Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Entrance - 2006 - Prayer Of Death

Welcome to his nightmare. Entrance, aka Guy Blakeslee, takes an entirely different approach to follow up 2004's predominantly solo and unplugged Wandering Stranger. Although there are acoustic moments, most noticeably on the title track, the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist (he plays everything except drums and violin) creates a heavily reverbed, ominous and very spooky sound to convey his bleak, blues-noir vision. Credit conspirator Paz Lenchantin who co-produces and adds eerie violin, vocals, and bass to the already skin-crawling proceedings. Those familiar with Jeffrey Lee Pierce's work with and without the Gun Club will immediately recognize the similarity in Blakeslee's wailing vocals. Add a touch of Jack White and the overall effect is chilling. The album's title sets the mood as does the opening track "Grim Reaper Blues." Nearly every tune is flooded with lyrics of death, dying and existential loneliness, or at least music that conjures up that feeling, set against a swirling, psychedelic whirlpool of sound. Think Phil Spector meets the Cramps and you're approaching the nearly overwhelming onslaught of haunting despair and gloom. Blakeslee picks up the sitar for the murky instrumental "Requiem for Sandy Bull (R.I.P.)" but it's Lenchantin's gypsy violin from hell that drives the following "Valium Blues" into bad acid trip overdrive. Not surprisingly, "Pretty Baby" isn't as demure as its title suggests. Here Blakeslee wails "our bare feet are on the ground but while my head's in the sky your head's in the grave." That's about as cheerful as it gets on a set of songs painted in black. The closing "Never Be Afraid!" repeats its chanted lyrics "when you think about death every morning, don't you ever be afraid" against a stark, sparse tribal drum that closes with feedback, bells and gospel-ravaged voices howling as if from a sweat inducing dream. The effect is as galvanizing as it sounds. Blakeslee has created a hypnotic if relentlessly depressing concept album that gets under your skin and stays there. Hearing it alone with the lights out is sure to be a mesmerizing experience.

if you have a chance to see this band live, do so. they are amazing.