Fuzznaut – Apophenia

Fuzznaut – Apophenia
Release Date: 04/11/22
Running Time: 27:59 
Review by Dark Juan

Greetings, my dear ones. I am Dark Juan and I am now officially off work for a week having done six 48 hour shifts in ten days. I am somewhat fatigued, but do I let that stop me regaling you with Very Good Things from the world of Heavy Metal? No, I do not! There is nothing (including a three-week bout of the Rona) that will prevent me from sharing my sage and salient wisdom with you all about the wonders of Metal in all its forms. Even Trap Metal. Yes. I said it. Whatcha gonna do about it, fam?

It doesn’t help that I have not had a drink for three weeks either. I have become testy and irritable and any form of amusement whatsoever has me bent over, hacking like an old sailor with a forty a day Woodbine habit. That’s because I am still shaking off COVID-19. Mrs Dark Juan would say that’s normal. But I will state for the record that it is only when I am faced with actual physical labour does this happen, for I am an artist, rather than a grafter and there’s nothing more disastrous than tasking me with DIY because it (or I) will end up in pieces, unable to be rescued, and leaking profusely, on the floor. I wonder how the kitchen I installed in my erstwhile French home is holding up. And the stud wall in the lounge. Everything probably collapsed as soon as I stopped paying attention. Still, that’s a them problem for the new owners.

Today’s platter of Metal goodness is brought to you by Pittsburgh based guitarist Emilio Rizzo and represents the internal headspace of said august composer, and is entitled “Apophenia”. If you do not know what apophenia is, then go and consult a dictionary, you uneducated peasant. Or, alternatively, read on, for I shall define it for you: it is the tendency to perceive meaningful connections between unrelated things. Like claiming contrails are chemical control of the populace when they are really just the result of cold air hitting hot metal. There’s some morons out there who think that governments can affect whole populations with a couple of aircraft because they are credulous and thick. Which is a dangerous combination – witness the majority of British voters. When they can be arsed voting, anyway. Proportional Representation now!

Anyhoo, this most unusual (dare I say abstruse? Fuck it, I am) of records opens with the title track and is not what you might expect from the name of the project. You would be expecting, no doubt, meaty yet furry slabs of ultradoom, fronted by a man whose throat has been destroyed by decades of bourbon and Marlboro Reds. Instead you get six tunes which are a guitar and nothing else. No bass, no percussion, no chain smoking simian bellowing words at the listener. Instead, you get a thoughtful and intelligent stab at Doom that places as much importance on melody as it does worshipping at the Mighty Altar Of The Riff. Rizzo has to be a good guitar player to keep the interest of the listener because he has nothing to hide behind, no other band members to distract the punter from his work. A simple yet tremendously fuzzy riff opens ‘Apophenia’ and Rizzo plays with tones and timbre as a way to keep a kind of heavily stoned focus on the whole shebang. Simple guitar lines slither, slink and crawl their way around a kind of fog-covered, purple and blue landscape where there’s no natural light and only bioluminescent creatures enable the Fuzznaut to pick a path through the (possibly dangerous) flora and fauna.

‘Parasitic Oscillator’ brings back memories of running a Boss HM-2 pedal through a shitty ten-watt Starfire practice amp at frankly astonishing (to my parents when I was a mere Zelator in the One True Faith) volumes and playing the kind of experimental riffs you play when you’re exploring your guitar when you have just started out on the instrument. It has a kind of strangely innocent quality that switches into predatory prowling when the fuzz pedal is stomped on and wanders through strangely foreshortened musical hinterlands where the edge of the universe is clearly visible, yet curiously unreachable, no matter how far you travel. ‘What You Seek, Seeks You’, as well as being a candidate for best song title of all time switches up the mogadon slow groove of the first two songs for something slightly more…. Active, being rather more jangly although this soon gives way to meaty riffage, and the odd slowly wailing solo. 

It is indeed an esoteric listening experience, this album. Having just a guitar and nothing really else lends a surreal, almost haunting ambience to the record. It is actually pretty fucking hypnotic, as there is just relaxed fuzz, a languid, syrupy slowness that curls around the listener and grips to a point just before you start to panic – that last half-inch between comfort and fear. Emilio Rizzo, and by extension, you, the listener, have nowhere to hide and that’s a fucking uncomfortable feeling, whoever you are. ‘5184’ starts off with a small repeating lick that could be from a Tool song before that lick is interspersed with chonky chugging and Sabbath-conjuring riffing and the switching between both analogous to black and white.

In short, Fuzznaut creates atmospheric heaviness that is as disturbing as it is enjoyable, as intense as it is shimmering. Textures change and metamorphose beneath the fingers and sensation builds up to shredding, razorwire levels. A kind of malevolent resonance, if you will…

The obvious demerit to this record (which really isn’t one as this music is very idiosyncratic as it is deeply personal to the player) is the lack of a whole band, and therefore the album can prove to be a very challenging listen when you are not an experienced Doomster or music fan in general. Or simply when you’re not in the mood. It is however, extremely unique in sound and execution and to this grizzled old bastard it’s wonderful. If you are an intrepid consumer of music, you’ll find much to enjoy on “Apophenia”. If you aren’t, you will wonder what the fuck is going on.

Apocalyptic vibes for uncertain times.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System awards Fuzznaut 8/10 for a recording that has many merits, but has had two marks deducted for the extremely limited audience it will enjoy, and the fact that it might prove a bit too out there even for the Doom crowd.

01. Apophenia
02. Parasitic Oscillation
03. What You Seek, Seeks You
04. Hawks Over Fifth
05. 5184
06. Seconds Between A Swing And A Hit

Emilio Rizzo – Guitar


Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Dark Juan and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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