'music to murder people', 'apocalypse music' and 'the soundtrack of nightmares' are just two descriptions of 'Third' that i have heard recently. people expecting 'Dummy: Pt 2' will be disappointed. this album is the sound of Portishead bludgeoning 'Dummy' to death with clubs.
opener 'Silence' is a frantic driving beast, yet melancholic and minimalist which eventually ends abruptly, giving way to 'Hunter' - the track that fully epitomises the above description 'soundtrack to nightmares' as it shifts and morphs from calm to urgent and back again and again.
'The Rip' offers seemingly some respite after the dark frantic opening trinity of tracks. a fairly straight forward acoustic based song but, before it accelerates and merges with the rest of the album.
'We Carry On' - arguably the album's finest track, is the most brutal thing Portishead have ever recorded. Beth's vocal convey a mood of urgency and impending doom. perfectly marshalled by the throbbing bass and tribal drums, the punctuations of trashy violent guitar help to usher in the Apocalypse. you will not hear this on mainstream pop radio.
although less menacing than 'We Carry On', 'Machine Gun' picks up and carries the same sense of impending doom, adding sinister rifle-burst-esque beats to the mix. its one of the more radio-friendly tracks on the album, which isnt very radio-friendly at all.
throughout proceedings, the album is punctuated with mellower moments such as 'Small' and 'Deep Water'. it varies the mood of the album, offering the listener more than just ultraviolence.
overall, i believe this album to be their best. its probably their most difficult album, but on repeated listens, patient listeners will reap the benefits. this is an album which is too brutal and uneasy to listen to as often as 'Dummy', but easily has much more depth.