Bloody Panda Summon [Digipak] * CD

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Bloody Panda Summon [Digipak] * CD. Recording information: Excello Recording (07/2007-06/2008); Secret Weapon Studios (07/2007-06/2008).
Brooklyn-based art-doom ensemble Bloody Panda are far from a traditional metal band. Their plodding, female-fronted music falls within a continuum that encompasses the mixed sensitivity and rage of Nico's early-'70s albums, as well as the work of Khanate, not to mention the operatically emotive post-psychedelic noise washes of Japanese acts like Fushitsusha, Les Rallizes Denudes, and Shizuka. Vocalist Yoshiko Ohara shifts between an almost Gothic, monotone croon and a fierce scream, as organ, sludgy guitar, and throbbing bass shadow her. The drums combine tribal pounding with avant-rock improvisational sensitivity for a cumulative effect that recalls no wave as much as doom. Even when they come up with a somewhat normal song structure, as on "Pusher," a nonstop piercing keyboard tone manages to disrupt and keep the listener off-balance, unable to truly rock out with abandon. The album's centerpiece is the 21-minute "Miserere" (the CD's accompanying DVD features abstract video accompaniment for the track), a breathtakingly heavy odyssey that features male vocals, tonal shifts, and tempo changes, and generally ups the level of Bloody Panda's artistic achievement to the point that they can be quite easily called one of America's best bands. ~ Phil Freeman


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