Like a swamp metal version of the Ramones, Montreal’s The Great Sabatini deploy a barrage of low end, punk infused riffage across MATTERHORN, the band’s sophomore full length release. But much more than simplified 4:4 beats and peppy verses, MATTERHON blends obtuse heaviness with volatile time signatures and moments of uneasy sedation. And while you’re not really sure where The Great Sabatini is going to take you with the next tune, MATTERHORN will intrigue you to stick with it and find out.
Whereas “City Limits” is a pretty straightforward rumbler with a massive dirge of an outro, “Zakios” approaches with a more pseudo math metal trudge and opens the “Hidden Door,” a sullen instrumental segway that features the echoes of a distant horn section amidst a melodious guitar/piano accompaniment. While each of these three tracks are distinctly unique from each other, they complement each other in bizarre cosmic fashion. “Wagons” was my favorite track of the bunch, with its mandolin and kick drum introduction, but it’s the 10 minute closer “Sad Parade of Yesterdays” (also the title of the band’s 2009 LP) that’s really the summation of the band’s mission statement. The first half of the track is a wash of soft, jazzy tones and aggressive percussion that slips unnoticeably into a dark, grinding assault. Towards the end of the track, these two roads converge again and see MATTERHORN to its conclusion.
The Great Sabatini isn’t going to be a band for everybody; they’re hard to pigeonhole, they don’t follow any kind of tangible musical guidelines, and these kinds of scenarios tend to lead into heady discussions about “what is art?” But that’s the appeal of MATTERHORN; it is what it is, with no explanation and no apologies – just sit back and enjoy the ride. MATTERHORN is currently streaming in its entirety on The Great Sabatini’s Bandcamp site (also available for purchase).
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