Published Jun 25, 2019Calling Whitetails to a Tuned Bow should really come with a heart attack warning. After a few seconds of jangly banjo at the start of "Birds," the record jumps headfirst into a hellscape of feedback, distortion and noise music, with all the subtlety of a ten-car pileup. You can literally hear the instruments crying out in agony as they are twisted into unnatural shapes. Listening to it, you'd be forgiven for flopping around like a clubbed fish on speed. For similar effect, picture Full of Hell crashing the stage at a Willie Nelson concert.
Then, without warning, the noise stops. Things slow to an ethereal whisper, but it's too late. Those Darn Gnomes have got us on our toes. With four tracks spanning over 40 minutes, it's impossible to guess where this record could go. Outside of Michael Gira's Swans, it would be hard to find a record that keeps its audience in such mind-bending suspense.
Things reach peak bizarre on "The Frail Stag (Vanity Sounds the Horn and Ignorance Unleashes the Hounds Overconfidence, Rashness, and Desire)"; over a nine-and-a-half minute runtime, it spans black metal, power violence, free jazz, avant-garde and whatever we call Björk now. There's a serious argument to be made that Those Darn Gnomes are just hitting random notes after pressing record, à la Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music, but it wouldn't affect the overall outcome.
Nefarious Industries identifies as "the home of a bunch of big, dumb noise," and Those Darn Gnomes fit right in; they've made the most unpredictable album of the year so far. Not recommended for the faint of heart or mind. (Nefarious Industries)