Not surprisingly Taurus's two-song debut, Life slipped by me in 2012. I was just getting "connected" as they say and I missed out. But with Bandcamp I can crawl my way back and check it out. Which I will be doing after hearing new release, No/Thing.
Taurus is a collaboration between Dark Castle's Stevie Floyd and Ashley Spungin (ex-Purple Rhinestone Eagle). Floyd handles guitar, vocals, organ, and ukelele. Spungin takes hold of drums, vocals, synths and samples. From that instrument list alone you should be able to guess No/Thing is going to be fucking weird. And it is.
A pair of short(er) songs by the names of "No/Thing Longing, Human Impermanence" and "Lives Long for Own" start this mind-expansive psychedelic doom album off. "No/Thing Longing"'s industrial rumble and harrowing screams shatter the barriers of closed-mindedness in the first minute to allow Floyd's atonal riffs and Spungin's simple yet effective percussion to doom all over you. Occultish chants reflect the sinister aura while tortured and bewitching screams wrack the nerves. "Lives Long for Own" continues the atonality and ups the evil quotient a notch or two. A repeated sample about escaping from our "fleshy prison" drives home the thematic element of our existence; its fragility, futility, irrelevance and insignificance. Those tracks set the stage for "Set Forth on the Path of the Infinite" and "Increase Aloneness" clocking in at 10:25 and 13:13 respectively.
"Set Forth" really displays Taurus's penchant for experimentalism and non-reliance on structure. Organs drift in and out amid tribal percussion and abstract guitars. Clean vocals and those chilling screams are eerie and terrifying all at once. It feels otherworldly and ritualistic scored by waves of psychedelia.
"Increase Aloneness" travels on the astral planes while keeping a connection to the deeper oneness. It's highly meditative stance draws the consciousness inward to journey beyond the dimension we readily experience. Layered chants surface through seas of droning ambiance putting the listener in a total state of relaxation. Around the 6:00 mark insistent percussion grounds the listener in the here and now, holding them in place until dark and chilling guitars destroy the mellow with a sense of dread that carries through into the track's noisey conclusion.
Album closer "Receed" feels the most atmospheric. Creepy organs permeate the track giving it an aura of human darkness, like the sinister blackness within the soul of humanity. The track swells and uh, recedes repeatedly, furthering Taurus's ability to keep the listener off balance. Guest vocalist Wrest's unearthly growl intensifies the portentous nature of the track and the album as a whole.
When I first listened to No/Thing I was overwhelmed by the urge to disconnect from real life and let the music become my reality. I laid on my back on the floor and spread my arms. Physical sensations fell away and all became light and colour. It moved and shifted, swelled and drifted away. Brilliant flashes were swallowed by the darkness. The unstructured, free-form feel of No/Thing lent itself perfectly to the subconscious contemplation of the themes explored on the album. We are but dust amid the cosmos. We live, we die, we transform. We were nothing, we will become nothing again.
Despite the terror and dark aura surrounding No/Thing there's a contentment that comes from giving yourself over to it, absorbing it and understanding it. It's depth is vast and multi-layered, begging to be explored.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]