Gall (Germany) - 17:21 MIN (2020)

The term “psychedelic” often conjures to mind sunny California jangle-pop or the stoned, soulful leads of Jimi Hendrix. But psychedelia has a broader reach than tie dye and incense. It can be violent and oppressive in ways that the summer of love never imagined. 

Germany’s Gall play a noise-damaged, decidedly psychedelic blend of powerviolence, grindcore and sludge that meshes masterfully across 17:21 MIN’s 18 tracks. Screeching, chittering electronics and depth-plumbing bass are anchored by drumming that oscillates between textured and blasting, and punctured by howling midrange screams.

Some songs, like “Exploited Spheroid” and “Migraine Aura” pound along slowly, punctuated by momentary blasting that returns quickly to the sludgy pace. Others, like “Vile Compulsion” and “Colonized Vacuum” are all piercing, kinetic energy, and brief tracks like “Twitch” and “Luminecent Veins” ride one or two ideas to their conclusion. Some are led by jabbing electronic loops, while on others the pulsing, distorted bass takes the lead.

These tracks conjure cyberpunk dystopias, but not the oversaturated neon of Western cyberpunk. Rather, they writhe and squeal like the Japanese cyberpunk body horror of Shinya Tsukamoto’s Tetsuo series or Otomo’s Akira. They’re cramped and mutating, undulating and scraping against each other.

Despite the harshness of the above descriptors, these are atmospheric, layered songs. They make for a cohesive album that’s best experienced as a whole. While it invites comparisons to other groups who combine psychedelic atmosphere, noise and powerviolence (Gasp and Holy Grinder come to mind) few albums sound quite like 17:21 MIN. It’s among the best extreme music efforts of 2020, and it’s a bad trip you’ll want to take again and again. 

17:21 MIN is available digitally on Gall’s Bandcamp page.  The European physical release is available through Vault of Heaven, and the US physical release is available through Howling Frequency.

Hey 'scopers, it's Nigel, aka DesiccatedVeins. I'll be spending some time here on Cephaloschromoscope for the forseeable future, but if you'd like to read my older extreme music writing, you can do so over at Hipness as a Second Language.

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  1. You had me at Shinya Tsukamoto. I like it!

  2. Welcome, welcome. Good stuff, more please.