The Convocation Of...: Pyramid Technology
As guitarist/vocalist for some of the most passionately reviled and lauded acts of the early 1990s in Born Against, Universal Order of Armageddon, the Great Unraveling, and Moss Icon, guitarist/vocalist Tonie Joy has a rap sheet worthy of a musician who's paid his dues. But unlike a handful of other similarly minded early-'90s post-hardcore guitarists, he's never tried to re-create Rites of Spring in his own image.
Joy figured out where this music was going way before the pack and he's remained ahead the curve throughout his permutations. And with the Convocation Of . . ., as with women's haute couture, he realizes that sometimes it helps to take a look at the past to lead you to your next fashion. On Pyramid Technology, the second album from Joy's current trio, he sounds like he's tapping into Band of Gypsies-era Hendrix. There's the big, baroque guitar tone, the rattlesnake riffs, and a bass-and-drums duo that always seems on the verge of flying out of control but stays just this side of doing it. On tracks such as "Ramblin'" and "Recognize," Joy's guitar sprawl carves through George France's insistent Tony Williams-esque snare-and-hi-hat rides and Guy Blakeslee's up-tempo bass lines, which sound like exercises in finger dexterity difficult enough to give the man repetitive-stress disorder. Joy unleashes some quicksilver fretwork that's as unruly as a runny fried egg in "Dark Stone" and launches excursions that recall Manuel Göttsching going cosmic in Ash Ra Tempel for the epic "Unlimited Outer Thought Broadcast." Of course, American punk's ever-changing internal concept of what it is and isn't may overlook Joy's latest outfit in favor of something more au courant. With Pyramid Technology, however, Joy shows his music is still relevant to any ongoing debates about the evolution of contemporary punk.