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Tenebrous Liar - Tenebrous Liar's Last Stand

  by Anthony Middleton

published: 8 / 11 / 2008



Tenebrous Liar - Tenebrous Liar's Last Stand
Label: Tenor Vossa
Format: CD

intro

Discordant and grinding second album from Tenebrous Liar, the project of music photographer Steve Gullick, which while cacophinic and often grim in sound, proves not totally without worth


The first song on this sets the tone. A guitar gnaws away at you like toothache. There is so much echo and reverb that you fear the speakers could vibrate across the floor and then come the vocals. A dour, flat, intonation that is largely indecipherable, but you get the idea that the subjects are not sugar and spice and all things nice. No, this is a Dark album, by a Dark band. At first I thought it was an awful album by a dreadful band, but, being selfless in the name of music criticism, I listened to it again. And it grew on me. Tenebrous (in case your wondering: adj, dark, murky or obscured by shadows) Liar are the pet, vanity or otherwise, project of music photographer Steve Gullick who has been at the forefront of promoting underground music for years. To make the leap from being an acclaimed observer of musicians to joining them is a brave decision and one that could back fire. The only other example I can think of is the Pet Shop Boys. The band are supporting Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds at the end of November in London. Perhaps fond memories of the cacophony of the Birthday Party prompted the invitation and it must have been welcome as Cave is obviously a major influence. The more accomplished moments here would be worthy of Grinderman. 'One Last Time', a more melodic moment, and 'Hunch' are reminiscent of early Bad Seeds. Apparently recorded in thirteen hours (what they did in the other 12 hours escapes me…) Tenebrous Liar’s Last Stand grinds, howls and wails. And that’s just the guitars, of which there seems to be quite a few; all played with the finesse you would normally reserve for an angle grinder. There is, to put it charitably, a pattern to the songs. The focus is always the guitar work, which is always louche, certainly never intricate, though brought to the edge of self indulgence by the obsessive use of distortion effects which can, as in the case of the album’s final two songs ('Tenebrous Liar' and, er, 'Last Stand') sound like a symphony of power tools being seriously misused. The only instrumental, 'Sour', is one of the few times the group break into a canter when they are freed from the leaden vocals. Gullick is restrained in his singing, staying within a safe range and probably happy to let the music do the work. 'On Last Stand', he obviously this wouldn’t wash and attempts to compete with the chorus of guitars with visceral, guttural bawl. He loses, but the attempt is gallant. After probably the longest silent pause during a song, the guitars are given free reign and the descent into total feedback, distortion oblivion is complete. Tenebrous Liar feels more like a project than a band; the motifs and mood being contrived rather than heartfelt. There are truly dreadful moments such as 'Doomed', but there are also gems so rough you could cut yourself. This is a raw, earthy growling wreck of an album and while you have to look, you feel a bit dirty afterwards.



Track Listing:-
1 Blood Moon
2 Pretender
3 One Last Time
4 Hunch
5 Doomed
6 Sour
7 All That You Know
8 Alight
9 One Way Lane
10 Tenebrous Liars
11 Last Stand


Band Links:-
http://www.tenebrousliar.com/
http://tenebrousliar.bandcamp.com/
https://www.facebook.com/TenebrousLIARband


Label Links:-
http://www.tenorvossa.co.uk/



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