Peter Van Huffel: alto saxophone; Roland Fidezius: acoustic bass & noise; Rudi Fischerlehner: drums & percussion.
Look at that “acoustic bass & noise” following the name of Mr. Fidezius: that tells a lot about what to anticipate from Howl!, debut release of Gorilla Mask. The macho snarl of the bass – whose earthy sound, I suppose, was now and again augmented by pedals – defines the blood-pumping propulsion of tracks like “Z” and “Dirty City”, two of the several intemperately grooving pieces of this concrete record. Van Huffel’s improvisational vision rides across the rippling vehemence with a combination of fervour and matter-of-factness, with the add-on of near-pastoral explorations of melody (“Fire Burning”), whereas Fischerlehner leaves no issue unattended as far as drumming is concerned, either underlining what his comrades do with conscious respectfulness or exploding into destructive bubbles of counter-rhythms and thump-and-bang punkiness when the going gets tough (“Haven’t You Learned Your Lesson Yet?”). The leader says that most of the music was intended to be developed from small cells gradually acquiring power during the live action, which is indeed the case. But the persuasiveness of the whole is also born from the musicians’ ability to keep the energy flux active even in the quietest sections, sort of between-rounds intervals in an absorbing fight against platitude. The three give some and take some, but ultimately their effort can win a suspectful audience’s trust.