Tom Hayes 24-Jul-2006 Nagah Mahdi

New French collective that revels in the art of deception. Or art of confusion. The band are as mysterious as the music they create. Without a doubt, Sebkha-Chott spent many hours with their Mike Patton and Mr. Bungle CDs tucked comfortably in their respective stereos. Secret Chiefs 3 and Estradasphere could also be called out as guideposts. These guideposts are the equivalent of finding small, out of the way places, in twisted medieval cities. So just what are we talking about here? A 48 track album, that really works as one long rollercoaster ride of sounds, styles and instrumentation. However, that is not to say itís just a random gathering of non-linear music. Actually it flows quite well, with heavy metal clearly operating as the glue that holds it all together. Imagine a bullet train racing through the cities, while slower commuter trains drop folks to their suburban homes. Chug-a-chug metal, followed by French folk, then they thrash away, off to the disco, death metal time, Middle Eastern dance pop, power metal, how about a little jazz? Nothing stays too long in one place, but rest assure as soon as the listener becomes complacent, theyíll bludgeon you with another dose of metal to keep you awake. Also Sebkha-Chott brings some of their native countryís popular sounds to the fore to add yet one more unique dimension. Only towards the end of the disc does the album start to drag a bit, as the idea factory seems to be closed up for the next session. Music like this is an adventure. Itís as progressive as it can get, yet itís not prog rock in any traditional sense. The Italians dabbled in these areas in the early 1970s, but not quite as diverse. I would argue that cohesiveness worked in the Italians favor. Too much of a good thing is a good thing, but can be destructive. Recommended for those who like to go all the way on the extra spicy salsas and blue agave tequilas, and then know when to say when. Prepare to get whiplash and line up your chiropractor. Youíre going places with this one.

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