Roger Oldtown: vocals, drum programming; Reg Bloor: guitar, drum programming
Although she is thanked in the liner notes, drummer Libby Fab is not a part of the present-day conformation of The Paranoid Critical Revolution, now erected on the blood-and-guts resentment conveyed by Roger Oldtown’s threateningly hollering voice (also processed) and Reg Bloor’s malevolent Les Paul edifying harmonic and melodic structures (replete with Larsen juices) around finely concatenated drum machine patterns. It took a while for this listener to get used to the new direction; I am not a death/thrash metal champion, whereas most of the music and words herein will charm those genres’ aficionados, no ifs and buts. But the blistering steam that propels the fourteen tracks is inarguable: the record has indeed few equals for use as an implied “fuck you” to the dispiriting surroundings of a train trip to work (there’s even a piece called “Daily Grind”…) and the exceptional accumulation of figurations and relative variations on Bloor’s fretboard reveals a multiplicity that an airheaded spin would disguise in the shrieking-cum-distortion aggregate. It’s not so. Oldtown pushes very hard with his throat, but never gives an idea of arrogance; after a while his growling tones become somewhat familiar, if not welcome. The concomitant walls of intermeshed fingerings are cemented by technical know-how and willingness to escape from toyland at one and the same time. Ultimately, Crimson Canvas is a tonic album that manages to obliterate any latent snub attitude, the latter impression helped by yet another humorous cover sketched by Bloor with her classic “sardonically splatter” primal style.