When we last left Terracid, Michael Donnelly was tearing up the night sky with a paintbrush caked in LSD. The tattered ruins of the once majestic earth littered the cosmos and Donnelly was there, picking up the pieces and putting them down on tape. Terracid has been ultra-productive lately, but that's Donnelly's M.O. He never sacrifices quality for quantity. Though I am convinced he's sacrificing something to someone - his musical talent and ability is inhuman, to say the least. "Speed Has Slowed to a Star" is no exception. This is Terracid's finest hour and the muck-filled results will, once again, crack your skull.
"Speed Has Slowed to a Star" differs from previous efforts in that there is more of a folk spirit running through its seams. Donnelly smokes layers of acoustic instruments and wraps them into the fold. It shows off Terracid's decidedly organic face. It gives the feeling of someone emerging back into civilization after being lost for a decade in the woods.
Most notable in this free-flowing acoustic vein are the hypnotic "Hands of Porous Light" and the beautiful, "The Merchant of Venus." The former is a sprawling headswamp. Swirling around the base of Donnelly's guitar pluckings are feedback vultures, screaming and hollering while looking for bones they can pick. It's psych-fried bliss. Synthesizer wails and blips poke their head out of this sea of madness, only to be sucked back in by the magic underwater world we're never able to see. Donnelly's droning vocals only add to the track, making it a perfect sonic experiment - ten minutes of a claustrophobic mindfuck.
"The Merchant of Venus," however, is the antithesis to all of this fodder. It's an acid-riddled journey through the black & white streets of a Fellini film. It's pulsing nature, the constant, rhythmic strums - it's all so seedy. I can't figure out, for the life of me, why I keep imagining streets lined with Italian prostitutes, but that's what this song brings to mind. It's the perfect mix of pleasure and pain. Like Donnelly's magnificent oil paintings, the beauty is in the details; the minor touches in the cracks. This is simply fantastic.
Terracid has many parts to its personality and "Speed Has Slowed to a Star" is the perfect example of its softer side. Kingpin Michael Donnelly is clearly in a zone here. Nothing infects him. He is the virus that permeates anything and everything he comes across. By the time the electrified mania of the title track comes to an end, you've been taken on a ride. You've had your bones cracked, been stuffed into a box, only to be reborn as something unrecognizable. What a fucking trip. 8/10 -- Brad Rose (15 August, 2005)