As one of the members of the group Sub Dub (as well as appearing on the Asphodel label), I figured that Raz Mesinai's album as Badawi wouldn't stray too much off course for the sounds that I was used to hearing from him. Boy, was I ever wrong.
The Heretics of Ether is an almost completely organic sounding album, free of electronics and samples and instead delves into stringed instruments and some amazing percussion on a variety of drums. The disc is broken down into three sections (or chapters) and 14 tracks. It starts out with the gradual build and more relaxed sounds within the first chapter entitled "The Heretic", but builds into a frenzy by the final track of the section before slowing down again at the beginning of Chapter 2: "The Etheric." The music goes through this change of pace several times during the course of the album as it follows its character through confrontations and resurrections.
The music on the disc all has sort of a middle-eastern flavor to it, but other influences pervade as well and help it achieve a very cinematic feel. While there are some nice string sections, it is naturally the percussion that stands out the most. I'm not sure just how many different types of drums are used, but it seems as if there is always something new and different providing the backbone to the different tracks, whether it's a light, speedy beat or the slow strumming of chimes. A great deal of the time, the sounds are ominous and haunting, but the music is never dull and only manages to draw in the listener
With the release, Mesinai definitely proves that he has a lot more up his sleeve than the Sub Dub side of him that most people recognize him for. The best part of the release is that it never sounds like he has stretched to make things work or even that he's out of his range. I can't wait to see what he does next.