Those who are fans of Bardo Pond should immediately run out and buy Third Troll's third album, "III," if they don't own it already. This side-project of those space pioneers is drenched in solar flares and bombastic missives. Sprawling doom-filled drones take you into the depths of the sea and the farthest reaches of space, while methodic atmospherics expand your mind and destroying your skull. "III" is an absolutely epic release.
This quintet featuring BPers Isobel Sollenberger, John Gibbons, and Michael Gibbons in addition to Clear Spots king Kevin Moist and Aaron Igler, compile massive sonic jams as dense as your father's black hole. The opener, "Tropic of Entropy" is absolutely enormous. At a hair under 22 minutes, this piece is the aural equivalent of falling into an endless pit. Surrounded by nothing by empty black space, Third Troll unleash a whirlwind of electric buzzing drones and tribal-stomp percussion. It's a pounding rhythmic nightmare. The immense amount of layers on "Tropic of Entropy" is overwhelming at times. There's so much happening here that it's easy to get lost in its reaches. I feel like I'm walking through an endless maze made from moon dust and mushrooms. This is definitely a place I want to be.
Third Troll keep you on your toes with the other two offerings on "III." "Bells From the Deep" is filled with spirits. It's like sleeping under the canopy of a willow tree with candles dangling from the branches like stars. You are in a totally foreign, but whimsical world. The strained flute notes are contemplative and introspective. Minimal drum stomps give this loose-leaf collaboration the spine it needs to reach through the branches. The flute begins to take centerstage with simple, haunted melodies evading the grasp of the changing leaves. Third Troll are surprisingly at their best when they are on the more quiet side like this. It is excellent.
"III" is a fantastic album with something for just about everyone. There's a lot to like about this band and this record. By the time the heretic saxophone skronk of the closing piece, "A Couple Steps Back," comes to an end, you've been shot through the swamp and into the cosmos. But you will return to the ground from which you came, only to find yourself stuck in some dive bar while cotton ball snow falls outside. Something about "III" keeps you warm, though. Despite the journey it takes you on, you're ready to take on the stars. 7/10 -- Brad Rose (27 June, 2006)