Dead Neanderthals + Nick Millevoi: Dietary Restrictions

Cassette and digital download

Another vision of the jazz apocalypse by the ever-fearless Dead Neanderthals, pushing on further down the path of twitching, caustic noise established by the duo’s collaboration with London-based saxophonist Colin Webster, Prime, from last October.

Prime was a slab of unrelenting skronk fury, vomited forth in a single 40-minute cathartic blast. This latest release is another collaboration, this time with US guitarist Nick Millevoi, documenting the Berlin leg of a European tour from 2013. Described on their Bandcamp page as “Totally D.I.Y.”, the tour sounds like a recipe for total physical and mental derangement. “We booked almost all of the shows ourselves, drove 7200 kilometres in 19 days, played in 10 different countries,” they say, and the unhinged music herein pretty well sums up this frazzled road fever.

It’s typically skull-scouring stuff, Otto Kokke’s strangled sax caterwauling strafed and scraped by the wiry mess of Millevoi’s guitar, while thunder god René Aquarius rains down all manner of drum related hell. That said, the band explore a wider sonic range over the three tracks presented here than the tumult of Prime, ploughing some moody, droning depths as well as the explosive, euphoric highs that we’ve come to expect.

No Coriander is the best example of this. It’s a glowering and sullen beast, an acoustic equivalent of the gleaming obsidian surfaces of the band’s DNMF project with Machinefabrik. Millevoi’s guitar plays a dominant role in the first half of its ten-ish minutes, its desultorily struck chords and scraped strings slowly decaying into thick wails of feedback, punctuated by slow waves of cymbal hiss.

When Kokke comes in, around the halfway point, at first it seems like another layer of feedback, as if Millevoi has got some guitar loop thing going on. Soon, however, he reveals himself, blowing a single, extended note, a siren-like drone that slowly rises and falls in pitch across Millevoi’s axe rubble, before coming to a howling, sustained crescendo.

In contrast, the other two tracks are all-guns-blazing splatterfests, with bloody hunks of horn, guitar and percussion flying in all directions. There’s all sorts going on in this hubbub; wheedling, braying clusters of notes, shards of cymbal attack, and untrammelled guitar blather – all the good stuff.

Opener No Nuts starts as just a duo, with Kokke and Aquarius bucking and buffeting like an old truck careering down a rocky track. Millevoi comes crashing in after about two and half minutes in a nice piece of rock theatricals to keep things interesting, his steely string abuse adding another layered of textured noise. It seems deliberately unsynchronised at first, the trio whirling around their separate orbits before they gradually start to coalesce.

No Alcohol promises more of the same at first until, around five minutes in, Aquarius drops out, leaving a bubbling vortex of sound in his wake. It’s as if the band is being sucked down a giant plughole, Kokke and Millevoi merging together in a trippy swirl. Then things start up again and all is right with the world. The ending, this time is tumultuous, Aquarius locking into a serious Sabbath style stomp as everything gets turned up to 11 before, abruptly, cutting out. That’s your lot.

The crowd, who have previously seemed stunned into silence by the assault, with only minimal applause after the first two numbers, finally get their shit together for the end, whooping and hollering, perhaps just as much out of relief as appreciation. Never mind eh? The road to punk-noise-jazz enlightenment is a long and rocky one. But Dead Neanderthals have just taken another step along it.


Cassette copies of Dietary Restrictions have sold out, but you can get a digital version of the album from Dead Neanderthals’ Bandcamp site.

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