The songs on EOS, the debut longplayer from Estonia’s two-man Talbot ululate with the great howling echoes of a primeval, wounded lusus naturae, but also with the ethereal cries of something not-of-this-world. The album captures the very pitch-black essence of both light-year-eternal black-hole nothingness, but also two-hundred-leagues-deep earthen sludge.
At times vaguely reminiscent of great thud-bands-past like Fudge Tunnel (that is, if FT‘s records could be played at 16RPM), Talbot’s resiny bludgeon is tempered with a space-rock feel that almost recalls a slightly more malevolent Mogwai – in those brief moments when its not trying to club you down into the earth.
“Cayenne” is this great marrow-sucking behemoth, a seven-minute sonic horned beast that lives in deep, dark woods, probably the kind that grinds the bones of passersby to make its bread. While “Observer X” reeks of desolate lost-in-space malice, the kind of music Giger’s Alien would be fond of drippily stalking oh-so-lost prey to. But the pièce de résistance has to be “Combat Zen Speech”, a great yawning abyss of as above/so below; the song takes you on an otherworldly journey into the æether, then threatens to abandon you there.
Let me be the first to rejoice that EOS, for god’s sake, is an album – the kind of recording that desperately needs to be heard en su totalidad for it to have the intended effect, a lost art in these short-attention-span days of bands just slamming a bunch of tracks together and calling it an album, resulting in the listener just skipping to the next mp3 on shuffle. The shorter songs here act as necessary bridges between the epochal centerpiece tracks, so if you’re going to bother, you’d better be in it for the long haul.
Desperately trying to come up with something familiar to liken EOS to, I found the only simile that came close was the short film Powers of Ten. If you haven’t seen it, YouTube it sometime – it’s a film that depicts the relative scale of the Universe in factors of ten, by moving the view away from the Earth in increments of 10, first 10², then 10³, out to about the twenty-fourth power. But then the film reverses, taking the viewpoint back to the planet and into it – down to sub-micron-level. Listening to Talbot is like that – like having your body hurtled into farthest godforsaken space, and then having it violently sucked back in, smashed down into the Earth to molecular level. There is no other description I can provide that would do the album justice. EOS is vast in scope and not to be taken lightly.