Entrance - Prayer of Death
(TeePee Records) Keith Boyd 6.6.7
It's a cold, clear Santa Ana wind night in the hills outside Los Angeles. The holy lights of the city blink and glow at the wild black dome of sky overhead. Car exhaust and old dust and fragments of broken dreams twirl through the weeds and cracked roots of sage scrub. Old Skeleton Breath mounts his coyote and digging his hands into the greasy matted fur, he gives her a kick. They roam old Indian trails, long since forgotten and crushed to powder. Old Skeleton Breath pulls a face from the Ancient Gallery and stretches it across his smile. Long black hair now hangs down past the conchas on his belt. He is clad in black and dark purple. Jewels of every nation drip from his fingers and flow around his neck. Though every step and movement is a note in some impossibly loud Blues Raga, he enters the city unseen and unheard. People walk right through him. Cars drive over him. Ever onward he rides. All over the city, everywhere, lives are coming to an end. People wilt like flowers in the sun. People lie down and close their eyes for the last time. Old Skeleton Breath collects their final gasps in a leather pouch. The bag fills through the night and at dawn is swollen like some ripe fig about to burst. The dawn finds our rider back on the invisible hillside trails. Once again stripped to the skull of his essence he opens the bag, tilts his head back and pours the contents through his open jaws.
That's it in a nutshell. Entrance, primarily the dark meanderings of one Guy Blakeslee, creates haunted blues ragas from a place deep on the journey to the end of the night. This wonderful album cuts to the heart of true Blues music without ever sounding imitative or the work of some dilettante. It's the visionary testament of one soul confronting death and in the great shamanic tradition, coming back to tell us what he's gleaned. Sonically, everything sounds stark and wonderful. All of the playing is reverb drenched and Guy Blakeslee's voice rides over and under channeling equal parts Jeffery Lee Pierce and much weedier Robert Plant. Jeffery Lee Pierce and The Gun Club are perhaps good places to start understanding Entrance's sound. There is that same sense of the sinister at work. There's something slightly dangerous or psychotic going on. It's as though some crazed white boy has found the keys to the Voodoo Blues and like "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is running wily-nily with them. Although there are great songs (Grim Reaper Blues, Silence on a Crowded Train and Prayer of Death to name a few) the greatest impact of this disc is as a whole. When listening to the whole thing you can crack into the vision guiding it. Middle Eastern at times, Bluesy for the most part and 70's Glam Rock at the edges, the whole album is a great and engaging listen. In an era of dumbed down content and sound bitey bullshit Entrance is standing up against the tide and delivering us a beautiful and scary contemplation on death.