“Concrete Colored Paint”
(Several Minor Promises)

While this review risks becoming white noise amid the unrelenting whirlwind of positive GeAr praise, it might behoove us to get down to the elemental nature of the mysterious California weirdos and remind ourselves what’s so great about them in the first place. The elemental nature. Because I can’t just say “GeAr = good” and move on, even though I’m tempted to do that what with the jaw agape and the drool puddling in front of me as “Concrete Colored Paint” plays on my stereo. Typing is hard in this state.

Item number 1: festering synthesizer and/or guitar work. You might think of the term “festering” and be immediately turned off, but German Army isn’t food and musical instruments don’t smell funny unless they’ve caught on fire somehow, so … get over it. No, the sound is molten, uneasy, slippery, hard to pin down when it’s bubbling like a lava flow one minute and pixilating in a hyperspace starburst the next.

Item number 2: rhythm in the bones. German Army has two settings, dub and tribal, and they use both to great effect, creating an industrialized crawl that pulses through the night and forms the backbone of their writhing tracks. While listening to “Zozobra” I realized that I have not nodded my head like that since Busta Rhymes dropped “Woo Ha!” like a million years ago. (“Zozobra” should not be confused with “Woo Ha!”)

Item number 3: dark, gripping soundscapes. Every moment is a harrowing one for German Army, doesn’t matter if it’s a film soundtrack moment like “Night Convict,” a tense nocturnal video game atmosphere like “Every Hole Dug,” or an ambient denouement like “Landowner.” Expect the tunes to be sharp and dangerous, sly creatures that penetrate your being and wriggle around inside your mind until you’re mad as Sam Neill in Event Horizon.

Did I just reference Event Horizon? Probably. All this to say, “Concrete Colored Paint” is a complete distillation of everything that makes German Army a great act, and while you’d think their intense release schedule might cause some dilution of the old creativity reservoir, you’d be wrong. “CCP” is one of the best GeAr releases in recent memory, and that’s saying something among all the quality tunage. From start to finish it sinks its long, needle-like claws in the base of your brain stem and manipulates your every function. It practically commands you to play it a second time once it ends. “Concrete Colored Paint” is just that persuasive, that compelling. It might even make you do things you don’t want to do, like build altars to weird gods and chanting all night to them in supplication.

Who said cult? They’re probably a cult. A doomsday cult, where the world ends as the result of a time disruption that winks it out of existence before it’s even formed. Too bad GeAr’s music’ll disappear with the rest of us.

German Army
Several Minor Promises

--Ryan Masteller