Pineal Ventana Axes To Ice

Nobody could ever accuse Atlanta's Pineal Ventana of being conventional. Their recorded work ranges from the truly disturbing to the merely experimental, merely. Their originality makes it hard to put into words exactly what they do. Take "Control," an eight-minute roller-coaster ride that starts off as a quiet rumble then builds up slowly into a disconcerting percussive cacophony, with guitars making the kind of noises that they probably shouldn't make. And that seems to be the template for most songs - they all have an element of improvisation that adds to the overall chaos. But it is the vocals that are really the icing on the cake. Clara Clamp's vocals are not unlike those of Diamanda Galas - her range varies from a low bass rumble to shrieks and screams. Mitchell F's vocals are not quite as unorthodox, but are just as harrowing to listen to. Production duties are shared by the band and ex-Swans member Martin Bisi (who has also, not surprisingly, worked with John Zorn), although part of me thinks that they just left the tape running and waited to see what came out the other end. To be perfectly honest, Axes To Ice is exhausting to listen to, but maybe that's a compliment in its own way; to capture so much energy and strangeness in the recording studio is no mean feat. (Unit Circle Rekkids)