Birchville Cat Motel - Our Love Will Destroy the World (PseudoArcana CD)
I'm trying to stay away from reviewing reissues in large part since I think there's enough new stuff to talk about...but this album is a slight exception to the rule (and for a good reason). In 2003, Campbell Kneale's Birchville Cat Motel released a 3" CD called "Screamformelongbeach", which contained the 15-minute track "550,00 Flowers for the Hero". That track is reproduced here, but it's surrounded by almost half an hour's worth of "bonus" tracks, essentially making this a brand new album of sorts. We clear?
Anyway, at the time it was released, "Screamformelongbeach" was an anomaly in the BCM canon. Yes it was droning, but from a different approach altogether. It's a 15-minute loop of drums and guitars straight out of the most fervent point of a given NWOBHM/"classic" heavy metal song, with Campbell piling on all different kinds of flattening guitar noise over top. The result was your Walkman getting jammed while playing "Number of the Beast" at the exact same point in time you fall into some kind of black hole space vortex. The lead-off track to the album "Heaven's Flaming Horse" follows a similar pattern, but seemingly with black metal as the source instead of traditional heavy metal. It's the sound of Matthew Bower fronting Nargaroth - actually this is pretty reminiscent of where Hototogisu were flashing upon with their "Green" album.
The last three tracks are all new additions (but apparently recorded around 2003). "Lay Thy Hatred Down" is a somber, repetitive, requiem while "Double Cascade Mini Fantasy" is like someone slowly ripping the clouds open, bewildering organ rain landing in small pools around you. The last track is the 11-minute title track, which also boasts a pretty heavy Skullflower influence. Thudding drums and acidic guitar skree whipping around your ears. I'm also hearing the finest bits of Ramleh in there (pounding on the doors trying to get out, that is).
This is a curious album, and a curious addition to BCM's discography. Anyone who heard 2005's "Chi Vampires" and was stunned with the monstrous sludge-hammer riffing that took over on the last track shouldn't be too surprised to find Campbell indulging even more in his heavy metal passion. Likewise, his Black Boned Angel project (which seems to be growing greater in prominence) is a decent tip-off as well. What I'm wondering is, will the next real true-blue "legit" BCM long-player contain even more of this metal influence that's been seeping through the cracks, or is it a return to the ecstatic Theatre of Eternal Music drones? Or, much like this album, an unholy amalgamation of the two? Regardless, the man's got my attention.