Band: Stinking Lizaveta
Album Title: Journey to the Underworld
Record Label: Translation Lost Records
Release: Out Now
Review by Alexander Flower
You’d be forgiven to think Stinking Lizaveta some sort of quirky alternative/punk band upon hearing opener Witches and Pigs. It starts off as such, but after teleporting through a spiral with a wah-wah tearing around you, you’ll come out the other side with an infectious and possibly infected riff stuck in your head. How did it get here? It’s like Primus, Frank Zappa and punk rock are the witches that couldn’t satiate their curiosity enough. They cackled before my unsuspecting ears; the more concoctions they threw in as the album continued, the darker the world seemed. The riffs became metal/jazz and operatic, yet still diabolical. I saw a silhouette by the end, and as they launched Chorus of Shades, I swore the leads sounded like Brian May from another dimension. “That’s it”, I thought, “It’s like May joined a weird metal outfit.” Just faster, heavy metal and badass.
As soon as the idea is grounded comes the hammer to fall – Yanni Papadopoulos is a man of substance. Cheshire Agusta washes the end of the musical thought with cymbals before the band begins with a stranger, sinister story to tell. Sweeping licks are everywhere on this gem – a hook of harmonised, minor sweeps – but the rhythm section shines. From hard hitting rock (almost circus like) to harder hitting doom in the hook, Alexi Papadopoulos is a demon in a jazz cat’s skin; ticking off the list on an upright electric bass for heavy metal and jazz technicality throughout the album. Chorus of Shades reveals how chaotic this band is, rising in crescendo of static and feedback, screeching over one another in and out of unison like souls of the damned pigs escaping from whence they came (the opener.) Or maybe it’s just me.
Stinking Lizaveta’s album Journey to the Underworld drags your soul down a deserted alleyway in the dead of night before plunging down a sewer. With a Sharp Stick in the Eye, you face a funky-cum-evil hook, shaky tremolo cries, jazz melodies, and operatic death riffs ripping at the skin. Six Fangs awaits you up ahead, portending burning doom. After a trickster’s dance through hooks and waves, Yanni speaks in tongues over a compelling rhythm before a frantic hardcore-style blast. The sewer grate opens…Plummeting into Blood, Milk and Honey, the final fanfare morphs into a horrifying, desolate welcoming, then all is calm. In these last moments, the album transcends the purposely established body of work into a lamenting blues – slowly losing breath of the raging insanity from one who’s dying. Ergo, a flamenco gypsy jazz/classical alike Mahavishnu Orchestra ends the journey like a dirge.
Stinking Lizaveta appears a genius effort, isolating the cruxes of their influences with theory – rock, punk, metal, doom, jazz – and creating a calculated new sound. Or they struck gold from the garage.