Archive for cephalic carnage

Undigested #2: Loss – Despond

Posted in music, undigested with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 07/08/2011 by alex c

LossDespond (Profound Lore, 2011)

1. Weathering the Blight

Spoken intro with a simple bass (or baritone guitar?), that’s a little different. Not sure it’s necessary but whatever. As Butthead said about Hum’s video for “Stars”, “It sucked, but at least it was short.”

2. Open Veins to a Curtain Closed

Ah, here’s the heavy. Those are some drawn out guttural bellows, “cookie-monster vocals” on a ton of downers. The oppressive heat we’ve had the past few days in NYC have been opioid in their downerism. I try to get out, run errands, bike ride, whatnot and then end up naptime. I don’t do air conditioning. Too cheap to pay for it and it makes for a sickly environment, chills and hot flashes, an allergenic flu. Clean Spanish/Flamenco-influenced guitar lines cut through the sludge, that’s a novel turn. That break at about 5min fooled me into thinking it was the next track. Nope. Very clever, gentlemen. This album made Brandon Stosuy’s Haunting the Chapel best-of-’11-so-far list. So far it’s reminiscent of Deadbird’s Arkansas-style gloom, very deliberately paced.

3. Cut Up, Depressed and Alone

Quick cuts between tracks, this time for real. Sounds very similar to the latter half of the previous track, which was a decent shift from its own first half. I’m sensing a theme here with the depression and self-mutilation. That’s not to knock it, but they’re not being subtle about it at all. There is a Dylan Carlson’s-”Americana” vibe to all this, just more bass-biased distortion and grime. Early Earth was still a little more “buzz-y” than sludgy to my mind. But now here we are again in a drawn-out, clean, slow guitar accompaniment to guttural vocals. The punctuating smash is a piercing. (Is that an obvious, redundant phrase? I can’t tell.) Well, turns out these guys are from Nashville, which could account for the Deep South feel to the presentation. Also could be a coincidence. A few friends and I are currently enmeshed in Gravity’s Rainbow, so I feel susceptible to suggestions of conspiracy, paranoia and a distinct lack-of-coincidence. . . Continue reading

Meditations on “Math”, Pt.II: Technical Death

Posted in math-rock, music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/07/2011 by alex c

Why did I decide, in just my second post on mathematics in rock music, to discuss one of most alienating forms of extreme metal? I really have no idea. Mostly it comes down to the fact that I had made a long list of bands and, as I sorted them, these fellas just ended up here. And by “fellas” I mean it. Females are notably absent from this realm and the reasons for this have weighed on my mind for years now (A friend and former roommate, Mary Iatropolous, attempted a rudimentary study of this phenomenon and her conclusions were both obvious and obscure). It’s a discussion well worth continuing, unfortunately it will have to be in a future post (thoughts in the comments are more than welcome).

Death metal, from its roots in thrash and hardcore, was always predicated on superlatives: Who could play fastest, whose sound was “heaviest”, who wrote with the most complexity? This kind of competition, friendly or not, has always been a generative force in art; here, among the most extreme exemplars of metal, we find a synthesis of high and low art. There is no middle-brow here: anti-bourgeois; this is scum divinity, sacred filth; “untouchable” is a word used for only to describe the richest & poorest.

I need to read Albert Mudrian’s book, Choosing Death.

Hank, in his post, provides Necrophagist and Cynic as examples of prog/tech metal. The former display an almost inhuman technicality in their music, a legacy that goes back at least to J.S. Bach (and likely farther). Personally, I find Cynic to be a terribly cheesy abomination, like walking into a Guitar Center wank-a-thon. Where Necrophagist plays brutal video-game soundtracks, Cynic exhibit the worst indulgences (overwrought melodies, too-sleek production, operatic vocals) of ’70s prog-rock and never get heavy. But that’s just me, for contemporaries I prefer Atheist.

I tend to dislike “genre bands” who follow an established template in their aesthetic. Mix it up, add something of your own. No two people like all the same stuff, so why write like that? The following bands are all ones who’ve taken risks with their sound and, to varying degrees, been successful in their execution…

Continue reading

Sound Investments of 2010

Posted in best of 2010, music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 01/06/2011 by alex c

New Albums I Picked Up This Past Year:

In what was likely a memorable first for me, I spent far more time in 2010 immersed in literature than music. Realistically, it’s probably always been a 40/60 split that just happened to flip this year, but that doesn’t mean it feels any less odd. Additionally, the attention I gave to new music significantly decreased in favor of catching up with musical lineages or bands I had been meaning to hear. As I parse through myriad “Best of…” posts and catalogs of releases, the new stuff I heard boils down to a meagre pile. It’s mostly a good pile, though. I could add High on Fire‘s Snakes for the Divine to the list, but I found the opening track disappointing and haven’t bothered to go back for a real listen (They’re always great live, though; the latest albums have been too “produced” for my tastes, lacking the punch).

The albums I spent time with and a list of ones I want to check out after the jump… Continue reading