Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Payne's Gray - Kadath Decoded

We've got a doozy for you today, little ones, so take a seat and perhaps do some breathing exercises to steel yourself against this onslaught on your earholes. Short-lived German prog band Payne's Gray (tellingly named after a muddy bluish-gray pigment) seemingly only ever managed to self-release two cassettes and this album before vanishing off the face of the earth, but they certainly left a...memorable epitaph. Certainly Lovecraft's crowning epic The Dream Quest of Unknown Kadath is prime material for an overblown concept album, ripe as it is with bizarre detail, episodic travelogue anecdotes, and sprawling geography, and surely Germany is as good as any place for pretentious puffy-shirted doofuses to make such an album, but when it's all said and done, how the hell does it end up sounding like this, especially in 1995? Far beyond your typical flute-happy technical pomposity (although there is by no means a lack of flute playing at any point), Payne's Gray is a virtual bubbling fondue pot in which the myriad concepts and styles are dipped and gummed together into one heart-attack inducing cheese-coated unidentifiable blob. Cheap synths, electronic drums, baroque acoustic guitar runs, wildly off-key wailing from not one but two mustachioed singers, impenetrable syncopated rhythms seemingly created to stifle foot-tapping or head-nodding, and a baffling central theme somehow all add up to create something even larger than the sum of its parts. Oh, my kingdom for a lyric sheet! The mind whirls.

I realize there's been quite a bit of questionable prog posted here in the past few weeks, but we can't just listen to stoner rock and Swamp Dogg all the time, it makes the brain lazy. No apologies.

Busy warrior during night
Changing paws to fearsome weapon
Jumping then on moonshine heights
Where you fight the terrors threat-on.


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