SKULLFLOWER (IIIrd Gatekeeper) CD
After Crucial Blast released the album 'Orange Canyon Mind' three years ago and 'Tribulation' one year later in 2006, the time has come in 2007 for the re-issue of the fifth SKULLFLOWER album, which has been originally released in 1992 on Justin Broadrick's HeadDirt label. Today it's almost impossible to find the original CD so thanks to Crucial Blast for their engagement. The band was founded in 1985 from guitarist Matthew Bower, who remains the only permanent member in the line-up and who had recorded 20 albums until now under the name SKULLFLOWER, mostly with various musicians. The connection to the early Industrial music scene existed since the early days, because members from the power electronics pioneers Whitehouse and from Industrial unit Coil have been part in the band for a short time, too. Then there's Ramleh, the nasty twin of SKULLFLOWER, a band that was more at home in the territory of harsh noise/power electronics. Last but not least, it's important to mention a few of Matthew Bower's side projects as for example Total or Sunroof!, but I won't write more about it, because that would go beyond the scope of this review.
Without a doubt SKULLFLOWER were a huge impact for Godflesh, and especially the heavy mechanically-sounding bass remind the listener to Justin Broadrick's old band Godflesh. 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' is like a black hole, which absorbs time and space. The driving rhythm force are drummer Anthony Di Franco and bassist Stuart Dennison, who's also responsible for the sparsely submerged vocals, while guitarist Matthew Bower is the one who's creating an overwhelming hypnotic atmosphere with all his psychedelic feedback drone combined with cascades of restless noise. It's as if the listener stands under a shower of pulsating and mesmerizing guitar sounds. You won't hear much riffs, but nevertheless this album rocks and it's heavy. For me as a fan of old Industrial and heavy noise rock 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' is a perfect and powerful amalgamation of both styles, and that's one of the reasons why this album is a classic. Crucial Blast present this re-issue with extensive liner notes, a gorgeous new package that retains all of the original artwork and a remastered sound, which is better than on the original album. It's making sense and everyone, who's interested in the history of experimental rock music should buy a copy of 'IIIrd Gatekeeper' as soon as possible. Timeless and wonderful!