Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

The Telestic Disfracture

Released 2001 on Tortuga
Reviewed by kwd, 24/07/2006ce

The last release from this pair of less-than-prolific psychonauts was The Hemophiliac Dream, a one-track EP that copped the Floyd’s ‘Set the Controls’ riff, gave it the quiet-loud-louder treatment and blasted it through the cosmos on a first-degree burn-up – a truly audacious belch of heavyweight psyche metal for the new millennium. Devoid of vocals and frills, Hemo was just the one key riff (pretty much) repeated, distorted and pummelled from oh-so-quiet beginnings into near-disintegration over 25 minutes. For that particular effort, the band – core members Ben Carr and Charlie Harrold, plus borrowed Isis bassman Jeff Caxide - were known as 5ive’s Continuum Research Project. Before that, they were plain old 5ive – and that’s when The Telestic Disfracture, their sophomore release, emerged from the cracks of 2001.

Boasting over an hour of un-Earthly, predominantly instrumental explorations, The Telestic Disfracture is a longer, heavier, uglier proposition than the Dream that followed. Opening track, the 11-minute Stockholm (Blues), demonstrates the 5ive ethos perfectly: sparse guitar notes float through Space Ritual atmos and, for the first five minutes, not much else actually happens BUT… you know it will.

‘Coz that’s what 5ive do.


And sure enough, things do start to shift. Slowly-awakening drums and rare vox (a soaring contribution from Milligram’s Jonah Jenkins) converge into a slo-mo one-chord groove that chugs nicely in an anguished kinda way until 5ive put the squeeze on, slowwwwwly winding Stockholm up into a monstrous, shit-kickingly unrestrained post-metal frenzy. No finesse, no posturing, not really even any proper riffs, just chords and stickwork whipped into chaos. It’s this total lack of restraint that gives 5ive their own frazzled edge within the swelling psyche/stoner/post/drone metal scenes…. much like Tortuga labelmates Old Man Gloom, 5ive bore into the primeval depths of their being and cut whatever’s down there loose. Unlike OMG’s schizo hardcore/ambient/prog/post metallic mash up, however, 5ive’s route to transcendence is far more single-minded: once they catch the right note or chord, the right MOMENT, they lock on and jam it ‘til there’s nothing left. In other words, if it ain’t broke, it ain’t finished.

And the rest of the album? Well, that’s another hour of variations on the Stockholm (Blues) theme. Fans of eclectica can turn away…

Nitinol (5.47 mins): the bruiser. Continues where Stockholm collapsed, reaches its own climactic meltdown and morphs into the slower, predatory form of…

Shark Dreams (17.41 mins): the centrepiece. Stop-start intro escalates into can’t-stop fury but this time, sweeping arcs of feedback usher in a calming hint of a blues-based (just) pulse, leading nicely into…

Synapse X 3 (35 mins): the Big End. Although split into 3 parts - Sleep for the Larsen B Shelf / Telluric in Transudate / Comae – this mammoth closer is really just one continuous piece, a cooling wash of feedback/fx over sparse power chord rumbles that ebb-and-flow rather than crash-and-burn.

And that’s your 70-minute lot. Fancy it? Well, if the hardcore post-metal of Celestial-era Isis, the volume extremities of early Mogwai and the cosmic side of desert-rockers Kyuss (Asteroid, from Welcome to Sky Valley, is a Telestic root, no doubt about it) are the kind of things that swell your balloons with hard-rocking joy, there's every chance that 5ive's cathartic rage could rupture them altogether... but that's part of the fun, right?

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