The kaiju saga continues with the Gamma and Delta sides of The Singularity, Phase II, the sequel to one of our favorite rock albums of last year. It’s nice not to have to wait so long for a sequel, but even nicer when the sequel lives up to expectations. If anything, Phase II is even more rocking than its predecessor.
While it’s hard to get the kaiju out of our minds (as well as Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla”), the cover art contributes a space theme, suggesting two people in a pod, cryogenically frozen. You and I both know that when they get to their destination, there will be kaiju (as in the finale of Breach, though trust me, there’s not much to spoil in that B-flick). But it’s a great addition to the tone of the project. The large chords of the first “Gamma” piece are like wafting through the cosmos, dreams intact. Once again, the balance of the two performers is exquisite, as each meshes so well with the other ~ despite their Dueling Bauhaus and Slayer t-shirts (we’ll let you guess which artist champions each band). Voïvod’s Michel “Away” Langevin creeps ever closer to the foreground in this piece, biding his time like a hungry demon pterodactyl (as shown on the back cover). Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) bridges the gap between Gammas with thoughtful aplomb.
“Doom drone” is one of the album’s descriptions, and the deep, reverberant bass sends it in that direction, like the sand worms of Tremors or the krayt dragon of The Mandalorian (each better than The Breach). The lumbering pace suggests vast size and depth, but when Langevin’s drums speed and surge, it’s like the creatures have been summoned and have now, to the tribe’s dismay, surfaced. Did you really think that you could control them? You humans are so stupid! The distance traveled from the beginning to the end of “Gamma” is incredible, from pondering to pounding. Those left alive will now flip the side.
And then boom! An electronic beginning, replete with drum rolls and the sense that all hell is about to break loose. Call what’s coming a drum solo or a rampage (also a movie, and who doesn’t admire a giant flying batwolf?). For this, we left Earth? The first “Delta” track is nearly 16 minutes long, a behemoth in its own right. We do, however, agree with the recommendation to play the album as a whole, and to play it loud. This way the full scope of the wreckage can be observed. Reversing the trajectory of the prior piece, the tempo slows, not quite to sludge, but close, before making a slight recovery, moving portentously through Quach’s orchestral chords. The tempo is restored in “Delta 0000 1001,” the level of excitement raised one last time. Eight minutes now seems like nothing. The difference is the danceability, implying the end of films in which kaiju put aside their differences (i.e. Godzilla, Mothra and Rodan) to fight a common enemy, then celebrate with stomps, flaps and roars. The final flurry of drums suggests the victory of new alliances. It’s unclear where humans stand in all this (if not all buried under rubble), but that’s not important right now. Kaiju forever! Bring on Phase III! (Richard Allen)