Some History Of The Band
There are times that something comes into my email box that isn’t actually a new album but a reissue. On the odd occasion, one comes along that is of a band that I am unaware of. On listening, I wonder how I never heard them before as they simply blow me away. That brings me to Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez by Australian outfit Troldhaugen.
Yes, the album title made me think they have gone to the same type of school as the members of Slade and/or read a lot of early Kerrang magazine which put “k”s in place of any “c”s in words no matter how silly it looked.
The band come from the wonderfully named town of Wollongong apparently from an Aboriginal word that meant “5 islands”. (Never let it be said that CGCM isn’t educational). The band themselves started as a duo and have had differing numbers through the years, on this album four members and a host of guests including the man that is Toehider Mike Mills who is one of the extra vocalists on here. Their first album Ramshackle came out in 2012 and this album which I am reviewing is their second and came out two years later. The album is being released as part of their record label Bird’s Robe Records 10th anniversary celebrations. I thank them for this aural treat!
Every Style And Many Influences
The band play music, lots of it, from every conceivable style and often in the same song. Lyrically I have no idea what is going on and to be honest it simply isn’t that important. I had it on repeat for ages and thought to myself “how do I explain this?” going through my head when I started writing. I have started and I still don’t really know. It is brilliant, fun inventive, off the wall, in fact, bat shit crazy. It is an absolute hoot to listen to.
I noted some of the styles here and they include metal (power/black/classic), folk, opera, funk, swing, pop, jazz and hip hop to name a few. Bands that came to mind listening included Faith No More, Mr Bungle, Frank Zappa, Dog Fashion Disco, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Finntroll and many others.
Welcome To The Circus
There are 13 songs that rattle past in under 40 minutes, but Christ, what a glorious near 40 minutes. Even though it sounds like it could be messy it isn’t. The whole thing is well constructed, clever in the way they no matter how silly or out there they get they always manage to lull you into a cool riff or great melody which keeps you hooked in.
I took some notes on songs and it all looks so disjointed on the page, but it is anything but whilst listening. There are moments of almost circus or vaudeville in tracks such as “Lefty’s Wild Ride” which manages to incorporate a little death metal before a manic power metal vocal section merged with music of a probably unmade cartoon programme, “Phantom Acrobats” which is a short jaunty intermission and “Clang” which is accordion music for a madhouse and the sort of music (and vocal) also made by the equally eccentric British band The Earls Of Mars (also recommended!).
More Personal Highlights
I particularly enjoy “Viva Loa Vegas” which has a riff that hinted at the Sugarhill Gang‘s 1979 hit “Rappers Delight” before heading into tribal metal ala Sepultura‘s “Roots” via some hip hop! Don’t worry it makes perfect sense when listened to. Another belter for me is “Hunting Tactics For Mythical Creatures” which has that Diablo Swing Orchestra thing going on at points with moments of operatic singing amongst the metal.
I could also mention the wonderful folk breakdown on “The Good, The Bad And The Gristle” which I found utterly joyous. Or indeed I could talk about what I think is Mexican music and vocal improv going on in “Dia Del Chupacabra” mixed with some lovely proggy rhythms and death metal riffage at appropriate moments.
Final Thoughts, The Goons Do Metal?
The vocals for me are really like another instrument, I have no idea if some of the songs have real words going on but they are still very infectious. To try and sum this aural delight up I would say this owes as much to the 1950s UK radio programme “The Goon Show” (featuring the legends that were Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Harry Secombe and early doors Michael Bentine). It was irreverent and utilised voices in a creative and humorous way as it does to any metal genre in particular.
If the 4 Goons lived now and formed a metal band I think it could very well sound a lot like this! (For comparison and for those who are wondering The Goons had one chart hit with a song entitled “Ying Tong Song” in the 70s). I honestly love this album and recommend it to those brave souls who love the absurd as much as metal.
Purchase/Pre-order Album Via Bandcamp HERE
Check out my other reviews and articles here, Tom