7 July 2015

Waheela - No Funeral

Nice to be back in the saddle and how else to get back into blog than a one track album/release by North East noise troupe Waheela.  After the cassette/download release of 'HX Pop' (cleverly linked here), the boys have gone back to basics with the latest release which was launched at the last edition of GNAW from last 2014 called "No Funeral".  To some people, going for another jam release might seem like a step back; to me it makes perfect sense.  If you create something that is as beautiful as 'HX Pop', then you, then sometimes it is good to make an instant release that shakes out the cobwebs.  Before I start to look into this track/release, I would like to say that I am being as open as ever with Waheela.  It is never the first listen that makes their releases work with me.  It always takes a few listens before the picture comes into focus - I am really not expecting anything different here. I would also like to apologise for the long delay about adding this review, no excuses apart from distraction.  Now it is time to see if this breaks new ground, treads familiar territory or just goes in a different direction.

As this is a one-jam track, it is obviously not going to be a long review; but the track itself is a twenty six minute plus number that starts off with a gentle hum of amplifiers being switched on but nothing being played through them.  It is an eerie beginning and after twenty seconds or so the feedback starts to build and Porter lets out a few cymbals and a drum roll before the band descend into hell with the type of feedback and drone that we have come to expect from the Waheela lads.  With wave upon wave of sludge coming over the listener, Adam Potts unleashes that familiar shrieks sounding like a banshee in the night signalling that the end is coming forth and that hope has to be left at the door.  After six minutes the speed starts to pick up and guitarist Mike Potts and Chris Codling start to let the riffs fly and bass player Andrew Gladstone-Heighton keeps everything together with Porter smashing the rhythm as it goes along.  The track dips down a tad, but it feels like the breath took before plunging; which it turns out to be as the band speeds up once more; biting, screaming and battling their way along to wherever the mood might take them; but for every piece of speed that comes you know that during a twenty minute jam there has to be little points where the band has to lets the speed drop (sadly it does not do that for Porter, how this man in not just one huge muscle is beyond me).  There is nature lulls in the fire, but these are not any less intensity, they are just needed for the band to get ready for the next assault which always comes in a form that you least expect it.  The ending of the track might be said to start around the twenty one minute mark when the feedback and the beast starts to feel as if the last piece of venom has been unleashed; but this is the piece that sounds the most fierce for the song. As the track ebbs away towards its natural end, we have Adam Potts giving curses to the four winds and all that will hear.  The endings itself with echoes and the vocals sounding further away is perhaps the most interesting part of the song itself - it feels akin to the second part of 'HX Pop' called "Hoffman" which shows a different side once more for this band.

Now, here is the rub with this release; I like it, I like everything that band has done and then some more.  But it is the first track which has just felt like it is keeping things in a normal holding pattern (as normal as you can get with this type of music), it feels as if they have gone to a base point after 'HX Pop' which is still one of the bravest releases I have heard.  You cannot deny that what the band do, they do incredibly well and having watched them many times they have never failed to impress to me (or the rest of the audience for that matter). It is just that they have reached a point which all bands do and one which they hint towards at the end of the track - evolution.  Evolution is the biggest strength of Waheela and one which means that after their brave move last time it has changed the game for them, this release is still of a high quality and you can listen to it with most of their other work on the Soundcloud link below.  But sadly it is the first not to trump their last work - it is still great though and I am still feeling guilty for the delay in the review.

9 out of ten - Almost perfect, almost.....

You can listen to and download 'No Funeral' from Soundcloud here

You can also follow Waheela's activities on Facebook here

Here is a link for people who prefer to use Tumblr

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