Stinking Lizaveta
"Sacrifice and Bliss"

(At A Loss Recordings 2009)Stinking Lizaveta - Sacrifice and Bliss

Stinking Lizaveta's sound is a real bitch to try to explain to someone who has never heard the band before. Seriously, trying to paint a picture of their music is just an unbelievable pain in the ass. This is by no means a bad thing. It's refreshing to hear albums that can't be summed up in two minuscule sentences (ex: It is thrash. It is good.). So while the road to understanding the Philadelphian's latest, "Sacrifice and Bliss," has more wild twists than a Japanese horror movie, there are some signposts to help you find your way.

First off, Stinking Lizaveta is a three-piece rock outfit with no vocals, a free flowing approach to song craft, and an upright electric bass wielder in Alexi Papadopoulos. From there descriptions get a bit trickier. There are flare-ups of out-and-out noise rock and little pieces of metal. There are doomy passages and burning fits of heaviness. There are drizzlings of jazz and huge gooey piles of psychedelic rock. And everything hangs in a thick haze of prog. The compositions wander and flow when they need to, and snap back to attention before getting a chance to stray too far from the path. The songs themselves range from the hard-driving rhythms of opener "Autochthony! Autochthony!" to the somber musical rainfall of "When I Love You" to "Superluxation"'s guitar-guided space journey. The record's MVP is guitarist Yanni Papadopoulos, who besides having the best name in rock, runs wild all over the album with jammy, head-spinning leads and solos.

For a decade and a half, Stinking Lizaveta has dutifully gone about the business of producing engrossing and challenging rock, and "Sacrifice and Bliss" is no exception. If, after reading this, you still have no idea what they sound like, this reviewer will take no offense. The "fault," if you can call it that, lies with Stinking Liz for creating such an interesting bricolage of styles. Come to think of it, there is a way to describe their music in one word: awesome.

A-

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