Musical Digest: Flying Fortress and Merdarahta
Here is one of the best surprises of the end of the year, and unfortunately an excellent album that many Top lists will have overseen. Flying Fortress just released a new vinyl and digital album, Dirty Rain. Hailing from Pembroke, Ontario, Flying Fortress is a duo that includes ex-Goat Horn members Brandon Wars on bass and vocals, and Steel Rider on drums. Their music could be described as a blend of crust, punk and thrash metal, with clean vocals, and a generally harmless (or light-hearted) approach to aggressive music. Under this moniker, Flying Fortress released Cold Desires, a full length album in 2011, and a few EPs and 7″ with songs from the same punch bowl. Appropriately marking what looks like the end of this first chapter, Dirty Rain is a compilation of earlier EPs and new material. It starts with a few killer songs (apparently the latest material), before stepping into the earlier material of the band where the drum and bass duality is more evident. Despite the differences in production, there is a sense of continuity and ensemble in this compilation, thanks to Brandon Wars’ ability to write catchy chorus. While it may not end up as album of the year, it certainly has enough qualities to make you want to add the vinyl to your collection.
While we are on the topic of compilation albums, we forgot a few months ago to speak about Merdarahta’s album One. A compilation of three EPs, it appropriately reorganizes these musical creations under four general themes: Snake Charmer I-IV, Towers I-III, Fault of Air I-III, and Breathe I-II. In this first era in the entity’s promising future, Merdarahta has essentially been a noise collective revolving around multi-instrumentalist Topon Das (Fuck the Facts) and a few collaborators including Leigh Newton (The Sun Through a Telescope), whose modus operandi was to explore auditory textures rather than following musical structures. Here, the ‘experimental’ tag is very appropriate. From afar, Ottawa’s Merdarahta could remind entities such as Menace Ruine or Wolvserpent, but its extreme lack of direction, graininess, and various depths of darkness bring it closer to musical projects like Montréal’s Bête Lumineuse. If you are into atmospheric noise experimentation, or if you are looking to offer a soundtrack to the ghost in your house, One is what you need.
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