AMN Reviews: Albatre – The Fall of the Damned (2018; Shhpuma/Clean Feed 2018)

On the heels of the new Ikizukuri release, bassist Gonçalo Almeida returns with another trio that blurs the lines between jazz and metal. This time, he is joined by Hugo Costa on sax and Philipp Ernsting on drums and electronics. In addition to bass, Almeida also plays keyboards and electronics. The Fall of the Damned resembles what might happen if a punk rock group attempted to play like King Crimson, Ornette Coleman, and Philip Glass at the same time.

From the outset, it is clear that Albatre enjoys a little dissonance in their morning coffee. Almeida and Ernsting lay down labyrinthine and yet semi-repetitive rhythms, over which Costa provides punctuated, staccato lines, as well as angular and wailing leads. The keyboards and electronics are mostly for purposes of atmosphere, and add an ominous feel in line with the album’s title. For the most part, the seven tracks (ranging in length from four to eleven minutes) move along at an agitated and hypnotic pace.  Almeida makes generous use of bass harmonics and strumming in synch with Ernsting’s pounding yet minimalist patterns.

Comparisons? Aside from Ikizukuri, the avant-rock group Present might not be a bad place to start, though Albatre is more stripped down. The U.K.’s Warren Schoenbright is another reference point. Regardless, this album comes recommended for anyone who is into some youthful and erudite aggression.

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