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Album Reviews : Serious Beak – Ankaa

By on November 15, 2015

a3037002635_16Serious Beak were a breath of fresh air back in 2011 when they dropped the jarring explosion of odd math whatever-it-was that was their debut album Huxwhukw. It was actually something new and different which, whether the band felt it or not, meant that there were higher expectations than usual on its sequel. You can’t just go releasing another album that sounds like Huxwhukw, because it won’t have the same impact.

While Ankaa isn’t the re-imaginings of Sikh devotional songs that the Beak jokingly (but convincingly) promised in a Facebook press release, it’s still as fresh as their debut was. The foundation is still the sharp riffage and unpredictable twists of the debut, but Ankaa sounds more like a complete prog record. There’s a bit of a paradox happening here where there’s more chaos and, well more of everything really, but somehow it all sounds more coherent than the debut was. It’s calculated madness, from a clearly more mature Beak.

Oddly enough it’s also an easier listen thanks to the added psych vibe. There’s extra groove both the guitar work and drumming, and more guitar noodling in general. Think of Huxwhukw as having just an on-off switch and Ankaa as the fancier version with a fader. That might sound like a dig at the debut, but it’s not at all, they’re just two different experiences.

There’s no nice, subtle intro to get you in the mood here; opener “Proto (Menura novaehollandiae)” is a rapidfire onslaught of proggy riffs designed to grab your attention ahead of the main two beasts. At 13-minutes long “Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae)” is a superb, slow builder where the psych elements really come to the forefront. The slightly shorter but a whole lot heavier “Red (Laniocera hypopyrra)” will sound most familiar to Beak fans with their signature staccato madness and more twists and sudden turns than most full albums. And closer “Heat Death (Teratornithidae)” is a stunning, atmosphere-drenched ambient/post-whatever closer; exactly what’s needed after all the commotion.

Track titles and breaks can become pointless on instrumental prog albums when everything just blurs together as one big jam but the four pieces on Ankaa are as distinct as can be.

While the 4 year wait was tough, Serious Beak have somehow come out with something that’s, again, genuinely exciting and intriguing. Where the hell will they go next?…

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.