“Transmissions from Boshqa”

Life always seems to find a way. To wit, just recently a baby dinosaur’s tail was discovered preserved in amber, suggesting that our dreams of a world where life can be reignited from mere DNA, just like in Jurassic Park, is a reality is just a centrifuge spin or two away. Dreams, life, the desires of a “Kumbaya” existence where arms are draped around shoulders in solidarity is a real goal. Live and let live. Gaze in awe and wonder at creation. Contribute to it. Reach out to your fellow humans, especially those in need. Push forward the agendas where sustaining life is objective. Just try, for goodness’ sake!

(Poor baby dinosaur, though! I love him. SO MUCH.)

Then there’s Ak’chamel, bloodthirsty god, formerly giver of illness. Death and destruction rises in its wake. Ak’chamel’s psych-folk Texas cult (sure, because it’s so much more than a band!) returns with another batch of defiled wreckage, way freakier than anything David Eugene Edwards could have conjured, and almost certainly recorded with a live baboon in the room, because what out-there desert cult doesn’t employ a baboon in some capacity? (You can’t hear any animal noises on the tape, unfortunately – it’s a very well-behaved baboon.) Each arcane hymn on Transmissions from Boshqa drips with the type of dread that only emanates from minor obscure deities, those hell-bent on complete destruction and subjugation as their chosen form of conquest. Think Angelo Badalamenti in the desert at points, kicking up dust, or Ennio Morricone strapped to a beat-up chair in a basement torture chamber and forced to make a constant stream of music to appease his captors. I really hope Ak’chamel the band hasn’t actually done this, otherwise it would look like I’m complicit or something. (Ennio, I’m coming for you!)

If life always seems to find a way, Ak’chamel always finds a way to snuff it out. There’s no hope, no “Kumbaya,” no release. It’s all tense manipulation, kind of like southern Baptist revivals, but less cloying. Still, I bet you get to handle snakes at Ak’chamel gatherings. I imagine that immunity to venom is a prerequisite for initiation. Maybe, if we’re all really good boys and girls and we get very, very lucky, we’ll even be able to handle dinosaurs someday. Who knows – Ak’chamel will probably spill most of our blood before we get a chance to find out.

--Ryan Masteller