Receiving the Evcharist is our weekly feature where we pair choice albums with our favorite libations. Drink from the cup of heresy. This week’s offering: Helms Alee’s Noctiluca and Enegren Brewing Company’s Maibock.
The Metal: Helms Alee’s Noctiluca
Sometimes you pick an album for a column because it’s one you’ve been looking forward to, and sometimes you pick an album as a gateway to something unknown. Helms Alee is a name I’d heard thrown around forever, heaped praise upon by several friends of mine, and yet it was only when I was near out of options for this week’s column that I thought “Why not?” and decided to take the plunge with the group’s newest album Noctiluca. Whatever I was expecting this to sound like pretty much immediately went out the window, as the swirling trippiness of opener “Interachnid” whips you around and drags you down to Helms Alee’s shimmering depths. Indeed, Noctiluca is a masterclass in texture, whether it’s the contrast between the gruff vocals of Ben Verellen and the smooth droning chorus of Dana James and Hozoji Margullis, the instrument tones that evoke at times the shimmering bioluminescent algae the album takes its name from and the crush of the pressure of the ocean’s depths, or drummer Margullis’ ability to manipulate tension by incorporating tight high hat work in “Illegal Guardian.” To say Noctiluca blew me away would be an understatement; it’s a crime that I didn’t come into this band sooner, but maybe now was the perfect time for me to truly appreciate them.
The Booze: Enegren Brewing Company’s Maibock
Springtime is upon us, but if you’re not keen on the traditional offerings of lagers or pilsners, why not try something a little more complex? Enegren Brewing Company’s Maibock is a German bock style beer that is billed as a “springtime lager,” but the rich amber color, malty sweetness, and yeasty presence liken it more to a Belgian ale. There is a wonderful sweetness present here, and a kind of freshness that both keeps things from getting too cloying and reinforces the ‘springtime’ vibes this thing gives off. Bocks are not one of my stronger suits, but every now and then it’s nice to have something that’s this steeped in tradition; I tend to get drawn a lot to fancy new beers that offer experimentation and exciting ingredients, but going back to basics gives a needed shift in perspective.
Cheers, and be good to each other,