Zach Hill and Mick Barr – Shred Earthship (CD)

Zach Hill and Mick Barr – Shred Earthship / 2006 5RC / 19 Tracks / http://www.killrockstars.com / Reviewed 22 May 2006

The eclecticism in which “Shred Earthship” starts shows that Hella and Octis are both live and well in this new release. There is no need for vocals during the disc as the composition has a vocal component already present; the guitar work present during tracks like “Desert Glass Bubble” accurately recreates a set of vocals. Each of the tracks has a similar sound to it that allows “Shred Earthship” to have a very distinctive type of sound; while the disc is almost seventy minutes long, Hill and Barr keep things interesting throughout the vast majority of tracks.

What really is a question I have is how Hill and Barr come up with names for these songs. With all of the tracks sharing a great deal, how can different-sounding track names like “Floats” and “Cat Barrels” be created? All I know is that “Floats” sounds like it has taken influence from “Flight of the Bumblebee”. The one charge that can be levied against “Shred Earthship” is that there is too much conformity amongst these chaotic tracks. While Hill and Barr never stop with their furious maelstrom of music, the fact is that different tracks are much more the exception than the norm. I’m not saying that Hill and Barr need to add vocals to the tracks, but perhaps if they added a few different guitar effects or different drum arrangements, the results would be much better.

There is a tremendous amount of musical talent shown on “Shred Earthship”, but the arrangement side of things is a little weak. Individuals know that these band members have the ability to craft an interesting and diverse album, but “Shred Earthship” does not necessarily push the boundaries as much as perhaps it should. Perhaps if a number of tracks were divided and put into movements (like a classical work), the differences that are present at points during “Shred Earthship” could be highlighted and the album made to sound a little bit differently. I know that there is much more propensity to drone on with a lot of the acts on labels like Hydra Head, but the thing that really delineates Hydra Head bands from Hill and Barr on “Shred Earthship” is that the former has some idea where they want to go at the beginning of the disc. There is a certain episodic feel to “Shred Earthship” that means that each track resets listeners to where they began during the intro to “Lakes In Space”.

Top Tracks: Cat Barrels, Floats

Rating: 5.0/10

[JMcQ]

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