Kingbathmat – Truth Button
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 17:49:26 +0000
My audiologist is going to get really angry the next time he checks my ears. I promised him to lower the dose of music that I inject myself every day, and whenever I can’t resist temptation, would listen to it at a low volume. I’m pretty sure that after hearing “Truth Button”, by Kingbathmat, for the first time, I had suffered an overdose of volume. I died, reincarnated, resurrected, born again and got partially deaf along the way.
Truth Button is the sixth studio album by the English band Kingbathmat, formed by John Bassett, a singer and songwriter born in London. The band defines their style as independent / psychedelic / progressive / alternative rock, but I could keep adding adjectives to their music forever. With a production speed quite impressive since his first cassette in 1998 to this album, Kingbathmat has drawn a line between the common bands (clones of clones) and its unique style and amalgams of violent psycho / hard rock.
To be honest, I knew I would love this album just by seeing the cover and its name… A truth button? What is “truth”? And can it be absolute? As Bassett said “Truth is not an ideology, a rule or a principle it is empirical data drawn from observation”. But I believe that, as humans, it’s our secret longing to explore our own truth and share it with the rest of the world. Bassett explores his own notion of truth and reality throughout the album, and song by song, forces us to embark on amazing trips through his brain, to then brings us back to face our own real life. The first track, “Behind the Wall”, begins with a powerful riff that fades in the verse and turns into a dark atmosphere, disturbing and somewhat tender. This dynamics keep happening throughout the song with the fresh and emotive voice of Bassett as nucleus to finally end with the revealing melody of a music box that leaves us wanting more of its terrifying and intriguing sound. The song tells us about what we call “paranormal”, Bassett had many experiences in this regard, and as a result he strongly believes that there is something more out there, something that cannot be explained, but it exists and is aware of us. Abintra (Which means “from within” in Latin), combines a constant structure, very grunge, with slow, soft and sort of sad passages, clear and harmonized vocals and bridges perfectly blended with the rest. The entire song sounds compact, intense and persuasive.[pullquote_right]”Truth is not an ideology, a rule or a principle it is empirical data drawn from observation.” John Bassett[/pullquote_right]
“Book of Faces” is without any doubt my favourite song on the album; the beginning is just beautifully symphonic, the drum work gives the song a bouncing movement growing more and more strongly in the ears, highs and lows, riffs and interludes that reminds me the genius of Black Sabbath and it ends with a psychedelic and tasty solo. This is a kind of “anti-facebook song”, it is about well-founded suspicions that we all have, about what really represents Facebook as an enterprise and what’s behind it. I’m not going to philosophize about it because it is quite a huge topic, and I can’t be hypocrite, I love Facebook feedback. But, blessed is he who on hearing this song will be motivated to use his right to be informed, and do a research. I assure you will find some less than happy surprises.
The lyrics on “The End of Evolution” are described by Bassett himself as “a Frankenstein’s Monster, a combination of two disparate ideas” and explore what the artist feels when he tries to fit into a human society that makes him feel like an alien. “Dives and Pauper” talks about the domino effect that the actions of the richest people cause in the poor people’s lives. The lyrics flow like poems, and we see that besides killer riffs, Bassett is able to create a masterful orchestration tailored to fit with full and rock-y sound. The icing on the cake is “Coming to Terms with Mortality in the Face of insurmountable odds.” A shooting classic rock guitar opens the curtain to let Bassett’s voice floating nude in a soft and everlasting lullaby, which progressively teleports it to a musical cosmos, and finally let it lingering in a gently intense and uninhibited piano melody.
I must say that Truth Button is not an album for jerks; if you cannot open your mind enough and pay due attention, you’ll end up falling into the wrong conclusion that Truth Button is an ode to madness. Big mistake, because madness doesn’t exist, and if there is madness it definitely has a positive connotation. As the poet Heinrich Heine said, perhaps the real madness is nothing more than wisdom which tired of discovering the shame of the world and made the smart decision of going mad. Truth Button is a nice example of Bassett’s mental clarity and an irrefutable proof of his genius and great heart. An album for those lovers of the bombastic variety a la Porcupine Tree and Black Sabbath’s intensity. Delusional, raw, uncensored and unvarnished truth in its most virulent and provocative shape.
So when the doctor tells me that I’m crazy because I blew up my eardrums, I’ll say: I’m sorry doctor, but you know what? It really was worth it…