Asterismal by 11ParanoiasRelease date: March 15, 2019
Label: Ritual Productions
For those of you who have stuck around the psych scene for the last few years, it is very likely that you will have heard of Mike Vest, and if not you will most certainly have heard of one or more of the number of bands he plays in. With a work ethic that would put both Ty Segall and Robert Pollard to shame, he consistently flits between his many projects releasing album after album onto an unsuspecting public. What is even more remarkable is how consistently good his music is, and be it the space explorations of Blown Out, the heavier sounds of Lush Worker or Melting Hand, to the more intense psych of Haiku No Ku, you are guaranteed to find your head bombarded with some of the most intense psych this side of…well, just this side, there is no other side as far as Mike Vest is concerned.
11Paranoias is yet another band, this time steeped in a heavy doom psych setting. Again, the onus is on ripping your head to shreds as each track hurtles along a churning path of riffs until you feel your brain turning to mush. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted, but by god it makes you feel alive. It’s music to take drugs to then instantly regret taking said drugs as the music becomes enough of a trip in itself. Blue pill or red pill? Vest gives you both, along with the rest of the rainbow.
It’s almost pointless trying too dissect what is actually going in each of these songs and by the time ‘Vitrified Galaxy’ hurls you into its vortex of screams, the last vestiges of your real mind will probably be grasping for any semblance of normality. You’re in for the long ride though, and you better hold tight as things get pretty heavy going. Besides, where’s the fun in backing out now? The album is only just getting started.
Musically this album is like the bastard cousin of Blown Out where the spaceship has been replaced by a greasy hell-rider. Nothing about it offers any respite from the crushing, ominous doom that unfolds throughout with only the brief moment of quiet solitude such as on ‘Slow Moon’ where the instruments drop right down to just the drums and a rattling bass. Even then, you know it’s the calm before the storm and you can’t help but throw a gleeful smile as the guitar takes us off into the bowels of whatever hell Vest has in store for us again. Space rock was never meant to be nice, remember also that no-one can hear you scream out there either.
Within all the intense noise, what you do have is an album which once again shows Mike Vest as being one of the prime exponents of psych in the UK (and elsewhere for that matter). Asterismal is a monster of a record which proves that heavy distorted space rock can progress from its crusty beginnings and become a force to be reckoned with. Vest understands that to really make something stand out within this field, you need to set the levels up to 11 and beyond. Why settle for half measures when you can push the limits of human listening endurance? And there’s another thing which need to be said, just one last thing…it’s a rather beautiful noise indeed.