Under The Volcano is the first part of a triptych of albums from John E Vistic the very busy multi- instrumentalist, who I promise I won't misgender in this review, like the first time I thought I saw him playing live many years ago.
The press release is the first I've ever received that gives thanks to the Jewish Mystic Rabbi Nachman, who was one of Martin Buber's hero's and made me think of this quote, from The Tales Of Rabbi Nachman, that fits in with the feel of parts of this album. "Where on earth is there a joy like this? All men laugh over some happenings, and their laughter runs aground on other happenings. But this child laughs at life as if it bore in secure spirit all that will happen, and it's joy nourishes itself on the gleam of future things."
The album opens with spacey noise and a repeating riff that leads into the Sublime Architecture of Death a garage rocker with despair at the way we are all meant to be in this together, but aren't really, with some sharp lyrics and a sound that's somewhere between The Flaming Stars and The Fall, and some wonderfully monstrous sax.
King Of Rock & Roll asks questions about if you really can put the meaning of life on a T-shirt, this is urgent pained and needs to be heard a few times as it's a blast of a tune with loads of effects and weird bits in the instrumental parts and under the vocals.
Psycho Death Cult is sleazy garage rock and then some, with a Stooge like edge this song about having a Psycho Death Cult murderer in the family blasts at the very core of what happy families might be hiding beneath the veneer.
It's Nature is an outsiders song of pained experience while trying to win an argument you really have already lost, going down in flames and eviscerating all around you, as you try to work out where the glam rock guitar part's been stolen from.
Loutz has a darkened devil may care almost Gallon Drunk meets The Fall over a strained vocals of the dispossessed arriving in new lands while feeling totally lost and untethered.
I Am The Shadow has good reverb heavy vocals darkly intoning as if he really is the comic book hero that Jack Kerouac was fascinated by. The guitars strafe and drums are pounding as he tries to find the light.
Long Black Cloud is dark distortions and the urge to blot it all out with heroin and other drugs and distractions as the world comes crashing down and everything falls apart.
Heart In Danger has a brilliant drum and fizzing guitar intro that builds into a song of impending heartache and pain that pummels away at your brain.
Moronic Inferno seems to be about drinking and trying to forget just how screwed the world feels like, this slows things down a bit and as the flames rise this feels a lot like The Payroll Union, as John E wants you to test him on the answers to life's big questions and he knows you can't be saved.
All Animals has a slow deliberate beat as John E looks deeply at how really no matter what anyone claims we really are just All Animals.
Rattlesnake slithers across your speakers like it's ready to sting you out of your complacency as the guitars flail un-constricted until the pulsar beams come to drag you away.
The album closes with Sapiens (When We Are All Free) the only acoustic track on the album and it's a song about the things you do to be friends when really you have little or nothing in common.
Find out more at https://vistic.co.uk/ https://vistic.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-volcano