Metal Rouge, Zelienople, Xela, Sam Hamilton | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Metal Rouge, Zelienople, Xela, Sam Hamilton Critic's Choice Recommended The List (Music) Soundboard

When: Thu., Aug. 12, 9 p.m. 2010
Price: $8
Through their music the Los Angeles-based improvisers in Metal Rouge both sympathize and identify with those who can't tolerate the corruption of the world. Their first release, a five-CD-R box called Ephemeroptera, was named after the order of insects that includes mayflies, whose aquatic nymphs are among the first creatures to die when water is polluted; their 2008 CD Three for Malachi Ritscher (Root Strata) meditates upon the final mission statement of local antiwar activist and music archivist Malachi Ritscher, who self-immolated in 2006 to protest the Iraq war. The dance between Andrew Scott's shimmering ribbons of E-bowed electric guitar and Helga Fassonaki's starbursts of lap steel, synthesizer, and wordless vocals often seems to take place high in the stratosphere, but Metal Rouge's latest LP, Trails (Emerald Cocoon), is a blazing return to earth. Now a trio, they surround the shuffling drums of new member Caitlin Mitchell with slow-flowing waves of reverberant strings on "The Sunshine Path / May 1971" (a memorial to Beat poet Lew Welch), which makes it feel like a lonely walk in unmapped woods. It's a relief when they finally give voice to their rage on "Ripe Century / The Sad Song (666)," letting loose with leveling blasts of feedback and explosive cymbal crashes—it sounds like Sonny Sharrock taking over the Dead C. —Bill Meyer



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