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Avenge Thee + Naime - "Open Carpet" (self released) 4.5/5

Experimental sludge 'n' grind outfit Avenge Thee + Naime are a funny lot, they never play on a stage - even at major festivals - preferring to set up in the middle of the crowd instead, they have two drummers and claim to '...eschew the usual heavy metal traits of machismo and raw anger, instead preaching a message of unity and optimism'. But then you notice they hail from Canterbury, home of the likes of Soft Machine, Camel, Caravan, Gong and Todd Dillingham, and the Canterbury music scene has never marched instep with the rest of the musical world.

In fact as you listen through this eight tracker you begin to notice that despite all the doomy sludge grind sensibilities the true anarchic spirit of the classic Canterbury sound still shines through. The music on offer here is gloriously left field, very trippy and strangely uplifting.

Tracks such as Maximum Purity (Buy My Water) with it's soft acoustic intro, slow doomy and discordent build up politically aware lyrics; and the almost death jazz Wound Licker with its complex riff structure and sub-Amebix drive, go to show that this is the new 'hippy' rock for post 9-11 generation. This is the sound of future free festivals, the anthems for those who say NO to the system and want to do something about it.

To say I find this album engaging, accessable and highly enjoyable is a great understatement. My personal highlight has to be The Chode with its relentless post tribal beats, angry rant vocals, primal scream backing vocals and relentless driving beat that does indeed sound something that Gong would have recorded if they had invented sludge grind back in the early 1970s'.

In short this is a great record, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to hear something a little outside the box.

For fans of... Amebix, Gong, Rolo Tomassi, Leather Nun, Somnus.....

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