Dura Mater - Dura Mater

Year of Release: 2004
Label: Post Replica
Catalog Number: PR-003
Format: CD
Total Time: 51:15:00

This debut by Dura Mater introduces us to a post-progressive, maximalist, rock-fusion outfit, a guitar, bass and drums power trio with a serious musical direction and a strong grasp on the past, owing to what I see as their main influences, The Mahavishnu Orchestra and the mid-seventies King Crimson. While the influences are indeed those mentioned above, it seems like the delivery of these musical ideas was done by Blue Cheer or Black Sabbath, drummer Dave Hurley reminding me a great deal of Sabbath's Bill Ward. Not coincidently perhaps, guitarist Eric Meermans sometimes uses a Tony Iommi trademark, cutting two or more solos for a section and then saying something along the lines of "screw it, I can't decide which to use, run them all at once".

The songs recorded here are tough and sinewy instrumentals with little in the way of flashy playing, even from guitarist Meermans. The music is the main focus of Dura Mater and not the egos of the individual players. Think of Kopecky's Sepantine Kaleidoscope, but not as slickly produced, and of course, not metal. The arrangements are spartan but still meaty and filling. Everything is structural, not ornamental, and no pointless diddling will be heard anywhere on this release. There is, in it's place, essential and pointed diddling. The members of the trio are all impressive instrumentalists but their focus is not on their licks, the focus is on the songs, the sonic forest and not the trees. This is not to say that this release is without good instrumental work, hell, there's nothing but that. The final track "On A High Peak Of The Genesis Planet" has some wordless vocals, some scat singing actually, some recorder work and the liner notes credit the band members with playing some brass and wind instruments which I have yet to be able to pick out, but this is the type of music that I've spent a lot of time playing and listening to others play in living rooms and back yards at a thousand parties in the seventies. This is a basic rock trio that revels in creating prickly slabs of textural sound and deceptively simple sounding counterpoint passages with a pendulum constantly swinging between dissonant, heavy rock and unresolved fusion passages. Most of the tunes are well written and artfully developed, yet they retain an improvised feel and sound a lot like the musicians were captured on disc while jamming.

This release is made up of five longish songs including one track, "Devotion," written by Mahavishnu axe man John McLaughlin. It is bookended by its strongest tracks - the opener, "Know All Forget All" and the final cut, "On A High Peak Of The Genesis Planet," which features Eric Meermans's best work and some cool spaced out echo effects.

Dura Mater is a good first effort from this band, and with their strong sound I think they will be around for a second attempt.

Know All Forget All / The Crab Is Mightier Than The Fish / What Is It? / Devotion / On A High Peak Of The Genesis Planet

Eric Meermans - guitar, brass, vocals
Dave Hurley - drums, percussion, brass, winds
Mark Schmidt - bass

Dura Mater/Canaveral split CD (2003)
Dura Mater (2004)

Genre: Other

Origin US

Added: September 19th 2004
Reviewer: Tom Karr
Artist website:
Hits: 1506
Language: english


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