If Hell has its own easy-listening lounge, it might sound a little like this bracingly extreme pan-generational collaboration. Having courted each other for almost a decade, the creative chemistry between 71-year-old cult avant-crooner Walker and LA’s premiere drone-metal noise terrorists works surprisingly well.
Soused features five substantial pieces, most around nine minutes long. Walker deploys his now-standard method of trilling cryptic, disjointed, lengthy screeds of text while Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson provide a Wagnerian backdrop of mountainous doom chords, electro-mechanical convulsions and 50 shades of exhilarating sonic torture.
Soused bears only a distant resemblance to Walker’s last release, Bish Bosch from 2012, notably in the vaguely menacing swing-jazz rhythms and blade-sharpening effects that open Fetish. Couched in tolling bells and sinister alien drones, Herod 2014 hums and clangs like a haunted spaceship while Walker twists familiar lines from The Sound Of Music. Finally, Lullaby seems to offer a more restrained kind of gloom before being swallowed by its apocalyptic horror-movie chorus.
Dense and demanding, Soused will not be topping the album charts. But it is the kind of obliteratingly intense, glamorously weird avant-metal epic that Lou Reed and Metallica never made.