The Strad Issue: January 2010
Musicians: Judgement Day: Anton Patzner (violin) Lewis Patzner (cello) John Bush (drums)
Composer: Various

Don’t be beguiled by the artsy cardboard-picture-book CD case: there’s nothing wholemeal here. This is thrashy, high-voltage ‘string metal’, music feasting on E-numbers and electricity with a result that should carry a health warning for the unsuspecting.

‘There are no guitars on this record’, proclaim the CD credits with understated pride; and they’re not missed, with the strings wired up to the hilt and heavily produced. Despite this, the quick bow- and finger-work, where it happens, has clarity, as in the folk reel-like virtuosity of Klagenstuck. More generally, the whirling, irregular rhythms of the melodic invective and snarling cello lines of Cobra Strike and Barrage help to keep drabness at bay – some of the time, at least.

The problem is that the bark sometimes outweighs the bite, especially once the initial impact wears off. Despite showing a creative acoustic sound palette in the more reflective interludes – a welcome breather – the cut-and-thrust has a short shelf-life without a visual or lyrical dimension; and the improvisatory sections that apparently re-catalysed the creation of the album don’t stray from the beaten track.

This album is more than just a quick sugar hit, but it might not offer much long-term sustenance.

Chris Elcombe