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Litmus: Slaughterbahn

Mantras and Mellotronics from a long lost future

Slaughterbahn, the fourth album from English band Litmus, comes in cheap-looking packaging, but there’s no doubting the richness of the music contained within.

They have nailed a sound that is at once classic (redolent of Hawkwind and psych Sabbath) yet weirdly maintains an edge of futurism and this is in no small part down to their embrace of the Mellotron. Their rarity – they are prey to all manner of electronic and atmospheric calumny and were pretty much replaced by factory-made synthesizers by the 70s – is the key to their sonic desirability.

The strident, rich, orchestral and robotic sound underlies nearly every track here, adding a touch of futurism that can be traced back as far as Utopian/Dystopian films such as Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and helps balance out some of the more traditionally written songs here.