Larval is an avant-jazz and experimental rock orchestra of shifting personnel that exists to incarnate the visionary music of its one-man organizing principle, Bill Brovold. This art rock fusion of relentless, climax-building guitar and percussion rhythm lines with skronking horns and mood-coloring violins is a powerful mix of traditional tone coloring and contemporary approaches of atavistic, neo-primitive beat music. Seventeen musicians are credited with contributing to the production of this recording, really an interrelated piece best conceived of as a whole. Brovold's potent creations merited the attention and praise of John Zorn previously, and 2 continues a tradition of devilish instrumental rock. The album opens up with three pieces based on a rock combo lineup bolstered by a single saxophone and violin. Growing ominous, these pieces bring you to the pivoting pair of songs, "Kristen's Death" and "Thick Atmosphere." The first is a harmonized sax solo by Johnny Evans (Howling Diablos, ex-Urbations), which is handed off to two other horn players and a didgeridoo. After this expansion of a sound not unlike Zorn's film music, you are treated to the pessimist's meditation of repeated chords in "Endless Pain of Failure." Now two violins, cello, and a trio of horns build on the rock combo for dizzying rumination of hypnotizing sounds before closing out the recording with a return to a single violin (Mary Alice of the Witches) and saxophone while adding two guitars (Beth Wilusz of the Drones and Eric Gustafson of Circle of Confusion) for "Adolescence," a loose exchange of riffs and ditties over a violin rhythm.
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AllMusic Review by Tom Schulte