The Rotterdam-based trio Albatre borrows the iconic picture of Peter Paul Rubens, «The Fall of the Damned» (known also as «The Fall of the Rebel Angels»), as the cover and title of its third album and for a good reason. Rubens painted this Baroque masterpiece around 1620 and described the fall of the guilty and the falling angels during God’s final judgment. In the original painting, that only part of of is replicated on the cover art art, the fallen, naked ones are being hurled into the pits of hell by a twister grabbing up all those that have fallen.
The new incarnation of Albatre – two Portuguese, bassist Gonçalo Almeida and alto sax player Hugo Costa with German drummer Philipp Ernsting – opts for a horrific sonic grind of its own. Raw, brutal and minimalistic grind, where everything is stripped to the bone, as prophesying the sonic outlines of the coming doom of our planet, and with titles that refer to other dark paintings by Francisco Goya, Hieronymus Bosch and and Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Throughout the fifty minutes of «The Fall of the Damned» Albatre keeps chanting tough, repetitive riffs, full of dirty noises and disturbing electronic sounds. It sounds as Albatre attempts to sketch with these muscular riffs some colorful harmonic cloud formations that may offer a way out of the harsh and dark despair of the inevitable doom.
Albatre does not try to vary or alter this basic and quite primitive formula too much. The improvised parts shrink to brief statements in favor of these kind of punkish-metallic-free jazz brutal barrages. The only comfort is that these heavy riffs offer some danceable moves, especially on pieces like «Asmodea» and «Ship of Fools» and the most threatening piece of all, Torture Corpse (aka Robert Kroos) doom-metal remix of «Horned Animal». These riffs are still robotic, but if we are about to be doomed any time soon what is wrong with having a last minute psychedelic party at the gates of hell?
Hugo Costa (as, eff), Gonçalo Almeida (b, keys, elec), Philipp Ernsting (dr, elec), Nique Quentin (congas)