Wednesday, March 31, 2010

To my left, a record

Disintegration. Of structures, of relationships, of mind, of flesh. Death, taxes, annoying customers and that. Inevitable. Inexorable. Thus when it comes, and you're stricken with a raging fever, a violent fervor, you best channel it, lest it devour you from the inside. Hellhammer relatively smoothly, Celtic Frost with turbulence. Rage, man from Switzerland, rage violently, and give countryman Giger a call on your telephone machine for a suitable reflection. Something nasty. The timeless horror that breeds in the noxious crevasse of the human spirit. Gather a likewise band, bleak pranksters this Triptykon, then hit record. Then we listen. Will we smile?

Two minutes of crawling chaos 'til the midnight cataract murders most foul and with precision. The demonic swarm of Goetia, the final word is theirs alone: drop such domineering, illusory dyads. The rusted troposphere tone of Frost's swansong is now sculpted subcutaneously: the initial strike of Huysmans' bellringer Carhaix au contraire the lumbering reverberations. Swift beginnings, torpid finish. With such augmented efficacy, the finest album opener in many a lunar cycle.

Fischer & Co. vs. the sludge monster. A strangled rasp and insistent drumwork (Norman Lonhard shines on this album) plot the topography of the Abyss Within My Soul, a Lovecraftian blasted heath, slow and ill luminous, so redolent of Cathedral's molasses-in-winter debut LP. Peel the veil, see In Shrouds Decayed, the hypnotic, bastard genetic moisture of Into the Pandemonium, Sisters of Mercy and The Swans. The selectively deployed creaky croon has improved to the point to where I'm convinced therein lies the faintest hint of Peter Murphy.

The Shrine echoes a 103-second gloomy sustain, announcing the hyperthrash/To Mega Therion mashup of A Thousand Lies. Sure, we receive fewer instances of the nigh-incomprehensible, snarling Warriorism of old, and the main riff isn't an immediate soul-destroyer as, say, Dethroned Emperor, but if this was a disgruntled employee, he'd be enrolled in anger management. Of course, he'd hit back with Descendant, a penetrating smear of laborious grime; listen intently to pick out bubbling veins below V. Santura's gurgling feedback, then get sideswiped by the vicious coup de grâce.

Subversion is the law of the Myopic Empire, a march undercut with piano and Vanja Slajh bass grind, a song that might require repetition before a comfortable settlement inside this listener's files. A dozen spins shall confirm or deny. The cradling dirge of My Pain mostly works in no small part to Simone Vollenweider's lullaby anchoring the bittersweet tang of this rotting sanctuary. Now it's time for mass. Ladies and tophats, open your hymnals to, given its near 20-minute length, the aptly-titled The Prolonging, a shifty, metalized neo-prog workout, leaden chunks of barks and chords falling about, stops and starts, boredom is but a fantasy save for you short-attention span wankers, wisps of plucked strings and tom hits spiraling: as you perish/I shall live. Submerge.

Comparing Eparistera Daimones to Apocalyptic Raids or the initial, crucial Frost output is an exercise in futility. Those releases laid the still-eviscerating blueprint that's been xeroxed a billion times by every black, death and extreme metal act worth its salt, a singular atmosphere of time and place and shadow. Perhaps only Slayer can lay claim to such a vital influence from those heady days. Here and now, as is so often not the case, the primary creative force didn't willfully engage in a campaign of misinformation: this is his darkest (read: lugubrious, grim) work yet. His best? Another question entirely. (The correct answer is Morbid Tales, if you were at all curious, and you are.) A logical extrapolation of the themes and sounds of Monotheist? Certainly.

We listened. We smiled, like Vlad before his forest of the impaled. Tell me again anger and hatred and despair aren't useful emotions. They'll come in quite handy this afternoon, when I'm still down here in this dump instead of at home watching Arsenal vs. Barcelona. In sum, despite a few niggling faults, a motherfucker of a record. Serving suggestion: in the witching hour, with headphones.


Tengrain said...

Graves, you swine!

You know Californiastan is thinking about legalizing pot, and is nowhere near as miserable as Cleveland. Just think about it, 'K?

On the downside, you cannot get a juicy Famous Ray's sausage out here.



La Belette Rouge said...

We have lots of libraries. Pot will soon be legal. And there are plenty of famous sausages here( I may be lying about this last part). So when are you and the family moving to Cali?
p.s. I have been reading your blog since 2007 and I keep waiting for you to review Morrissey. If you like anger, hatred and despair....and should LOVE Morrissey.

Randal Graves said...

tengrain, en plus, pro: a much better metal scene.

con: all that fucking heat.

pro: the Ronald Reagan Brylcreem Museum.

con: the Ah-Nold Steroid Theme Park.

LBR, too hot, too hot. Well, maybe not Sacramento, but all they have is the Kings, and they're wretched.

I don't hate Morrissey, and certainly appreciate his obvious darkness as a songwriter, but he could really stand to utilize a few more power chords.

Demeur said...

Oh Randal forget Californiastan, Seattle is the place you want to be. More books sold here than potholes there. And as an added bonus our library patrons actually know how to use the system. So easy to get a note for your er hum.. gloucoma.
Never too hot never too cold the birthplace of Hendrix but alas the Super Sonics are gone.

Beach Bum said...

Unlike the others who suggest you come and live in their areas I'll just say you are better off in Cleveland than South Carolina. The rivers may burn up there but the people aren't as strange as those down here.

Mary Ellen said...

I'd tell you to move to Chicago, but I fear that if you buy too much pot the prices will rise and I'll be stuck shelling out more to my dealer than I already do.

But I'm glad you're not going to California because it's going to fall into the ocean and I'm not sure how good a swimmer you are.

Ricky Shambles said...

Another plug for "here:" Cincinnati's like a less-decaying version of Cleveland with actual nightlife. Also home to a hopeless yet lovable football team. And the Chili - god, man!

On a sidenote: the image at the top is entitled Triptykon which I believe is German for "I have a Triple-A generated paper map to this place." So, do you?

susan said...

If you're considering relocation maybe it should be to one of those ultra-literate destinations like Zurich where you could indulge your biomechanical dreams.

nazareth priest said...

I agree with Mary Ellen: California is going to fall into the ocean.
And WTH is this post about?
Do I have to get "high" in order to understand it?:<)!

S.W. Anderson said...

Randal, I saw the image that tops this post and jumped to the conclusion you must've gotten hold of RNC chairman Michael Steele's porn stash.

I read on and being tired enjoyed the rich, if creepy, descriptive language you spin and weave so masterfully, something like flipping through a magazine, enjoying the pictures.

Then I came to "Tell me again anger and hatred and despair aren't useful emotions." The hair on the back of my neck stood up. I'm thinking, this guy's gone right-wing whack job on us — a teabag wacko, or worse, a GOP zombie!

Then at the end it became clear this is a record review. I re-read the whole thing. Well done, as ever.

Whew, what a relief.

Randal Graves said...

demeur, plus, I've always wanted to ride a SLUT.

BB, but you guys do get all that free entertainment courtesy of the craziest political team in America.

nunly, come now, it's not as if I'd go to work high. Though you think anyone would notice if I did?

I'm a terrible swimmer, that's why I never go tsunami hunting.

ricky, plus you guys did have Jerry Springer as mayor.

Map? We don't need no stinkin' maps. Maps are for capitalist swine and Napoleons!

susan, why does everyone think I'm relocating? Cleveland is the bestest, if you eliminate the top 749 world cities.

NP, buy the album and thou shalt knoweth all things.

SWA, thanks but hey, man, anger and such isn't a wholly-owned subsidy of the cracker nation. In fact, I'm very angry you all want me to abandon Cleveland because you know what would happen if I did? The Browns would win the goddamn Super Bowl. After I had been run over by a city bus in my new burg.

Nicole E. Hirschi aka CJT said...

Why is it that sucky things happen to such awesome people? Maybe you need to get away - there's a spot available on my couch... I think I owe you for the time I made you sleep on your own during my last visit there...

Randal Graves said...

Couch, couch, always the uncomfortable couch.