AMN Reviews: Eliogabal – Mo (2015)

Eliogabal is a French “free rock” band. Such a categorization accurately puts them in a place between free jazz and avant-rock. Featuring Pierre Pasquis on drums, Quentin Biardeau on sax, Sakina Abdou also on sax, Paul Ménard on guitar, and Thomas Coquelet on bass, Eliogabal leverages this lineup to provide heavily-distorted, almost fuzzed-out, guitar and bass riffing, overlaid with dual-sax themes. At first blush, the guitar, bass, and drums evoke Red-era King Crimson, but this group has more in common sound-wise with the 1990s work of European outfits such as Blast, X-Legged Sally, and Fukkeduk.

While a significant portion of Mo is clearly composed, the group does take it down to loose free-improv with muted guitar picking and sax melodies. Thus, this 30-minute release alternates between short bursts of energy and more introspective pieces. But Eliogabal is at their best when Biardeau and Abdou lay down an angular rhythm over an aggressive guitar and rhythm section. Consequently, Mo could easily be something you would expect to hear from the Cuneiform Records or ReR labels. A compelling release.

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