Andy Moor's previous album for Unsounds featured him buried deep within the real-time computer treatments of Kaffe Matthews. His raucous electric guitar improvisations are much more prominent on Thermal, where he is joined by analog synth wizz Thomas Lehn and abstract sax improviser John Butcher. This is one of Butcher's loudest sessions in a long time. Fans of his impressive extended techniques and propensity for foraying deep within his own sound may feel a bit threatened by the sheer volume and stamina displayed in some of these tracks. But it's refreshing to hear him expand his palette in both directions, and the album is one chaotic load of fun. In "Teeth," Butcher explores the very top register of his soprano sax, blowing shrieks and tongue flutters that intermingle with Moor's feedbacking axe and Lehn's unqualifiable racket -- he sounds like a dozen games of Pong suddenly taking lives of their own and attempting to converse all at the same time. "Once Gravity Strikes for Real" provides another gut-wrenching highlight. Listeners who discovered Lehn through his work in the trio Konk Pack will feel at home. One finds the same kind of raw, almost brutal approach that yields excitement and fright at the same time. Moor transcends his "ex-member of the Ex" persona to come through as an intelligent free improviser, displaying a wide range of techniques without relinquishing his appetite for electricity. If on first listen Thermal gives the impression of an all-out "let's burn the house down" meeting, subsequent listens reveal the subtle strategies and lace work underpinning it.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture