Album Review: Enigma Experience – Question Mark
Somewhat fittingly, Enigma Experience are not the type of outfit interested in offering listeners an easy way in. Opening with near-11-minute epic Realitytime – an odyssey across oceans of ambience and over mountains of fuzz – fathomless debut Question Mark instead presents all comers with a challenge: hand yourself over completely for the duration or turn back the way you came. For those willing to throw themselves in headlong, it’s one hell of a trip.
A trans-Scandinavian collaboration between Swedish Truckfighters guitarist Niklas ‘Mr. Dango’ Källgren, ex-Truckfighters/Witchcraft drummer Oskar ‘Pezo’ Johansson, and Norwegian Breed/Motorfinger vocalist Maurice Adams, Enigma Experience shares much of the retro-revivalist sensibilities of those players’ other outfits, but dares to delve deeper into darker, denser territory.
Virtually a vocal doppelgänger for the late, great Chris Cornell, Adams’ contributions colour each of the eight tracks here with a sense of grit and grungy emotional authenticity, evoking classic Soundgarden before going deeper into the void. The instrumental contributions of his bandmates drag it further still, combining the playful heaviosity of Primus with the nightmare psychedelia of outfits like Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats.
Lonewolf combines funky weirdness with chest-caving weight, Mighty Mind’s widescreen vista affords us a moment of proggy, crystalline clarity, then Corruption piledrives into its sludgy eight-minute sprawl. It’s concussive, head-spinning stuff. Equilibrium manages to keep balance, rolling between some utterly gargantuan grooves. In My Secret Place buries gothic death-doom motifs beneath an avalanche of distortion. By the time 168-second interlude The Z slingshots into full-throttle closer The Zone, chances are you’ll have headbanged yourself into such a delirium you want want to get off the ride.
It’s unclear whether Enigma Experience will be sticking around longer-term but, fortunately, there’s plenty of mileage to be had in pondering this gleefully convoluted puzzle bereft of simple answers.
For fans of: Soundgarden, Truckfighters, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats
Question Mark is out now via Fuzzorama
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