Earlier this year, Mogwai released their 4th full-length album (not including EP's and remixes) in Rock Action, an album that confounded many with the addition of some new ideas, as well as for it's rather brief running time. If that release showed the group trying out some new things, though, this one-track, 20-minute long song (EP) finds them going back into territory that made them the talk of everyone just a couple years ago. The track, which is a reworking of a traditional Jewish hymn, is one that the group had been closing most of their live sets in the past year, so after blowing eardrums and shaking bowels they decided to finally lay it down on a recording.
Musically, the track moves along at a steady pace. There are never any real surprises, no severe dynamic changes (such as the absolutely pile-driving "Like Herrod" from Young Team), but this is still one of the loudest tracks that the group has ever done. Instead of any trickery, it's nearly exactly as the small sticker on the label states, which is "two parts beautiful serenity and one part death metal." Of course, it's really two parts beautiful serenity and two parts death metal (the track is divided into two distinct rises and subsequent meltdowns), but I'm not one to split hairs over death metal content.
I could use any number of descriptions to describe it, but I'll simply say that the track is like driving into a snowstorm. At first, some gentle flakes are coming down and everything is pretty and nice, but the further you go on, things just gradually start getting more and more dense until you finally can't see the road and instead of being pretty, you run off the road and crash. Then, the weather clears and you push the car out and once again you're mystified at how serene things have become, although your nerves are still a little on edge. Just as you think things are smooth sailing, it becomes a whiteout again and you crash, yet this time you barely have time to pull yourself from the twisted wreckage before it starts on fire and explodes into a fireball.
Now, imagine that musically. Basically the group starts from nothing and piles on guitars until you wonder whether your speakers are going to take it. There's an absolutely thick rumble that will wobble your subs and the guitars scream and scorch all over the place. The finale is an almost 8 minute blowout of guitars and noise that keeps edging things up and adding just a bit more each measure. In the end, there's nothing really surprising about the track, yet it rocks out severely. It might have felt out-of-place tagging it on the end of Rock Action, even though it would have easily fit, but then again, it might have also been the barn burning closer track that the album was lacking to push it over the edge. As it stands, this is a thunderous track, and for 6 dollars or so, it won't break the bank (but maybe your stereo if you keep the volume too loud).