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TAKE & TAKE: Disillusion

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I have never really been one to find a deeper meaning in the genesis of a band or their music, but after reading the opening paragraph of Eddie Trager’s descent into musical acceptance with Take & Take I think I may have to reconsider my stance a little.

The band was conceived while Trager passed through the jungles of Antioquia, Colombia and morphed into a tale of personal struggle and awakening, greed and gain, telling lies and being lied to, deep disappointment and personal loss, the rise of ego, and the inevitable fall, all licensed as “a poetic testament to the power of heavy music.”

So it is with excitement and wonder I approach this debut album Disillusion, unsure if this is a journey I want my sonic palate to get too close to…

Citing influences ranging from Ihsahn, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Opeth, Mastodon, Wilderun, and The Mars Volta, to the vibrant Jacob Collier, the Beatles, Queen, and YesDisillusion promises to be a war of attrition to some degree so let’s not waste any more time with the why’s and how’s and instead listen to the here and now.

Opener Digging breathes life in an ambient fashion with the gentle sounds of (hopefully) strings painting a bleak sonic landscape before a burst of intent speeds things up as the drums kick in with a subliminal rage that entices harsh vocals to the fore and suddenly the landscape seems far more interesting.

Stuttering guitar adds a touch of uneasiness to the track before a quieter vocal passage lulls you into a false sense of security of sorts while the guitar swirls menacingly in the foreground.

There’s quite a lot going on here already and the contrasting harsh, clean and almost hypnotic vocals work well in unison without domineering the others.

A sweeping instrumental passage carries the track through to an unnerving conclusion and I find myself feeling somewhat violated and still unsure of what has just transpired.

But I know I don’t hate it, which is a positive.

A gentle acoustic guitar twang heralds the arrival of Sticky before things toughen up a bit and the harsh – yet strangely soothing – vocals kick in. Rather than your typically aggressive harsh vocals, these are more of a meandering and tempered staple, adding menace and foreboding without threatening, if that makes sense.

It follows an almost rhythmic pace, a repetitive guitar run carrying the song through troughs and valleys, seemingly content to wander aimlessly without thought for a direct full frontal assault.

It is quite dreamy in patches, although a flurry of activity towards the back end manages to quicken the heartrate considerably. Again, this track is nothing like I expected or have heard before -which is awesome in itself – but I think my ears and senses are actually starting to accept this change.

Wonders never cease!

Get Off fires up next and is an eclectic and stumbling glorious mess that spins in another tangent completely.

It’s like Mike Patton on steroids for a bit there before pulling back into a mellower and more cohesive clean section that lasts as long as a French cold before things go pear-shaped again and we are once more transported to a musical world void of rules and constraint that go wherever the fuck it wants to.

Which it does. I’m not sure what our friend drank or ingested in those Columbian settings but whatever it was has sure impacted his overall psyche.

As things slow down again I find myself thinking the song must be winding to a close but look to the sound player and notice it isn’t even half way through its running time.

This part is similar to an intermission you would expect at a Z Grade slasher movie marathon, but without the blood. It is both creepy and alluring, with clever instrumentalization tripping haphazardly over the polished edges to create a sonic plane neither here nor there, nor anywhere in between.

Again, there’s so much going on here that it should be confusing but somehow the layers upon layers of music seem to drift in and out of their own subconsciousness enough so as to be non-intrusive. It’s a clever and delicate balancing of contrasts and sonic outbursts that would be difficult to manufacture but even more pleasurable because of it.

Lick sounds enticing and delivers on that promise with a tough as fuck bass run to start things off before guitar kicks in and starts spinning in time with a solid drum pattern.

The vocals here arrive like something out of an 80s porn flick, smooth and classy with an air of arrogance that threatens to get shit done. Kind of like a musical Ron Burgundy of sorts. Strange connection, I know, but listen for yourself and tell me I’m wrong.

This is more of a hazy rock number with passing splashes of edgier-style metal riffs that are quickly consumed by the age of flower power and love and shit, but again it’s not at an annoying level.

Things ramp up with a hastened middle section that could be the soundtrack from a Rob Zombie Captain Spalding film. Without Captain Spalding, of course, because he is no longer here to terrify the living shit out of us.

I know I am going off in tangents here which is a testament to the headspace this music is putting me into. Almost against my will. There’s a plethora of emotions, styles and personalities all fighting for supremacy here without any one of them ever trying for that knockout blow.

I’m Ritch! rumbles out of the blocks courtesy of a frenetically agitated drum sequence that gets even more out there the longer the song progresses.

The lack of vocals thus far gives an indication this is going to be an instrumental track. Either that or the singer is kicking back patiently waiting for his moment to jump into the maze of theatrics but finds himself increasingly frustrated by the lack of viable openings presented.

The guitar menaces in time with the drums, each occasionally upping the anti towards the other in an almost dare to keep pace. But thankfully neither tries, instead happy to veer off into their own sonic abyss that still somehow manages to come together and finish in sync.

Constantly threatens to break the status quo next, shuffling along courtesy of a sporadic drum roll that somehow folds back into itself to reveal a harsher underbelly of harmonic demonics and off-kilter instrumentalization. I’m not sure exactly how these guys manage to make something so out of sorts sound so right but they do and good luck to them.

Fucked if I could.

That’s when I notice this is an eight-minute epic so anything could happen from here, which it does courtesy of a piano interlude that eases into a jazz-style breakdown of cocktail drum kits and wandering bass.

It’s an interesting and once more unexpected musical segue that would likely fail in the hands of most others but moreso excels at the whims and desires of Take & Take.

Nothing seems to be off limits or taboo and it would be interesting to spend some time with the band during the writing process because believe me, this shit doesn’t happen by chance. It shouldn’t even happen with trial and effort.

The Straight Line must be an oxymoron because these guys couldn’t even throw a dart in a straight line let alone traverse it musically.

And as if to prove my point this track opens with what sounds like a haunting grand piano before submitting to the forces of metal amid a chugging and repetitive guitar riff that seemingly sets the sonic parameters from the outset.

So far this is a much more traditional song in terms of timing and structure and actually feels a touch cumbersome due to the lack of chaotic intensity. Which is more a favourable nod to the eclectic madness that preceded this song rather than a stab at this song in and of itself.

Of course, Take & Take weren’t going to let this track meander to a predictable conclusion, suddenly upping the pressure valve and spewing forth anger and contempt upon the gradually placating horizon.

Grudge starts with anything but, awash with layered and calming vocals that take on an almost submissive nature. Harmonies abound until electronics take over from out of nowhere. I might be wrong but I don’t think I have heard any electronics thus far so to throw some in this late in the picture is an interesting and impactful musical statement.

As if they needed to make any more.

The harsh vocals roll menacingly over the more subdued instrumentalization that still includes the gentle harmonious backwash of cleans in what sounds almost like a condescending retort to whatever it is that is angering the man with the gravel-stained throat.

The pace quickens slightly but noticeably as the trade-off between harmonies and anger continues with the clean and harmonious winning by a TKO in the closing stages of the tune.

That Won’t Last retains the shuffle effect explored a couple of songs back but, as the title suggests, doesn’t last long as the harsh vocals drawl once more atop a more tempered and regulated backdrop of drums and guitars that is hastened somewhat by sporadic bursts of double kicks that suggest the drummer is growing more than a little impatient.

As the guitar begins to wail I suddenly realise we haven’t been subjected to any guitar solos of substance. Which isn’t a blight on the mastery of the guitarist, that fucker can shred, but it is more of an indictment of the emphasis these guys put on playing as a unit rather than showboating.

Despite the fact the band seems to be at direct musical odds with each other on a multitude of occasions they still don’t play against each other, if that makes sense?

Well it does to me so if you can’t keep up it’s best you start paying attention.

The Choice has a more robust opening passage courtesy of a militant-style drum roll and dancing guitars that could almost be warming up for a folk-type number.


Because folk is one thing not in Take & Take’s vast musical arsenal so instead we venture back to Harlem and the dingy jazz clubs that gave birth to a style of music that will never be matched. But even that lasts only fleetingly as the band loses focus once more and goes off with the pixies into their own sonic haven that is a breeding grand for musical insanity, the likes of which needs no cure.

You Done Me Wrong brings the album to a close and ushers forth more sonic disparities as an orchestral passage of sorts stirs restlessly over the landscape before retreating at the sounds of the harsh vocals momentarily.

Finding their voice once more there’s an air of the angelic in the air briefly until the guitars find their place and quell the uprising before it gathers too much momentum.

Cleans make a welcome return and don’t seem out of place at all despite the recent run of hostilities that are now replaced vocally with an outpouring of insistent instrumentalization atop an underlying sense of calm that breaks through just enough to knock the edges off the simmering bouts of aggression.

Tapering off into nothingness riding the crest of a gradually declining wave of theatrics, Disillusion fades neatly back into the world of madness from whence it came, leaving an overriding palate of contentment amid confusion that very few bands – if any – have managed to perfect in their lifetime.

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