Sydney, Australia’s instrumental metal four-piece Serious Beak is preparing for its upcoming release, Ankaa, the follow-up to 2011’s Huxwhukw. This effort is comprised of four tracks which together clock in at well over half an hour, and are masterfully composed experimental metal and extreme progressive noise songs, with mathy and psychedelic elements embedded in the core sound.
Ankaa is a musically intelligent and artistically inspired collection of songs. Each composition moves through stages of sound structuring, every note, every chord, every beat a sonic catalyst that affects the musical makeup of the song and pushes it in new and interesting directions. There is certainly a lot going on here: one moment is a violent musical maelstrom, and the next it moves expertly into a brief technical realm of tight, busy drumming and wild, dexterous note work; one moment it is atmospheric and expansive, and the next compact, yet intricate, like the components of a machine that is just as much a work of art as it is an efficient apparatus.
The entire album has an ornithological theme. The band name, Serious Beak, is obviously where it begins, but even the release’s title is consistent with this theme (Ankaa being the brightest star in the constellation Phoenix, named thus after the mythological bird which dies and is reborn from the ashes). The song names take it to a different level altogether, each of them dealing with a different kind of bird.
“Proto (Menura novaehollandiae),” the opening track and shortest song on the record, is the Superb Lyrebird (a medium-sized songbird from southeastern Australia), whose presence seems to simply be about showing off its glorious plumage and singing its song. “Main Sequence (Dacelo novaeguineae),” the second track and longest song on the album at thirteen minutes, is the Laughing Kookaburra (a carnivorous bird in the kingfisher family and native to eastern Australia), which, with its territorial familial community, sounds its laugh-like call and hunts the woodlands. “Red (Laniocera hypopyrra),” the third track and second longest song, is based on the Cinereous Mourner (a species of neotropical bird of the Tityridae family), both dark like the lugubrious grays and blacks of the adult and wild, fiery orange of its nestlings. “Heat Death (Teratornithidae),” is fittingly associated with Teratorns (an extinct group of very large primitive birds of prey that once lived in North and South America), soars majestically, yet menacing on its huge, black wings.
While Ankaa by Serious Beak is scheduled to officially take flight until November 3rd, 2015, it is available now for pre-order from Art As Catharsis Records and Bird’s Robe Records in your choice of format.