AMN Reviews: Combat Astronomy – Shamanic Insurgency (2021; Zond)

It has been eight years since we reviewed Kundalini Apocalypse from Combat Astronomy, which appears to put out either solo albums from American James Huggett or duos between Huggett and UK-based Martin Archer. Huggett handles guitar, bass, and (as far as I can tell) percussion. Archer is also a multi-instrumentalist, employing various horns as well as keyboards and organs. Trumpeter Charlotte Keeffe guests on one track.

Shamanic Insurgency (a reference to the events of January 6, 2021?) heads largely in the same direction as the previously-reviewed album. Huggett offers up heavy, complex rhythms in a prog-metal sense, over which Archer solos in a fashion bordering on free improv. Based on that alone, this release would sit well with many on the Cuneiform Records label, such as Schnellertollermeier, Guapo, Happy Family, Led Bib, and more recently Bisbâyé.

But Huggett and Archer also add an outside catchiness to some of the tracks. Amongst the relentless pounding that is certain to get your head nodding are blasts of horn and falling melodic themes. These compelling elements are well-represented in the final track, Arc of Vion, which clocks in at 25 minutes and also features more melodic interludes as well as distorted drones.

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