The press releases say that Aqua Necromancer is Merzbow's tribute to progressive rock. If you are a prog rock fan lured to this entry by that statement, beware: you may not want to go down this extremely noisy road. Then again, if you have been nurturing some curiosity regarding the extreme art of Merzbow, this may be the point of entry you were waiting for. This album ranks among the Lord of Japanoise's most accessible releases. It is just as headache-inducing and mind-numbingly harsh and loud as his other ones, but it constantly features a beat. Rhythm tracks have been lifted from prog rock anthems by the likes of Soft Machine and PFM -- but good luck identifying them. Comparable to other beat-driven Merzbow projects like Doors Open at 8 A.M. (that one a tribute to jazz drummers) and Merzbeat, Aqua Necromancer takes you on a ride through the underside of prog. Layers of heavily treated noise guitar, synthesizer explosions, and the aforementioned rhythm tracks are assembled into five powerful pieces. Rather repetitive and linear, they resemble more the Krautrock of Faust or Can than what is generally understood as prog rock. Merzbow samples a very short motif and turns it into a mantra, short-circuiting any "progressive developments" the original might have featured. For outsiders it will be one hell of an experience (emphasis on "hell"). For Merzbow fans, this album is definitely a keeper, since it is rich, ferocious, and surprisingly entertaining. Go ahead, freak your friends out.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture