Waheela – Treading On Weird Lines (Self-Released)
It would be a near-impossible task to bottle the searing intensity and primal spirit of a Waheela gig and commit it to record. Semi-improvised, the Newcastle act’s live sets turn into tumultuous sound storms, building, breaking and lulling.
Yet while Waheela are no doubt best experienced in a dimly lit basement, with vocalist Adam Potts tearing the air asunder and drummer James Porter’s groove driving the band’s noisescapes, their recorded output has nevertheless been intriguing, with the quintet happy to explore their own outer limits.
Treading on Weird Lines is no exception. In fact, the album more than lives up to its name – on the whole, it has a mellower vibe than what we’re used to, embracing new ideas with gusto – yet it’s unmistakably Waheela.
Opener Glass Wrestler slowly drifts into your consciousness, with guitars akin to wind chimes, their notes carried by a gentle breeze. And despite Porter’s skipping rhythms being brought into the mix, and Potts’ screams filtering through, it fades back into the void without the expected climax.
The near-half hour excursion of Bail on Sky is closest to their live work, climbing menacingly before its soaring guitars reach fever pitch and Potts starts to shreds his throat – dramatic, colossally heavy, hypnotic, it’s the album’s centrepiece. And while you might think the track may have reached calmer waters halfway through, there’s another tempest over the horizon, and its riffs burn into you one again.
Closer Nada, though, is an exciting new frontier for Waheela, peppered with loose jazz fills and built around an eerie guitar line that sounds like the cry of an extra-terrestrial leviathan. It’s closer to drone than anything the band have previously produced; it’s also incredible.
As with all Waheela’s material, Treading on Weird Lines is not an instant hit. But give it time, and it will absorb your very essence.
RUSHONROCK RATED: 9/10 Call Of The Weird