Broughton’s Rules make music that’s terrifyingly elemental. After listening to the wordless, guitar shredding epics of their heralded 2010 debut album Bounty Hunter 1863
, it’s hard not to feel like your personal world is collapsing in on itself like a black hole. The 13 track album plays like a soundtrack for W.B. Yeats’ Second Coming, leaving listeners with only one conclusion: the universe is tearing itself apart and we are not long for this world. Granted, those previous couple sentences make listening to Broughton’s Rules out to be something like a pretty daunting endeavor. Make no mistake, this stuff is intense post-rock, a genre that prides itself on being nigh impenetrable in terms of human empathy, but while Broughton’s Rules do try to level forests with their guitar work and melodies, they consistently unleash one doomy, hypnotic groove after another. It’s easy to get lost in the band’s world while listening to an album like Bounty Hunter,
and for a group formed from the ashes of a trio of legendary Pittsburgh bands Blunderbuss, Don Caballero and Creta Bourzia, that usually means it’s hard to find your way out.
Four years on, and the quartet has finally released their sophomore album Anechoic Horizon
on Relapse Records. It’s a record that builds and expands on the framework established by Bounty Hunter
, allowing the group to sketch out even wider stretching compositions of wiry guitar figures and pummeling percussion work that seem to grow in mass with each repeated listen.
From the opening moments of track one “Reversers,” a song which features a heroically galloping drum beat and vaguely Ennio Morricone-esque guitar textures, Anechoic Horizon
sounds and feels like a phalanx of post-apocalyptic marauders firing across the desert in armored vehicles at dusk. As the album barrels forward, there are changes in terrain and tempo, especially the impressionistically beautiful and explosive title track and the lurching madness of “The Fields of None,” but the impending atmosphere of menace never seems to dissipate. There are occasions when the thick, sludgy gloom almost
slips into cartoon self-parody, as if the record was the best Heavy Metal
soundtrack that never happened. Thankfully those moments are brief and fleeting, and doesn't really take away from the immense craftsmanship and intensity of a band working at the height of their powers. If you’re prepared for an unrelentingly serious and mountainous record, Anechoic Horizon
will leave you disoriented and satisfied in its wake. The Anechoic Horizon
album release show details are available over at Brillobox's
website. (4104 Penn Avenue, Bloomfield, Brillobox)