Flaherty, Corsano & Yeh - Slow Blind Avalanche & A Rock in the Snow (Important Records LP & CD)
To what do we owe the pleasure of having these two fine, fine outings dropped upon us simultaneously by the always-on-the-ball Important Records label? I don't know, but gloryoski and praise be to whatever and whomever. As you might know by now I'm pretty much a sap for anything bearing the name Chris Corsano or Paul Flaherty, but when you add Burning Star Core's own C. Spencer Yeh to the mix, PLUS liner notes from the forever-entertaining John Olson/Johnny Coors...well now you're a man who's after my heart/guts.
The LP confounds me off the bat because Important's page calls it "Snow Blind Avalanche" (which would kinda make sense and give me an arsenal of Black Sabbath references to work with) but the LP jacket most definitely reads "Slow Blind Avalanche". I have scrutinzed it many times over and deemed it so. Anyway whatever the case is, it's limited to a print run of 1000 copies with the first 200 coming on snow-white vinyl so chop chop then. It also comes in a lovely gatefold, which gets even more points from me. But it's the music that really shines - no, I mean it! The A-side is a 20-minute slammer called "Human Suffering", and with a name like that you know you're going to get punished. The trio get up a full head almost from the get-go with Corsano's trademark loping/jumpy skin hits, Flaherty blowing all kinds of obnoxious loops like a spider monkey with epilepsy and newcomer Yeh heaping on thick and violent violin sawings. Every now and then he (Yeh) hits on some more melodic notes but for the most part it's like he's cutting through rotund cables of metal licorice. Somewhere in there he (Yeh again) even gets a solo showcase and plays it very minimal, but effective. Flaherty and Corsano make their return slow and deliberate with all three eventually engaging in a kind of gentle sleepsong. Mr. Flaherty's solo is all different kinds of beautiful with Yeh creeping up in the lower left-hand corner. It's not long before the triumvirate relaunch their attack full force, which is of course another beautiful thing.
The B is split in two. The first track "Ice Ducklings" opens with Yeh's throat undulations and Corsano's tiny kit scramblings. Leave it to Flaherty then to blow the motherfucker wide open with some tremendous wailings - Yeh keeps pace by notching up his vocal jabberings, coming across as impressive as they are comical. Lastly, "Abstract Poverty" is like a more condensed version of the first side, with Yeh back on violin and the group firing on all cyllinders until the needle runs off.
I'll try not to talk too long about the CD, because Olson's liners have me beat on all counts (the catch is you have to buy it to read em - hah!). "We Have to Check Your Equipments for Bombs" is the opening salvo and they bloody well better because the explosions are being set off like there's no tomorrow on this screamfest. It opens kinda surreptitiously with Flaherty and Yeh bouncing good vibrations off one another, but they all quickly decide it's showtime and embark on a 20 minute journey to the limits of human endurance. It's like - I can't even - fuck it...just fuck it. The magnificently titled track two "Do You Have Any Prurient Releases?" is notable for a minor vocal war between Flaherty and Yeh, with Yeh going total spaceship-dwelling maniac style. "Dirty Firetrucker" is brief and powerful, like this power trio's wizened take on full-on death metal. I think this is where Yeh winds up hacking his way through his spleen. The penultimate "Sixteen Waltzes in Seventeen Seconds" is a group effort but Corsano stands titan-tall, flattening anything in his path with the kind of ridiculous, speed-addled rolls and thrashings he's made a name on and the album closer "Swamp-Like Heartache" is a real curveball, with all (?) members joining uvulas in a free-for-all tongue and spit ridden growly showdown made evermore creeped by Corsano's distant clangs. Like a church scene in the most classic of zombie movies. What a perfect, weird, perfectly weird finish to a couple of maxed-out sessions.
If you've only got enough money for one of these, I'd have to recommend the CD but that's only because you get about 15 more minutes of music...but on the other hand hearing these three on wax is a temptation too great to deny. But let's be real - I think I should just join a Flaherty/Corsano street team and get it over with. I shouldn't even be reviewing these, too much bias. Come on though, everything they've laid mitts on is just too impeccable, too filled with blown-out thrills. If the day ever comes that they should thrown down a wrong note, well I don't want to be alive to experience it. And you've got my word on that!