Wig-outs, freak-outs, and tripped-and-fuzzed-out rock ‘n’ roll with a devilish temper is excepted. However, in keeping with the band’s enigmatic persona, Aqua Nebula Oscillator has pulled a sinister swerve on its latest album, Spiritus Mundi. The heads down motorik psychosis, dark psychedelia, and third-eye channeling rock is still here. But, Aqua Nebula Oscillator decided a change of venue was required for the recording of Spiritus Mundi, so it exited the underground and headed into the middle of the Pyrénées Mountains to track the album in an eerie villa. That change in elevation sees Spiritus Mundi having a corresponding lift, and more of an eclectic temper, and while the 11 tracks within still range across the acid-rock spectrum, they don’t dive quite as deep into the caverns as on previous releases.
The phantasmagorical rock of old is still present, and while Aqua Nebula Oscillator explores more illuminated landscapes—looking down on humanity rather than gazing up at it from the catacombs—it still finds plenty of grim sights to behold. There’s been a subsequent expansion of the band’s sonic arsenal along the way, with more varied use of electric and acoustic guitars, keyboards, voices, and off-kilter rhythms, but they’re all still wrapped around delightfully eldritch echoes, distortions, and oscillations. The most notable element to Spiritus Mundi, is that the propulsion of the past has shifted down, into a lower gear. Previously, the band’s songs were like thrashing nightmares, but overall, Spiritus Mundi is more akin to having your brain slowly baked by fevered delirium.
Still, given that Aqua Nebula Oscillator is inspired by the notion of parallel dimensions, it’s all rather fitting that it’s chosen to follow a different, though no less unhinged, pathway into the shadowy realms. It might well be an altered approach from the band, and there are changes afoot on Spiritus Mundi, but the album still provides all the required quivers and shakes. The band’s string-shredding ‘70s stomp is still here on the album’s hardest tracks, and the eccentricity within is still obviously set on blowing minds. In the end, that sense of boiling the psyche in a kettle of kaleidoscopic sounds is ever-present, and that ensures Spiritus Mundi remains a heavy dose of hallucinogenic rock ‘n’ roll.