prayer like and hymnal but it’s not long before the rabble-rousing starts, the music begins to go its own way and the whole implodes into a glorious freewheeling liberationist anthem

There’s more music here but the Kollaps trilogy leaves a body so wrung out and dream-stricken they needn’t have bothered. It’s always tricky to figure where Thee Silvers are coming from and where they intend on ending up but this time there’s an unmistakable spirituality to the music that’s hard to ignore.

Demanding, unrelenting and wildly imaginative, this is one of the young year’s most original works so far.

Lenny Stoute