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Ramleh - Valediction

Last year after a decade in the wilderness Ramleh reappeared with the vinyl 10-inch Switch Hitter. Here reduced to a duo of Gary Mundy and Anthony Di Franco they return with the murky but explosive Valediction, their first full length album in 12 years. Valediction in itself marks something of a return to their power electronics roots. Ramleh it should be remembered were part of the first wave of UK power electronics outfits, alongside progenitors Whitehouse.

Here founding member Gary Mundy together with Anthony Di Franco (ex-Skullfower guitarist/bassist, JFK, Novatron) create a blistering noise assault. Much of Valediction bustles with layers of surging noise and mangled electronics. It's ferociously dense textured noise that continually churns and swirls. Screech and skree is kept to a minimum. Only 'II' and 'V' opt for feedback squeals and even here it's carefully executed. Mundy's out of focus hollers and haranguing, which add yet another layer, remains frustratingly muffled and distant. The lyrics that appear in the booklet although disjointed are as bleak and as uncompromising as the music.

During much of the nineties Ramleh opted for a sludgey improvised rock sound and while absent from Valediction, 'III' and 'VI' takes elements of that noise rock sound into new areas. Di Franco's colossal reverbed bass chords compete with mammoth waves of lashing noise on 'III' alongside Mundy's hysterical vocal take. Even better is 'VI'. With pummelling bass throb and wailing guitar, Mundy's frantic delivery fights for prominence, making it the most audible of his vocal takes here.

Valediction represents Ramleh's first power electronics since 1984, and while it's a far more sophisticated form of power electronics than they have ever produced the best moments clearly arise when they take that noise into new forms. I eagerly await a release when they pick up their guitars again. For more information go to www.secondlayer.co.uk