11 Oct 2019 - Thorsten
Psych-Prog-Post-Rock | Subsound Records | Release date: 11 Oct 2019
When in Rome do as the Vandals, an old idiom says which implies that you turn everything topsy-turvy and leave no stone untouched. Believe or not, this could also be applied to Juggernaut’s third album Neuroteque which was released recently.
The Roman foursome took quite some time to release new music after their second full-length Trama! which is already five years old. However, this becomes understandable when listening to the new record which was recorded in Rome by Valerio Fisik over the course of 2018. It is noticeable that it took such a long time because the musical landscape ranges from miniscule glockenspiel use to bass-driven harshness. This is also one of the strongholds of Juggernaut, they can build tensions and with a snip of a finger deconstruct all any upward aggression the song might have had before. The very beginning of the record sets a great example for it, the guitars build up toward a kind of brutal relief or harsh turn but then the band turns around with their version of a funky bassline and a drummer that definitely steps forward and tells his story.
Not denying the good guitar work by Andrea Carletti and Luigi Farina its fair share of the glory but this record is driven by the rhythm section of Roberto Cippitelli and Matteo D’Amicis who have found their way of telling a story without words. No matter if it’s Cippitelli’s dynamic bass or D’Amicis’ drumming and percussion parts – here we have a tight-knit union of minds alike that dominates a song without taking away room from any other instrument and without being just about themselves, the duo serves the song – not their own pride. The air they leave can then be filled by the guitars’ sprinkling touches of ambience and pearly shine.
This record needs earplugs to show how much it has taken from bands like Hidden Orchestra or Pelican, from The Cinematic Orchestra and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Sometimes a bit more elaboration and the courage to leave an even bigger pause would turn this very good album into even more of a frontrunner of the neo-instrumental wave we witnessed over the last few years. But sometimes a good measure of humility should also be rewarded. However, there is one thing that might be changed: on their Bandcamp page the band states they make “Threatening music, harmonies of disappointment” - well, there are more soothing than threatening sounds of harmony and fulfillment in this record than stated. Humble they are, proud they can be.