this is a funny one and no mistake.
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.
neo-classical opener 'Tin Formulae' would sit easily next to
the likes of Arcana
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
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.