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John Zorn — Salem, 1692 (Nov. 2018)

John Zorn — Salem, 1692 (Nov. 2018)
✹      The second studio CD by Zorn’s incendiary new instrumental quartet Insurrection presents a remarkable suite evoking the tragic reign of terror in the Early American settlement of the Massachusetts Bay Colony commonly known as The Salem Witch Trials. The music is both intense and hauntingly beautiful, touching upon aspects of Possession, Magic, Witchcraft, Hysteria, Tragedy and Transformation. Tighter than ever, this dynamic instrumental quartet performs brilliantly in this spellbinding followup to their eponymous first release. Featuring some of the most insane guitar fireworks ever, Salem 1692 is no less than a musical reign of terror.
Born: September 2, 1953
Location: New York
Album release: November 2018
Record Label: Tzadik
Duration:     43:52
Tracks:
01 The Devil Bid Me Serve Him
02 Spectral Evidence
03 Tituba
04 Witness to an Invisible World
05 Spell Bound
06 Malleus Malleficarum
07 Dark of the Moon
08 Under an Evil Hand
09 Sarah Good
10 I Will Not Write in Your Book Though You Do Kill Me!
Personnel:
✹  Trevor Dunn: Bass
✹  Kenny Grohowski: Drums
✹  Matt Hollenberg: Guitar
✹  Julian Lage: Guitar
Review
Posted by Tim Niland
÷    One of the darkest yet most fascinating eras of American history was the brief, incandescent burst of mass hysteria known as the Salem Witch Trials. Composer John Zorn taps an excellent quartet consisting of Trevor Dunn on bass, Kenny Grohowski on drums and Matt Hollenberg and Julian Lage on guitars to play his evocative music based on this event. “The Devil Bid Me Serve Him” opens the album with a rush of barbed wire guitar and bass and explosive percussion, the music thrives on the tension that it can build and resolve with fast paced and complex music that is intricate yet still carries the heaviness of the most powerful fusion or progressive rock. Scalding guitars meet relentless drumming which takes the performance unto overdrive, in a very exciting and passionate manner. “Tituba” was one of the first women to be accused of witchcraft, race hatred and misogyny represented by powerfully heavy riffs, and slashing drums, that evoke some of the madness of the period. Fast and very complex interplay between the four musicians take the guitars showering sparks as  they cut through the thicket of bass and drums. Blasting drums solo and in consort, erupt into a mind bending dialogue with the other musicians take the music into psychedelic overdrive. “Witness to an Invisible World” keeps the pace fast and frenetic as the music plows relentlessly forward. Scalding fast guitar over bubbling bass and overloaded drums push everything into the red, and the music will shrift into different sections with a beat of silence between each one, but the main theme of the performance remains faster, harder and it is very impressive to hear. A witch hunting manual, “Malleus Malleficarum” is led by ferocious drumming and a domineering and vicious overall attack by the musicians at their loudest and most brutal. ÷    The amps may be cranked, but there are still interesting sub~themes and riffs that are present throughout the performance that give the group energy to burn as they roar through the short but memorable track. Tracks like “Dark of the Moon” and “Spellbound” show the band creating quieter, ethereal and appropriately haunting music evoking specters and creatures from realms beyond, while, “Under and Evil Hand” is a blistering jazz~metal track that shows the harsh and often arbitrary punishment given to the accused. The band builds monstrous riffs along with slashing cymbals, with guitar that sounds like the rending of souls. A memorable line from witness deposition is the title of the final piece, “I Will Not Write in Your Book Though You Do Kill Me!” and the trio echoes the this defiant statement with crashing, deeply focused waves of sound that seem to break upon a rocky shore like a tempest, with cyclonic drumming and layer upon layer of guitar riffing. ÷      https://jazzandblues.blogspot.com/
Label: http://www.tzadik.com/
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John Zorn — Salem, 1692 (Nov. 2018)

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