Thursday, January 28, 2010

After After


















When you spin a solo platter by the frontman of the sadly defunct Emperor, the greatest black metal band in the history of extra majestic left hand pathing, you pretty much know what you're getting: a darkly stellar trajectory. But After is more than simply the next step in his musical expression, the distillation of influences and inventions. This is a whole other staircase.

Jilting, tumbling, scraped-knee riffs elaborate the irregular, the perverse, The Barren Lands presenting itself, introducing the axiom of isolation; urban, rural, internal, external, no matter. It's tangible, bro. Anger, so often that first strata, finds solace in A Grave Inversed, a feral battering ram in Emperor mode, radical spit speech, lunatic ferocity swimming in a carnival tide, washed over by a piercing, nigh atonal saxophone pre-/post-tastefully warm solo before the reprise of Wagnerian sacrifice.

A serene, looking-out-the-window gait carries the title track, apocalyptic in sentiment, resigned in form, but therein lies its diabolical alchemy. It's never the bomb, but the fallout that kills everything. Galloping, fifth horseman abstraction strikes, strikes, strikes, you pendulum strike! Solitude, unlike all else, cannot be destroyed and Frozen Lakes On Mars crack open to burn mountebanks away by a cauldron of guitars that seamlessly mesh his black metal roots and the ever more progressive palette that daubed the final two Emperor albums.

Après et lentement, an architectonic Undercurrent courses beneath ten-minute flesh, sax chords dripping over strings to slip and weave; everything:the world in what web-like subtlely before determined, periodic explosions, these lava bubbles lacerating serenity until the cold locks the river in place, this first of a thematic diptych.

Abstemious beauty 'til turbid rumblings, Austere filaments loom a self-composed gloss and one can only marvel at the aural collage, a secluded gouache that demands exploration. Ground-up Maiden dust transports an Elysian riff to churn precipitate off Heaven's Black Sea, key and sax notes two of the thousand drops sculpting wraiths out of the tremulous yet propulsive waters, human strength and weakness sonically codified.

The second panel at last, we witness the ouroboros crawling On the Shores from Mahlerian sea drift to carve its place, rhythmwork and sax lines twining their vines twixt tail and head -- let me play that bit at five minutes once more -- a wordless ululation speaking the world before devouring itself. Isolated.

Kitchen sinking classic heavy; venomous black; progressive inflections; jazz; haunting single-note measures, the culminating stew is visceral, organic. Some albums work as background noise, others are highly praised, but only the very few transmute into an alien set of erythrocytes carrying, stimulating something as vital as personal thought and emotion. They become part of you, and this is one of those albums. A demanding masterwork.

17 comments:

Übermilf said...

I've got some demanding masterwork for you. For instance, the litterbox needs to be cleaned.

Tom Harper said...

Sounds like my kind of mix. I'll have to check that one out.

Randal Graves said...

übermilf, I already have pussies. Clean your own.

tom, I think you'd definitely dig it. A near-perfect balance of harshness and complexity, light and dark with a film of sorrow over everything. Just an awesome fucking album.

puddy said...

ahhh yes, i remember that's exactly how i felt when i first heard "i'm all out of love" by air supply...

Übermilf said...

Puddy is the kind of evil genius I like.

I'm going to find some tunes for you to listen to.

Mary Ellen said...

Oh! You were talking about an album! I was really concerned about the ground up Maiden dust...wondering if it was another mess I'd be expected to clean up, like I don't have enough to do cleaning up ground up coffee grounds that fall on the kitchen floor.

(O/T I answered the question you asked at my place, hope it satisfies you....because I like nothing better than satisfying you. ;-) )

Übermilf said...

I found one that's not only fun to listen to, it's pretty to look at as well!

sunshine said...

I love Milf and Puddy. Tee hee!

Anyhow...
This sounds like a great album. Do you think I'll like it? It's not Death Metal is it???

((Hugs))
Laura

Randal Graves said...

puddy, well that is the greatest song ever.

übermilf, don't get too excited, puddy actually likes metal.

nunly, here, Maiden=Iron Maiden. I was praising the album's intricate guitar work. Man, I need more metalhead readers. You all suck. ;-)

Satisfying me? You're going hot pants & Cthulhu full time?

Please, seek immediate therapy, über.

sunshine, there are ample death/black passages, but there are lots of progressive/jazzy/mellow ones as well. Not sure if you'd like it, unless you're willing to give the heavier spectra a chance.

S.W. Anderson said...

If you say so, Randal, enjoy. As for me, IIRC, I had my fill of galloping, fifth horseman abstractions some time back.

Christopher said...

After? Hmmm, never heard of After.

Did they come along before Before or around the middle of Middle?

Beach Bum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Beach Bum said...

...apocalyptic in sentiment, resigned in form...

Thought you were talking about politics for a moment.

Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

Always leaving out Up with People. Commie!

Regards,

Tengrain

Randal Graves said...

SWA, what's wrong with a galloping fifth?

christopher, up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, start.

BB, only pansy hippies are, Real Americans pack heat when attending political gatherings.

tengrain, but they're so wonderful, saying such things would be repetition, like saying Cthulhu is great. Ia! Ia!

Distributorcap said...

was this a sports post?

Dr. Zaius said...

Is it "thematic diptych" or "thematic dipstick"? ;o)