Break Through
The Slickers
May 25, 2007

Track list
  1. Give Us A break
  2. Every Wolf
  3. Johnny Too Bad
  4. Marcus
  5. Zion Calling
  6. People In The Neighbourhood
  7. Run Come
  8. Black People
  9. African Children
  10. Instru 1
  11. Instru 2
  12. Instru 2
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 13-
Very Good -Votes: 4-
Good -Votes: 4-
Average -Votes: 4-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 0-

Total votes : 25
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 5 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 1
The near perfect Makasound Label return with yet another near essential release from the Black Ark. Suffice it to say, that the music here is prime Black Ark Upsetter roots, with that huge ambience of sound -- like waves pounding a sea shore, rattles of brittle percussion and deep sub lows offset by harsh and brutal Rocker's drumming. Militant snare sounds spar with rimshot cracks and huge jazz style cymbals throughout the performance, evoking memories of the opening ambient washes of percussion on John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme."

This is an album which hasn't seen general release for many a year, so it's a pleasure for Makasound to dig it up once more -- with an extra three pretty fair and reasonable roots funk /soul/jazz edged dubs tagged on the end too. Makasound list the vocal tunes as originating in the 1974 - 1976 classic "Gnostic Ark" period, but Roots Archives state that it was only released on the Tad's label some few years later in 1979. The origin of the dubs is uncertain, obscure, and undated as far as I can see from the lack of documentation on the pre release label.

"Every Wolf" begins with an eerie,hoarse out of tune cut and spliced vocal snippet -- Classic Black Ark weirdness, before dropping into a thunderous, pugnacious dread bass and rim shot aggression, fleshed out with a contrasting sedate lyric about wolves in sheep's clothing. "Johnny Too Bad" has a doo wop edge to it's vocal, and a touch of The Jolly Brother's "Conscious Man" in the melody.

"Marcus" has a staggering, complex, avalanche drum sound from 'Horsemouth' Wallace -- Snares trip over bass drum and roto tom whilst a ghostly vocal discourses on an imagined reincarnation/rebirth of Marcus Garvey, set to "come again in a dread, dread form."

"People In The Neighbourhood" has a falsetto vocal, steppers bass drum and what sounds like shards of Augustus Pablo's keyboard effects coldly forming a backdrop.

"Run Come" has a Joe Higgs/Spear vocal style, with a cold wall of hi hat and icy cymbal smashes offset by an (intentionally) "out of time" snare offbeat breaking the stride. "African Children" has a strange Chinna guitar sound, evoking the reedy sound of wind instruments, whilst the vocal has edges of Winston Rodney circa 1976.

All in all then, a fine set, that ends with three unidentified low key dubs, here entitled simply "Instru 1/2/3". "Instru One", it is worth noting, is an unusual, distinctive funk jazz dub work out, with a JB's/War style approach to a taut snare and cymbal drive.

"Breakthrough" is an album for all the Black Ark obsessives, as well as the vocal fans out there, who love classic artists such as The Congos and Israel Vibration -- Probably one of the best releases of the year so far.

Be sure to check out the rest of Makasound's near impeccable back catalogue -- one of the best hardcore militant Rockers/revive labels on our record store shelves.