AROUND the late fifth century conventional historians relate that a boat carrying Fergus, son of Erc of Armoy ran ashore on a volcanic dyke after establishing a kingdom in Scotland. The old name for this rock has since become known as Carrickfergus - or the Rock of Fergus.
What historical records don't say is that Fergus deliberately ran his boat ashore to stake claim to the biggest secret in the western world - what today we can reveal is known to secretive cabals as 'Area 69' - a dark alien presence in the bedrock....
Once the preserve of black ops teams and covered up for centuries by misinformation and outright lies, Northern Ireland band NASA Assassin have gambled their careers (and maybe their immortal souls) to lay bare the secret kept within the walls of the Norman castle which dominates the shoreline.
Built in 1177 by John de Courcy the middle ages saw the town and castle subject to fights over who would possess the secret within the volcanic bedrock.
While the town around the castle was sacked and captured by various factions the castle never fell, its duty as a bulwark against discovery always complete. Seemingly the force the castle guards only ever allowed people of pure lineage to take possession of it.
De Lacy, MacDonnell, Sir Arthur Chichester, William of Orange and most recently heir to the Windsor throne, Prince William are among them, and religious affiliation seems to matter to none of these. Its protectors have included US Rangers, who under cover of preparing for 1944's D-Day landings in Carrick added more defences to the ancient rock.
Selling power of raise customs to the upstart town Belfast in 1637 was another attempt to distract attention from the forces ebbing throughout the town. As was the 1711 attempt by a judge to acquit eight women in Ireland's last witchcraft trial - their lenient sentences an indication that the conspiracy to keep secret the ancient powers was known only to a select few.
Now in 2014, under the cover of a special forces team called the Northern Ireland Environment and Heritage Service thousands of souls are scanned and captured from 'tourists' coming from across the globe enticed inside the castle walls, only to experience a brief moment of disorientation when the forces grab hold of their inner spirit. Thus a database of the inhabitants of the planet is being collated.
Only a select few in the space agency NASA, members of Stargate SG1 and a few key government departments know of this and it is only the courage of NASA Assassin that is now exposing the world to the danger through the messages within their album....
[At this point the owner/editor of the site wrestled himself to the floor, punched himself in the face and reminded himself he was meant to be reviewing the fucking album!]
Ahem....sorry about that, was just expressing my concern for the future of the human race being placed in the hands of the faceless bureaucrats...
Anyhow, NASA Assassin have been kicking around venues for a while now, led by the enigmatic Watcher, dropping their sonic attack on unwary souls across the land.
With the release of the album Area 69 (complete with cover art of an alien ship hovering over Carrickfergus Castle...) the NASA Assassin sound has been distilled into its most primal brutal form.
While some of the tracks have previously appeared on an e.p. this is 10-track tour de force of heaviness. Imagine an alleyway with Rage Against The Machine, The Mars Volta, QOTSA and Hawkwind being assaulted by a crowd of Belfast Punks...the resulting sound would be reminiscent of what NASA Assassin have produced.
In the grooves of Area 69 you will find apocalyptic visions ("The writings on the wall, the human race will fall" from the song NASA Assassin) and Lambeg drums (Mystified).
There is an elegant insanity in this set of recordings, effects laden guitars when necessary from StevieDog and Jeff Quargle (!) and rampant bass from Aidy Fudge, all barely kept in check by Rab Rokkett's drumming.
For all the wall of noise approach there is no doubt that amidst the madness there is real talent here musically and in the eclectic lyrics. Sexy Nervous Breakdown's chorus is a case in point, as is the closer to the album Super-Collider, which tails off with a subtle repetition and refrain..."If you've got this feeling, Fade Away"
The album is packed with stellar tracks, plundering genres and producing a sense of intensity that is strangely hypnotic draw (subliminal messages drawing us to Carrick Castle?) .
Yet, there is also a sense that the obvious musical wit and lyrical humour is a knowing nod to an audience that is in on 'joke'. (Not that we find the power within the volcanic bedrock of Carrick a joke!)
In the liner notes there is this offer "To be kept up to date on all NA activity or offer The Watcher a lift go to www.facebook.com/NASAASSASSIN." Yes - offer a lift....
At times there is a fine line between the insanity of NASA Assassin and the genius of their musical vision. We are erring on the side of genius...
In the meantime we'll be keeping a very close eye on the comings and goings at Carrick Castle....
NASA Assassin support Trucker Diablo at the Diamond Rock Club this Saturday, February 8th, and officially launch the album in Belfast at The Empire Music Hall on February 21st.