CD: Dragon Flight Recordings DFR011 [2002]

VOYAGE I: "Tin Formulaé"
VOYAGE II: "Dauntless Pride"
VOYAGE III: "Witch Wife"
VOYAGE IV: "Castle Walls"
VOYAGE V: "First Point"
VOYAGE VI: "Devil Woman"
VOYAGE VII: "Ossian's Cave [Including Impressions I, II & III]

Now this is a funny one and no mistake.

Proscriptor McGovern, an apparently benevolent lunatic of Scots descent, and his band of merry entities, bring us from the depths of Texas an inspired slice of quirky hermetic psychedelia on DFR (now Beauty & Pain). After the strikingly pompous yet subtly tongue-in-cheek packaging, the next surprise here was that Windows Media Player seemed to think that this album was in fact "Barathrum Vitriol" by Absu, a band I'd never heard of but who seem from their track names and picture to be using much the same sort of imagery as Proscriptor themselves. I was six tracks in before I was certain that I had the right album and not a misprint.

Sinister neo-classical opener 'Tin Formulae' would sit easily next to the likes of Arcana or Ordo Equilibrio, were it not for a glaringly prog-rock arpeggiated synthesiser that evokes images of Rick Wakeman, capes and five-high keyboard stacks. Folkish acoustic strummer 'Dauntless Pride' is not too great a departure from this territory, and is rather pleasant, albeit in a Robin Of Sherwood sort of way. But the Proscriptor is merely lulling his victims into a false sense of security, and turns the tables with 'Witch Wife', a burst of perky pagan techno that starts off like a cross between DAF and some of Add (N) to X's mooged-up hard rock pastiches - and then turns a bit strange.

The schmaltzy piano and ominous intonations of 'Castle Walls' are the weakest point of the album, but "First Point" heads swiftly east in search of light - and finds it in the form of a beautiful ethno-ambient groove reminiscent of Coil's "Remote Viewer" EP and hurdy-gurdy-fuelled 2002 line-up. And so you start to believe that these are serious experimental musicians after all, just in time for a cover of Sir Cliff Richard's 'Devil Woman' in the style of Deep Purple or Blue Oyster Cult. Fantastic. Still reeling from the shock, you find yourself suddenly in Nurse With Wound territory for the dissonant 14-minute soundscape 'Ossian's Cave', which leads back into an instrumental reprise of the opening track, cheesy arpeggios and all. Two thumbs up for Proscriptor and his cackling hordes. There's bits you'll hate but it's all part of the plan.

Oh, and he's apparently the founder of the Thelemic Order of the Golden Dawn's Southern Abyssic Communion Chapter in Dallas too. So now you know.


[Proscriptor] / [Beauty & Pain (Formerly DFR)]

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