Release Date: Jun 8, 2010
Record label: Sub Pop
Genre(s): Rock, Indie/Alternative
Destroyer of the Void finds Portland’s Blitzen Trapper settling more confidently into the personal universe it charted with 2008’s Furr, which was like the discovery of a home base with boundaries blurred by the influence of mid-period Grateful Dead, Neil Young’s After the Gold Rush and Tom Petty. Here, though, Blitzen Trapper manipulates a world entirely its own, relying more on shading and shadows than outright bombast. Destroyer carefully reveals itself, slowly unfolding around Eric Earley’s growing lyrical visions of nature, God, and redemption.
Who’s your favorite ‘70s band? Odds are, Blitzen Trapper sound like them. It’s hard not to play “guess the influences” with this Portland, Oregon sextet. From track to track, singer/guitarist Eric Early and company bounce from folk rock to prog, psychedelic pop to southern rock without breaking a sweat, paying homage to their forefathers without ever ripping them off.
Cheers to Portland's Blitzen Trapper for opening their fifth full-length, Destroyer of the Void, with the album's almost proggy title track. "Destroyer of the Void" ambitiously steamrolls over decades of canonical popular music, squishing it into an epic suite that gathers Beatles harmonies, sci-fi synths, classic rock guitars, country-rock twang, and AOR sentimentality into one big, ballsy package. It's a surprising and precarious way to kick off an album, especially the follow-up to 2008's Furr, on which Blitzen Trapper stuck primarily to Laurel Canyon folk-rock.
Crazy beautiful Oregonian sextet Blitzen Trapper isn’t afraid to dream big. They made a name for themselves with their last two albums by throwing a mess of elements into the mix with wild abandon: Americana lyrics, spaced-out synths, snarly riffs. With this follow-up to 2008’s Furr, they’re at it again with pristine harmonies set to late-60’s psychedelic scuzz.
Blitzen Trapper's fifth full-length album opens with the Portland, Oregon-based sextet's most challenging song to date, a sprawling, six-minute, prog rock epic that will draw forth from the lips of critics names like Queen, Bowie, ELO, Tull, and the Beatles, and like its heavily sequined, 2010 sister/brother "Flash Delirium" by MGMT, it forgets that big fish require big hooks to land. Technically impressive, immaculately arranged and performed, "Destroyer of the Void" removes the kitchen sink from the equation early in the record, which helps pave the way for Destroyer of the Void, the album, to unfold, and while there's nothing here to match the instant gratification of songs like "God + Suicide" and the lovely title track from 2008's Furr, there's enough meat on these bones to suggest that the band hasn't lost its knack for crafting spiritually charged, enigmatic woodcuts of 21st century Americana. Frontman Eric Earley's obvious love of the Beach Boys, Gram Parsons, Bob Dylan, and Neil Young hangs like a fog over the Void, and his reliance on redemptive, outlaw, and biblical imagery often feels like Nick Cave and 16 Horsepower without the torrential brimstone.
On their fifth album, the Oregon band Blitzen Trapper have found their groove, if you're an optimist, or their rut, if you're a pessimist. On earlier albums such as Field Rexx and Wild Mountain Nation, they threw the component parts of cosmic Americana – psychedelia, folk-rock, country, prog, even a touch of metal – into the air and simply followed the order in which they landed. The result was albums that were as intoxicating as they were unpredictable.
Writing the follow-up to 2008’s Furr was never going to be easy for Eric Earley. Blitzen Trapper’s mountaintop album took the Beatles- and Bob Dylan-influenced pastiche of Wilco’s Summerteeth and expanded it to include even more of Gram Parsons’ country-rock and more of Dylan’s rambling folk, becoming the quintessential album for fans of Portland’s favorite indie sextet. 2009’s Black River Killer EP raised the bar even further, cementing the 2008 sessions’ fabled place in the Pacific Northwest scene.
Live, Blitzen Trapper are a visceral force, rumbling riffs powering their retro take on alt. pop. Yet somehow, on record, the raw power of their live shows is stripped. The band's fifth record, Destroyer of the Void is an unholy sprawl which references Zeppelin, The Beatles and, um, Yes to create a meandering oddity.
After the success that Furr had found them, Blitzen Trapper was poised with an extremely considerable amount of attention. Here was a band that had started out with modest goals and ambitions, and through re-creating themselves with every new album they had also gained a sincere reputation as being an impeccably skillful band. They knew how to write the perfect songwriting gem (“Black River Killer”), and they also knew how to write the devilishly sly (“Reno..”), but they had also realized how to write rough break-neck rock songs with everything on Wild Magic Mountain.