Strange Keys To Untune Gods' Firmament

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Universal acclaim - based on 6 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: The British drone band's latest release is a two-CD set.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Strange Keys is generally relentless and tremendous, burying its themes in kaleidoscopic distortion. It's as if the comparisons that Bower has earned in the last seven years--Merzbow, Wagner, second wave black metal--finally took magnificent hold.
  2. It may be something of a litmus test for newer listeners due to its uncompromising severity and double-album length (I'd suggest either of the aforementioned full-lengths, which are somewhat more manageable), but longtime advocates will no doubt be pleased.
  3. Strange Keys to Untune God’s Firmament is classic Skullflower, a set of tunes that pays homage to the band’s history while still finding new inspiration in feedback, drone and monochord assault. This record puts them back in the game, and at the top of the class.
  4. The sheer sense of sprawl created by the two-disc release, accentuated by the sometimes sudden shifts between songs as one variety of feedback suddenly cuts in to replace another, creates its own involving logic.
  5. That’s not to say that development is necessary, but I still found myself wishing for more of a sense of progress. While sometimes it is about the journey, not the destination, two hours of journey is still better off with some pit stops along the way.
  6. For all that pomp and bombast, it does remain difficult to fully engage with a record like this, and Strange Keys is never an effortless listen. Nor is it an entirely effective record.