Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion

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Where to begin with Spaceboy? Free-form jazz-stoner-doom-death-math-metal says it all, but at the same time, says nothing, and that may be the point these dyed-in-the-wool nutcases are trying to make. Searching the Stone Library for the Green Page of Illusion, as you'd imagine by that mouthful of a title, is free-range lunacy, sporting dirges of inexhaustible magnitude, especially the title track, "The Monsoon," and "The Melting World," which push 11-plus minutes each and splay across the entire extreme music landscape, from pseudo-jazz skronking to doom-riffing to Slayer-esque lead guitar squeals and barely controlled ambient-noise feedback. Indeed, Spaceboy is a burbling cauldron of deranged genre-mashing, an oddly contradictory outfit that somehow manages to board the rocketship Valhalla (destination: the Crab Nebula), while still keeping one foot earthbound with long, hard bong hits. Oh, and the band members know how to play their instruments, so this isn't a three-chord rumbling noise arsenal à la distant cousins High on Fire or the Sabbath-y abstract minimalism of half-brother Neurosis -- more like a less-hyper version of the Dillinger Escape Plan minus the caffeinated, trucker's-speed histrionics and adding in psychedelics, subcutaneous production values, and subway-lunatic vocal ranting. A closer look reveals the involvement of producer Billy Anderson, which sort of makes sense, considering his work with other artful-noise acts Buzz*oven, Neurosis, the Melvins, Eyehategod, and Brutal Truth. Regardless of how one attempts to pigeonhole this hallucinogenic mouthful of pills, Searching the Stone Library is a unique work from a bizarre entity, stoned and ambitious, creepy and futuristic, the songs loose and spacious -- enough to make one wonder if Spaceboy in a live setting isn't one long, semi-irrational jam -- yet at the same time, possibly sporting arrangements that may be beyond mortal rationalization. Whether this record is an epic mess or kisses the feet of the gods depends on the listener's interpretation and willingness to be carried into strange lands; either way, it's refreshing, unusual, and completely nuts, which is precisely what one should expect from the Southern Lord label.

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