The last time I heard from Paik, they'd just released their thunderous and highly enjoyable The Orson Fader album. The trio has always relied on a sludgy sound to get their point across, and their newest album Monster Of The Absolute is no different, rolling with massive riffage and a slightly rough production quality that gives it sort of a recorded-in-a-basement feel, where the levels seem like they're set slightly askew on purpose to add to the hazy quality.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, the group seems to have fallen into a trap that haunts many bands that tread similar territory. Whereas the group worked tense ground on shorter songs on their earlier release, they unfurl a bit here and the album suffers from it. With two songs running just over a minute apiece, only five tracks carry the bulk of the weight on the seven track album, and amongst those longer pieces the group seems to completely lose focus a lot of the time.
Of the tracks, it's actually the opener of "Phantoms" that carries the most weight, lumbering along with a Sabbath-inspired riff over some interesting percussion (including a bunch of sleighbells and some limber tom work) that helps keep the track moving forward. Elsewhere, though, the album plods through repeated motifs that go nowhere, as on the Jesus And Mary Chain-ish guitar squall of "Snake Face" and the flanged-out guitars of "October."
The album-titled "Monster Of The Absolute" creates a bit of tension by changing up the tempo several times (moving from slower and squealing to absolutely sluggish dirge), but even it melts together into a muddy splatter of murky bass, drums, and feedback-heavy guitar after awhile, completely losing steam by the end of the nearly ten minute running length. Once occupying a more melodic realm of music, it seems that Paik has dropped off into more stoner-rock style sounds, If you've gotta have your hands on this kind of stuff, or have just built yourself a towering water bong and want to lock yourself away for the weekend, Monster Of The Absolute might work.