Eraldo Bernocchi and Jamie Saft have made many kinds of music, but never before together. My Eraldo of choice is a maker of hard, slow beats and dark electronica (both on his own and in cahoots with the likes of Bill Laswell and Mick Harris), so it’s actually a nice change to hear him searing through the murk on a straightforward, if virtuoso electric guitar. New Yorker Saft has long been involved in John Zorn’s various Masada permutations and recently launched a lounge reggae act called New Zion Trio. Bassist Colin Edwin from Porcupine Tree and busy Hungarian drummer Balazs Pandi, recently enjoyed on The Blood of Heroes with Submerged, Bill Laswell, Justin Broadrick and crew, round out what is something of a supergroup.
There’s always been a sense of the macabre in BernocchiÂ´s work and the b-film track titles – including ‘Schizopolis’, ‘Glass Chewer’, ‘Bipolar’ and ‘Fist Full of Flies’ – telegraph a continuation of tongue in bloody cheek form. Ripping open a stately piano chord by Saft on opening track ‘Sectile’, the spaghetti Western guitar and elephantine trumpeting lead don’t even hint at the plots twists which lie ahead. Saft’s Herman Munster harpsichord and Bernocchi’s tidal, crashing-surf guitar on ‘Schizopolis’ are comic-book dystopian. The latter’s playing is pretty fierce throughout, varied, infinitely echoing or held on a short choke chain, while Saft makes dub love to his piano. ‘Crystals and Wounds’ or ‘Transverse’ blend the two so unexpectedly seamlessly.
Metallic Taste of Blood is a reconciliation of the hard and the soft. When the band shifts into an easy reggae skank a couple of minutes into ‘King Cockroach’, you canÂ´t help but smile and think, “These guys are alright”. They make you shudder, then they purr like kittens.