Album Review: BRUCE LAMONT Broken Limbs Excite No Pity
There are plenty of prolific musicians within the metal community who balance multiple projects simultaneously like a successful juggling circus act. But no artist has been as significantly aware of the underground scene as Bruce Lamont. The saxophonist has been a main component for such bands as Yakuza, Corrections House, and Brain Tentacles. Yet, his true act of integrity is shown in his stacking pile of contributions to up-and-coming artists.
His additions to the following artists' compositions were extremely beneficial, not only to the quality of the songs but also the exposure of the artist. Bands like Drug Honkey, Eccentric Pendulum, Illustrations, and Howling Sycamore, the list goes on. Some of these artists you may have heard of and some you may have not. However, the mere fact that Lamont was involved with these underground, less conventional bands rather than mainstream acts is a testament to his belief in and dedication to the experimental metal scene's growth.
Upon digging deeper, I noticed that Lamont released his first solo LP, Feral Songs For The Epic Decline, in 2011. The material certainly sounded less heavy than what I expected. However, it still possessed common traits of Lamont's. Take, for instance, his typical use of wall-of-sound atmospheres coated with sax riffing. On this new record, Broken Limbs Excite No Pity, Lamont explores the depths of noise, dissonance, and harsh ambiance even further. It's seven tracks cover a variety of genres that include acoustic folk, electronic, and drone metal.
"Excite No Pity" opens the album and makes it quite clear this is indeed an experimental release for many reasons. Throughout the ten-minute piece, layers of noise slowly stack up against chant-like vocals that ultimately arrive at a chaotic ending. The screaming sounds that emerge near the latter couple minutes sound very much so like the pained howls of Marv the burglar from Home Alone ran through a distortion pedal. I doubt that's the actual case. But ever since the image has popped into my head, it's hard not to visualize his comical face amongst the rest of the noise occurring on this track.
The following piece, "8-9-3," is a bit more musical than the opener as it contains occasional repeated riffs and rhythms. Yet, it is still mostly a dissonant and cacophonic track. Other pieces that remain in the utmost noisy, experimental realm include "The Crystal Effect" and some of "Neither Spare Nor Dispose."
The use of acoustic folksy guitar is possibly the most interesting aspect of this record. It shows up much more frequently than I assumed when approaching this release. The first piece with prominent acoustic guitar is "Maclean," which loops a calm, New Age-esque riff along with electronics and dreary vocals for a pretty melancholic, yet dreamy song. Alike the previous tracks, the song evolves slowly and concludes with recurrent chanting. When I first heard "Goodbye Electric Sunday," I was almost certain it was a Mark Lanegan collaboration considering the very low, deep vocals and odd electronic beats. The closing piece, "Moonlight and the Sea" continues such a depressive, gothic vibe through gloomy chord progressions and haunting vocals.
For me, I truly believe that Bruce Lamont's contribution to the experimental scene has been huge. Whenever I see his name as a featured guest on a band's album, it resembles a stamp of approval in quality. On the other hand, I haven't found his solo work to be as equally moving. While I respect Lamont's desire and efforts towards exploring acoustic guitar and atmospheric music, I was expecting more saxophone-driven compositions with some metallic elements as well.
Nonetheless, I think that Broken Limbs Excite No Pity is a strong showcase of his understanding of dynamics and musical duality. "Goodbye Electric Sunday" and "Neither Spare Nor Dispose" are examples of when Lamont's softer, folksier side meshed with his experimental noisy side. Meanwhile, the other pieces on this album remained on the far sides of his musical spectrum to an extent. Certainly, this record won't be for everyone. Still, for those interested in something more left field, I'd say this LP has quality moments worth looking into.