12 June 2016

Waheela - Treading on Weird Lines

If you have read this blog before, or you are a returning fan of Waheela, you will know that I am a fan of the band as well as know them personally.  Since their inception, I have had the pleasure of hearing some of the bravest, harshest and dramatic music that have graced these ears, both recordings and in the live setting.  I have watched them turn into something really special, with each release there was always something special and then came 'HX Pop' which changed everything; apart from helping me with a flight to Corfu, it turned out to be a Pandora's box for Waheela.  In those three track (plus a live recording from Leeds), they had changed what they were into something else. Then came 'No Funeral', which seemed to be going back to safety in a way (albeit in a given sense of the word 'safety', we are talking about an improv noise band who have made my ears ring for days); it was a good release, but not one that took what they had done before and evolved it further down the path.  I felt bad for saying that, but I did not want to lie to them either - bands deserve the truth and it was still a great release.  But since then, apart from the odd show it has been really quiet on the Waheela front; until the 11th June 2016 when they released this beast 'Treading on Weird Lines', which I was lucky enough to get a preview listening beforehand.  Now I am writing this before the album launch gig, knowing I will speak to the band, hear the show tonight and loss all hearing for the next few days.  But I want the album to be released by the band before I post this; I will explain at the end of the review, so let us see how this three track album has turned out......

Starting off the album is "Glass Wrestler" starts with droning guitars and a looping sounds, with the sounds having a space between the notes and a lot of reverb.  They are joined by the bass which is very subtle in support, as the growls start to rumble in the distance.  This is the theme for this song, the distance between the sound and the audience.  Even when the drums come into the song, it is in the background as if they are being played in a different room and you are walking into it with the rest of the band in their own separate places. Towards the end, all the separate strands come together, creating a very different and distinct sound and it creates a glorious ending.  It reminds me of "Hoffman" from HX Pop, which is a very good sign indeed.  Next is the longest song of the album, the twenty-seven minutes, thirty-two seconds gigantic "bail on Sky", it is a mammoth-esque song which takes over your life whilst it is one and is not for the weak at heart.  The time length on its own is a demand on you for starters, but so are Waheela when you see them in the flesh so it is also a natural recording for them.  The song goes through natural peaks and troughs as the song progresses, it is not all intense all the way through as that would have probably killed the band and the song.  There is beauty in the harsh landscape that they have captured on this song, with a huge amount of substance and a lot of originality.  The main thing I am getting from this song is growth, the band are still very free-form and I reckon that any performance of this will be different to the next one and this one as well; but they sound like such a tight unit on this song, they know when to let themselves go off on a wild tangent and when to slow it down to a grinding drone.  I find the time just flies past you and you are lost in your own world as this song dominates every sensory experience that you will be having at that point.  Even after a few days, I am still discovering new things about the song with each listen - the little riffs, the screams and growls of Adam Potts, Porters subtle & effective drumming style - so I am expecting to be discovering more long after this review is finished.  Ending the album is "Nada" which comes out of the fuzz of amplifier noise, but soon you are enveloped by a fantastic amount of drone, noise and feedback.  It is a very atmospheric song, there is quiet between the noise which is expertly used in the early sections of this song as you expect it to be full of feedback and noise; that comes later and my deity, fuck me it really hits the spot.  The noise is still droning, harsh and aggressive, but there is a sinister side which is verging on the gentle as well on this number; you cannot help by fall under the charms of "Nada" and its fractured beauty, it is drone nirvana.

The band have outdone themselves on this album, given new meaning to their sound and taken a brave & importance step here and I am beaming like a mad man who has discovered the secret to making gold from lead.  I know I might sound like a fanboy now, but I am loving this release in the same way I loved "HX Pop", it is just a glorious moment in noise/drone that needs to be experienced by anyone who is slightly interested in the genres.  Together with Underworld & Dälek, this has formed the bases of what I have been listening to in my own time, just for the pure joy of it.  As always it is a pleasure to hear new music from Waheela, they have set a new high water mark for themselves and I cannot wait to hear what they do next.  But this one is up in the mix for my release of 2016, it is that damn good.  The album is available now and I recommend you heading over to the Waheela Bandcamp now! What an album, what a band!

10 out of ten - This is proof that there is a God

Top track - Nada

You will be able to purchase/download Treading on Weird Lines on the Waheela Bandcamp page here

You can follow the activities of Waheela on Facebook here

Alternatively, if you are not a Facebook fan - maybe you will want to follow them on Tumblr

You can find earlier recordings by Waheela on their Soundcloud page here

You will not find Waheela on streaming sites, go straight to the sources above

You can read all of our previous reviews of Waheela here

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