The Flying Luttenbachers – Cataclysm

4 out of 5

Label: ugEXPLODE

Produced by: Weasel Walter (mixed and mastered)

I’ll often praise certain albums for being very relistenable – either in a way where some ungraspable element of intrigue encourages multiple returns, enhancing that element, or just on a more simplistic level: album is great and catchy; listen to it again. But that doesn’t mean that an album has to be relistenable in order to be of quality, and indeed, some albums are fantastic exactly because they’re not.

The Flying Luttenbachers have, in their various Weasel Walter-led iterations, made a career of this: of being purposefully pummeling, tending toward dissonance. With spazz-fucked drums and a thumping bass and reedy, warring guitars, the Luttes also have a very particular sound, differentiating themselves from influences and peers and even the millions of other Weasel projects, vibing off of an approach that has the free-form style of improv but is so balls-out and precise that it also feels composed; it’s controlled chaos, tamped down in song form, and something about that balance is particularly Luttenbachers-y.

Cataclysm, a peak (or conclusion, maybe?) in the group’s long “narrative” about some type of world-spanning sci-fi war, is all of that energy and attitude they’ve brought to previous releases, given a fitting definitive stamp to it: it’s the most “album” album of the FL material to this point, without sacrificing one iota of their insanity. It’s also interesting inverted from the way I think most groups would compose a project like this, starting out with break-your-ears massacres and then getting to more (relatively) formal song structures by the end. Not all of this works perfectly, with the transitions points in the “story” rather breaking the flow – Insektoid Horror may be aiming for a sense of dread with its stops and starts, but it’s a momentum killer; and Movement Four of ‘L’Ascension’s solo comparatively minimalist guitar work is definitely an interesting pause, but maybe not for nine minutes – however, I do love that there is that sense of story, and it helps bring the differences in the tracks more effectively, as we move from typically awesome Luttenbacher skronk to what are close to “traditional” instrumental rock pieces – chords! riffs! – on the two-part closer Regime. Inbetween, we get some amazing interplay, but I think the standout is the climax of our narrative – From Oblivion and Interstellar War – the former climbing and climbing toward chaos, and the latter shifting into more approachable rock before finding its way to atonality.