Shub-Niggurath

Shub-Niggurath

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AllMusic Review by

Shub-Niggurath's ultimate album was supposed to be called Testament at some point, but it came out without a title printed, only the name of the group in gray letters over a black background, the letters reversed on the back tray. The ten tracks are untitled and were recorded between 1992 and 1994 (after the last album released in the group's lifetime) with a lineup consisting of bassist Alain Ballaud, guitarist Jean Luc Hervé, and drummer Edward Perraud. Trombonist Véronique Verdier is credited on the same level as the other three musicians, but makes her presence known only on track three. The music follows a dark, frightening vein akin to the previous albums, while pushing experimentation much further. In fact, these pieces have all the trademarks of free improvisations and sound much closer to Étage 34, the No-Neck Blues Band, or even Sonic Youth (when that band improvises) than the prog rock groups Shub-Niggurath is usually compared to. Followers of Perraud's work in free improv circles will immediately connect with this album, whereas old fans of the group, especially those who consider the occasional operatic vocals and horns as its best features, may find it too difficult and abstract. That said, the music delivers a lot of excitement, especially tracks two and six, where Hervé struggles with feedback and sounds like a madman. Someone is screaming on the sixth track too. Each piece takes a life of its own, a monstrous life. If performing an incantation to summon one of H.P. Lovecraft's demons (Shub-Niggurath is one of the ancient gods in his invented mythology) requires a soundtrack, this is definitely it: chaotic, somber, and spellbinding. But a few weaker pieces could have been cut to reduce the album to a more intense 50 minutes.

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