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TRACK LIST: Testament: 1. Part 1 8:35 2. Part 2 10:15 3. Part 3 8:34 4. Part 4 2:27 5. Part 5 8:41 6. Part 6 7:15 7. Part 7 3:39 8. Part 8 8:32 9. Part 9 6:36 10. Part 10 8:09 All tracks: by Shub-Niggurath. LINE-UP: Jean Luc Herve - guitar Veronique Verdier - trombone Alain Ballaud - bass Edward Perraud - drums & percussion
Prolusion. "Testament" is the fourth, 'lost', album by the famous RIO band from France, Shub-Niggurath. It was recorded from 1992 to 1994, and yet, was not released up till now.
Synopsis. On "Testament", is presented the freakiest and, at the same time, most unique manifestation of RIO I have ever heard. In fact however, there is no pure RIO on this album, as well as Avant-garde Classical Music (which is certainly not the same as *just* Avant-garde). While a dark, mysterious atmosphere, unstable structures, atonalities, and a high-degree eclecticism, typical for RIO in general, are the central aspects of the music on "Testament" too, this album is richer in seemingly abstract, highly dissonant arrangements than any of the other RIO and RIO-related albums that I've heard up till now. A unique synthesis of Classic RIO (think early Henry Cow) and Avant-garde with quite a large quantity of heavy elements is the predominant stylistics of this album and is presented on precisely half of the tracks here: Parts 3, 5, 6, 7, & 10. Nothing else but something average between Metal In Opposition (yeah) and Rock In Opposition (MIO RIO!) with elements of Avant-garde is what the contents of Parts 2, 4, 8, & 9 are stylistically about. However, a few compositions on "Testament" - those with the trombone solos being at the forefront of arrangements - contain in addition elements of Jazz. Also, some guitar solos and sounds on the album resemble those of piano. Although all of the band members: guitarist, bassist, drummer, and trombonist weave their solos mostly like being laid back from each other, the deepness of all of the joint arrangements on the album became obvious to me already by the second listening to this in many ways unique piece of art. However, there is a piece, the inclusion of which in this 72-minute (65 minute, sorry) album wasn't necessary, to say the least. This is Part 1 consisting exclusively of chaotic spacey effects and sounds.
Conclusion. In any case, "Testament" is certainly the most experimental and adventurous work by the band and is indeed a masterpiece - at least overall. Highly recommended to all those in the know of what kind of beast an Avant-garde RIO is.
VM: June 10, 2003
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