Artist: Seven that Spells
Title: The Men from Dystopia
Label: Beta-lactam Ring Records
Format: CD
Catalog #: mt207
Condition: new
Price: $20.00

Tracklist Samples
1 I
2 II
4 IV
5 V


First edition of 500 in book cover. Simply amazing Croatian psych with special assistance from Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple, ...) If the metallic mettle of these men represents Dystopia, then forget Utopia, I wanna bang on Dystopia’s drum all day! The sweet ‘n’ sour smell of Kraut explodes in carefully paced salvos, and then goes completely off the rails. And then gets crazier. And crazier. And crazier. And crazier. Until it reaches an insane, almost unbearably heavy sonic crescendo, and then gets even crazier. And crazier. And crazier. A thick, unending firestorm of napalm psychedelia PUMMELS while its orbit decays into the swirling sounds of slowly going mad. An audio illustration of a mescaline trip that gets too close too enlightenment. Amon Duul II times ten to the fifth of Beethoven! A truly massive attack!

There's always a sense of a celebratory spot of bunting hanging in our gaff when a Beta Lactam Ring package rears into view on our door mat, trouble is we have so much fun soaking ourselves in the eclectic and often - it should be said - disturbing sounds of their catalogue that we almost forget to write up the reviews. There you go a moment of honesty never did anyone any harm until of course they chuck you off the mailing list.

The most recent dispatch from the BLRR stable features outing for perennial favourites here - Volcano the Bear, LSD March, Soriah and George and Caplin - though sadly the latter never made it to the parcel though the press release is intact (maybe we could review that) - all of course will be getting the critical once over shortly. However notwithstanding the gems within - and remember there is a VTB release which to momentarily ignore is akin to having an itch you can't scratch - the release that caught us square between the eyes is this little beast from Croatian ensemble Seven that Spells.

One for the psychedelic purists. Those much in love with looping mantras coiled in Arabesque swirls freewheeling upon a tripping odyssey towards mind expanding enlightenment should have these dudes on your cosmic radar and if not should be making a sharpish dash towards the nearest Tibetan travel ticket machine in order to book yourself a place on this volcanic and monolithic 73 minute cerebral cruise liner.

'the men from Dystopia' is an unrelenting primordial shake down feast of scorched freak outs, monastic grandeur, fried fret work sublimely melded into a titanic white hot 5 part firmament of brain mulching slow freak psyche that within reveals in Niko Potocnjak a guitarist cut from the same cloth as his talisman and sole inspirational source Makoto Kawabata of Acid Mothers Temple fame (who incidentally appears here applying some masterful and dare we say unworldly things with an electric sitar and hurdy-gurdy) and of whom it can be said has been sun kissed by the drug induced sonic white out spectre of Hendrix.

'The Men from Dystopia' is essentially one elongated suite divided up into 5 parts not so much with a view to relieving you of the endurance levels needed to tackle it head on but no doubt serving as some kind of concerned health warning fearing that a fair few passengers won't make the return journey.

In terms of texture and delivery its closest peer not withstanding the obvious comparisons to AMT are fellow Beta Lactam psych blues overlords Green Milk from the Planet Orange while in recent memory one only needs dip into the more out there moments of Psychic TV's recent 'Hell is Invisible, Heaven is Her/e' to locate a common ally in terms of venturing

Symbiotically threaded together each of the five parts exists in its spatial dimension, picking the baton left by its predecessor its shifts ever steadily with finite precision through the intoxicated states of lysergic flux towards of inner Karma reaching critical mass at 'IV' wherein the intensity and density that has so far been steadily gathering mass, form and dimension up to this point suddenly collides into a mammoth out there skull fuck. From the initial chilled out bliss personas of the ceremonial like spooked soft psyche folk chiming overtures of 'I' sumptuously adrift with key washes all the time adding the component ingredients (cosmika florets and chanting recitals delivered by trappist monks on a bad trip) to the swamping brew. 'II' ups the ante ever so gently incorporating a fixed set kraut throw back groove while decorating the spectacle with mirage like swirls. Yet its 'III' that provides the sets centrepiece, a superbly executed riff rampage - fractured and fried, visceral and volatile - it's a true 16 minute wig flipping freaked out fuzz core experience of barrier decimating proportions. Personally though - for me the albums best moment arrives with 'IV' - a frazzled and chaotic cauldron where for once the psyche-tropic rule book is lashed aside in favour of the unravelling, corrupting and corroding dissipating overtures spliced between nose bloodying tensely equipped drone montages scared by moments of rabid sonic assaults - listen a little closer and it sounds like a hallucinogenic highland fling. 'V' naturally brings everything full circle - the come down - unsettling and eerie the moods and textures evaporating and as with dream like states confused and concussed until the calming influence of the monastic chants bring all to a logical closure.

Immense stuff - a colossal substance free head trip - the man from Dystopia - he say yeah - oh bloody hell I couldn't resist it okay.

Neverending waves from a psychedelic ocean crash over the listener. The extended delirium of "The Men From Dystopia" blends classic psychedelia mixed with Eastern mystical flavors and experimentalism. Seven That Spells strangely finds a way to anchor its music in strains of the familiar - thanks to its relationship to psyche and acid rock - while also generating a sense of xenophobia and disconnect. It's the Beta-lactam Ring Records aesthetic with sort of an old school zing, culminating in a future-retro spasm. At times, the music can admittedly drone on a bit, but at the same time, the album is mesmerizing and hypnotic in quirky, disturbing and fascinating ways.

This Croatian powerrock group got assistance from Makoto Kawabata (Acid Mothers Temple,…). The now very much psychedelic music sounds like going first towards a sonic overload, pushed by someone who wants to lead like but is as crazy as hell (he's a man from Distopia, so it has been conceptualized). It does not end with one track. Somehow there's a peyote/mescaline-Indian be-the-fire-dance, ritualistic communal drive in the monotone rhythmic pulsations/or "melody". Then, within this sonic vacuum cleaner you can start to hear an electric sitar flipping on the dance. I could almost sing along with "heho-haho", mantra-wise, with the spiralling focus. Heavenly female vocalists (-preferably nude, for the sake of the concept-) then starts to sing along on the background. By the third track a freaking wild electric guitar improvises on top of all that, and the band goes weird with it with more sonic spacey effects, and more bass-with-drum drive, taking off. This wild guitar continues for a while and manages to "wow" me the whole way through, holding my breath and attention and then looking for breath again, more than once. Then wordy-like pushes starts all over to lead again the dance, with the whole band behind them like a living draconic energy. The sonic mass begins to roar with moving-in-the-air cosmic fluting overtones as a new entity. This seems to bring the band down to a first closing part. The band then transforms into a kind of sequenced sonic washing machine loop, with the beautiful sounds of overtones following them, and with wild high toned guitars dissolved into the turmoil of sounds. But thoroughly the guitar finds some individual shape in the heavy brooding monster, and from inside, or from the bottom it starts to feed it trying to make it move. Instead the energy fades out a bit, in the next track. In a Nurse With Wound feeling of overtones, the psychedelic guitars fades away like directed lava, with some electricity. Distant voices cry from hell deeper down the trail, not for help, but to participate in the firey bliss. Then from underneath the rhythmical foot tapping dance rhythms and communal vocals appears one last time from a distance, not with an extra sitar this time but with a hurdy gurdy to it, while the fluting sounds dominate the psychedelic underground. Cymbal echoing effects subtly fly around it. The music fades out and the communal vocals keeps the tension high (with hurdy gurdy), while the rest of the sounds drones away.

Hailing from Croatia Seven That Spells include in their ranks one Kawabata Makoto (for this release at least) who is confined to electric sitar, Tamburo and Hurdy Gurdy, such is the extraordinary power of guitarist Niko Potocnjak. Opening with a swirl of synth, an eastern guitar riff picks up the groove, the music sounding like U.S. Kaleidoscope, slowly however, the intensity builds, Ashra Tempel joining the party as the sounds get wilder and weirder, the guitar running across the piece like a golden thread to heaven. Suddenly you realise that 15 minutes has passed and you are deep into track two, a twenty minute epic sounding like Quicksilver jamming with every modern Japanese Psych band you can think of, a holy wall of noise that could stop wars and raise the Dead.


    Just as you think the band are peaking, track three goes into freakout meltdown mode, the band holding onto an echo of the melody whilst throwing out everything non-essential to the trip, off into hyperspace and grinning wildly. Slightly slower and more drone laden, track four gives Mono a run for their money, a floating cloud of noise and derangement that cloaks everything in a veil of stars. Finally track five allows the band to dissolve, fusing their molecules into an endlessly drifting sphere of light, that shimmers across 14 minutes, leaving a single lotus petal waving in the breeze.

Rooted in the noisy, experimental psychedelia of Krautrock acts like Amon Duul II and Cluster, Croatian band Seven that Spells offers up a single piece, split into five untitled parts and barely constrained by the 78-minute time limit of the audio CD. It begins innocuously enough with a finger-picked guitar theme, orbiting in synth ether and accompanied by droning chants, but as the guitar starts to wobble from its orbit and the blissful chanting turns to primal growls, things take a definite turn toward the freaky. By the time the manic wailing and electric sitar jamming kick in, you know the next hour or so is going to get pretty crazy. But while Seven that Spells' extended experimentations range from thick, almost ambient bass guitar droning all the way into effects-drenched feedback jams, it's all held together by a hypnotic motif of guitar chords that the band returns to again and again. Separating The Men from Dystopia from their German forefathers are hints of folk tradition, with the tambur - a long-necked lute used in folk traditions throughout Europe and Central Asia - adding what would seem to be a distinct Croatian touch. Ironically though, the tambur player is none other than Kawabata Makoto of legendary Japanese psychedelic rock group Acid Mother Temple, whose bassist, Tsuyama Atsushi, also shows up to add some vocal yelps to the cacophony. In the best Krautrock tradition, even at their most self-indulgent and noisy, Seven that Spells still manages to be compelling, thanks to that almost-subliminal rhythm running beneath all the feedback and guitar noodling, and The Men from Dystopia occasionally verges on beautiful, especially near the end, when hollow chanting and guitar strums give way to lovely wordless vocal harmonies. Between the political implications of the album title and the naked women adorning the cover art, it's a bit tough to parse what message the group is trying to convey, if any, but this isn't music for reading into. It's music for drifting away on, and if you listen deeply enough there's no telling where it might take you.

Goodness Gracious it's been a long while since I've heard such mangled beauty. It's as though these Croatian freaks (along with Kawabata and Tsuyama from the ALMIGHTY Acid Mother's Temple!!) have taken every rural folk song from their country, dipped it straight into some gooey psychedelic lightshow liquid and commenced to sprinkle it over their heads.

The going gets weird right away with some plucked sitar and tambura. These lines of brain massaging melody run smack into a pounding mono-riff from Hell and subsequently ride on waves of plinking, plonking and swishing synth lines. Although it's divided into 5 separate tracks there is no real division here. It's all one big MASSIVE meltdown and psychedelic endurance test. The guitar is a high light, letting loose with crazy and way over the top solos. These are of course some of the high lights of the disc. It's as though every Hendrix lick ever recorded has been condensed into one blurry laser gun blast and it's aimed at a pack of wild cavemen who scatter to the four corners of the Earth to found new religions based on feedback and volume.

There's no real letup for the whole 70 plus minute ride. You simply sit down, strap in and hold on. Or don't… Maybe you should just crank this sucker up and let it blast all of the talk of recession/stimulus, Hilary/Obama, Love/Hate, Right/Wrong and any other notion right out of the folds of your over stimulated brain. Let the walls come crumbling down for a change. We could spend weeks analyzing this molten chunk of spiky psychedelia but why bother? It's more enjoyable to simply let these freak-power currents give your nervous system a reset and boost.


Seven that Spells:
Stjepan Jurekovic' - drums
Lidija Dokuzovic' - voc
Tvrtko Dujmovic'- bass
Tsuyama Atsushi - voc
Kawabata Makoto - electric sitar, tambura, hurdy-gurdy
Niko Potoc(njak - guitar, synth


Recorded during 2006 & 2007 @Psychedelic Dungeon and @Acid Mothers Temple
Recording engineer - Sven Pavlovic'
Mix - Hrvoje Nikšic' @KRAMASONIK studio and Kawabata Makoto @Acid Mothers Temple
Artwork - Niko Potoc(njak
Photo by: Grga Mirjanic', Iva Jila Mahalec