I’m not one for “if you’re into it I’m out of it” posturing. Depending on the source, the opinions of others can be a tremendous boon, especially as we float down this wide open river of digital distribution and incredibly easy access to cultural objects.
That said, Krallice is basically unlistenable. They don’t suck like Agalloch* sucks; they’re not unlistenable like older Aube and related strains of noise; they wouldn’t send me running from the room, hands over ears begging a blind and helpless universe to make it stop, just please dear god make it stop a la The Decemberists. But they’re boring, overly-long and just fail to fuse the disparate parts of their influences (prog metal, shrieking, post rock lengthiness) into anything interesting. I tried to like Dimensional Bleedthrough, having bought it upon the recommendation of seemingly hundreds of people, but I have finally given up months later. I think it’s pretty terrible, having neither hook nor tune nor anything to make it stand out as an object of interest.
I would not bring them to the prom.
Liturgy is halfway there. I enjoyed a giggle at the oft-tortured reasoning of frontman Hunter Hunt Hendrix in the first Black Metal Theory Symposium collection about American transcendentalism and “burst beats”. Not my bag, but hardly fatal, especially in a sub-genre pool that includes the idiots from Watain**. The music, however, is only halfway there. Renihiliation has some very interesting drumming and construction, but ultimately fails to reach the lofty heights their frontman claims to reach for. I will check out whatever comes next, probably.
In contrast, Lightning Swords of Death lost a bet with someone and ended up with a band name you might find on a sitcom where the teenage daughter is dating a scary “rock guy” for one episode. (He gets arrested for stealing a car, or perhaps smoking marijuana.) It sounds like a joke, the songs are titled like jokes, and yet my son and I agree that The Extra-Dimensional Wound is one of the best albums of 2010.
Strapped in his carseat, his legs and arms flail to the martial intro of “Damnation Pentastrike” (ha!), head nodding along to the beat and laughing with the sort of glee that amoral babies possess in great quantity. While he doesn’t love it as much as the intro to “Raining Blood” (his favorite song at 15 months), it never fails to calm him down.
I think this band is so likable because it is nothing more than it is – 30 tons of riffs, lyrical puking, and nicely balanced between ridiculous posturing and catchy songwriting.
*Sometimes I feel as though someone is playing a practical joke on me. Or perhaps I am blind to some kind of transcendent beauty in the creation of a post-metal Dream Theatre. Or not.
**Let us be serious – when it comes to sheer criminality, even the most brutally extreme satanic black metal bllarrrgghghghghghahhhahhhhh “nihilism” fails far short in both body count and general criminality behind most mainstream music genres past and present; the drug trade that fueled the rave scene; the drunk and disorderly wife beating brigades of country music; or just hip hop in general. It’s about as scary as the Insane Clown Posse, and nearly as sad. All of the ridiculous baggage and none of the success. All the severed goat heads in the world can’t make up for being a cartoon in a postmodern age where actual terrorism – both of the state and stateless variety – is so common.
Perhaps Sweden is a bit too comfortable?