Australia is huge, arid and god-forsaken in the middle, and just about alive around the fringes. Grey Daturas are pretty much the musical manifestation of their homeland’s inhospitable nature, and describing them as “an improvisational, instrumental noise-trio” doesn’t do justice to just how utterly shot-through with despair and grief their previous records have sounded. This new effort, ‘Return to Disruption’, is exactly the same format – there’s no “return” to anything – especially considering how ear-molestingly harsh ‘Path of Niners’ was. To anyone unfamiliar with Grey Daturas, this review isn’t painting a great picture thus far – in fact, pretty shoddy by anyone’s standards. Fortunately, their back catalogue is infinitely innovative – insomuch as a band can be within the limitless boundaries of the “noise” genre. More structured and controlled than Wolf Eyes, yet far more chaotic, feral and highly-strung than early Boris; Grey Daturas have carved themselves not so much a niche as a rut. And unfortunately it seems this is where they’re likely to stay.
The slow burner ‘Answered in the Negative’ encapsulates this frustration – preceded by two tracks of improvised percussion and feedback, it crawls along at what could be termed a “brisk pace,” only because there is nothing to compare it to within the context of the album thus far. It eventually builds into a swirling mass of crunchy but never intrusive guitar squalls that sound like a desolately clear desert sky. The powerhouse riff grinds on and on, until it descends into feedback. This is then followed by ‘Undisturbed’ – 4 minutes of cello scraping with a geriatric’s heartbeat keeping time. This album, like much of Grey Daturas’ work, features moments of genius but unfortunately – also like much of Grey Daturas work – it is buried amidst a lot of shit.