Tag Archives: catharsis sideshow

Krallice, Liturgy & Lightning Swords Of Death (Two Of These Things Are Not Like The Other)

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?

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Standing Athwart The Record Bin Yelling “Please Slow Down!”

A plea for the gatekeepers of yore.

It’s more than a bit dismissive of some of his points to declare this conservative reactionary nonsense, but it’s about as far removed from my lived experience with music that it might as well be in Russian. Then again, I’m not a music writer trying to live in a world where bands “hustle” in a multivariate mediaverse because of the 800lb elephant he ignores – people don’t buy music like they used to, and the barriers to entry have fallen or split into dozens of tiny pieces.

I’ve seen a similar notion pop up about the creation of a trans-national musical monoculture (the favorite term of the nattering nabobs of the fearful future) or some such rot, simply because the world we live in is different than the one most of us (meaning post 25-year-olds) grew up in.  I am convinced that this is a kind of romanticism, and not just the old cultural cachet of being in the know (the “firsties” of the end of the 20th century), but of a slower media environment. When finding things was more deliberate, perhaps, or at least more easily digested.

That said, a slower pace is not unavoidable. All it requires is a little bit of effort. And more to the point, Robert Christgau invented Twitter-snark decades before the kids who made Twitter existed.

Richard D. James Album [Elektra, 1996]
Jungle sure has livelied up this prematurely ambient postdance snoozemeister. His latest synth tunes are infested with hypertime electrobeats that compel the tunes themselves to get a move on. And where once he settled for austere classical aura, now he cuts big whiffs of 19th-century cheese. He even sings. Hey, fella–I hear Martha Wash needs work. B+

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Genre Is A Millstone And Tom Araya Is Pushing 50

arayaThe original article was indeed filled with some inadequacies concerning genre specificity, as more than a few commentors pointed out. It was interesting, if a bit overwrought, but I think most folks can sympathize with the general concept of catharsis via sound.

The follow up was basically shameless fan service, but some interesting patterns emerged.

You not only have genre snobs, some of whom were performing fact-checking (Slayer being thrash, not death metal) and some of whom were being jerks for the sake of being jerks. On top of that, you had the anti-snob folks who were also being helpful or jerky. That’s fascinating. Genre is such a powerful social divider that you have preemptive snobbery!

Also, please note that when cropped correctly, Tom Araya looks a bit like Abraham Lincoln. Continue reading

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Wolves in the Throne Room – Black Cascade

blackcascadeWikipedia is a great starting point for things that don’t matter too much, but consider the following:

The band has described their sound as “purifying black metal” or “transformative black metal”, although in interviews the band has shown an unwillingness to be restricted by any musical label.[citation needed]

How many bands or artists have a willingness to be restricted by musical labels? Let’s simplify – how many people enjoy being pigeonholed? How many people enjoy having hours and days and months of work summed up in a few dismissive words?

Citation needed, indeed. Continue reading

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Maigin Blank – Gutted

It is difficult to straddle the line between introspective and self-involved. Unless the self-absorption is being played up for laughs, sort of like the hapless jerkoff narrator of Death on the Installment Plan. But for singer/songwriter types, you either have to have a collection of stories so amazing that no one cares if they can relate to them or be able to make one’s private pain a conduit. There’s also the Michael Gira method of making things so batshit and brutal that frustrated rage becomes a catharsis sideshow, which is a better category for this particular record.

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