Uncommon music criticized by the common man. (Or, exercises in futility masquerading as critical thought.)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Some Endorsements

Anaal Nathrakh - Domine Non Es Dignus (Season of Mist) For the regulars (that I know of), I can pretty uniformly guarantee you won't derive much pleasure from this album. Then again, "pleasure" isn't exactly something associated with Anaal Nathrakh's strain of brutality. This album is absolutely crushing, unleashing some of the nastiest (and I mean that in the best possible way) music I've heard recently. The relentless beats level everything in sight and the guitars burn down the rest, all while vocalist V.I.T.R.I.O.L "pukes vocal armageddon". Oddly, the addition of the occasional clean vocal breaking through the sonic chaos is an unexpectedly welcome touch and something I hope they make more use of in the future. Not that I have a problem with throat shredding shrieking or bowel loosening grumbling that is so common in black and death metal, but given a choice, I'd rather have more clean vocals. Even something like a Phil Anselmo bark would be a step in the right direction. (Though, that particular vocal style obviously doesn't fit with styles of metal that go for blinding speed.)

Meshuggah - Chaosphere (Nuclear Blast) If something a bit more straightforward is what you be seekin' (and the term is relative, of course), then you might want to give this a try. Yes, I'm late to the game here, which should surprise nobody since my love for metal has only really developed in the last few years. Still, I have to give this album a shout-out. This is my first Meshuggah album and it kills. I've heard that Destroy Erase Improve is their best, so I'll have to check that out, as well as anything else I can get my hands on. Though I'm sure people who know more about this than I would make fun of me, I hear a bit of a Helmet thing as I listen to this. It's that very precise riffing, the barked vocals, the rhythms that tumble over each other due to the constant shifts and bullet-train speed. Of course, I think this destroys 95% of Helmet's catalogue. Definitely worth your time. Seriously. Check it out.

Fantomas - Suspended Animation (Ipecac) I picked this up the same time as the DJ Spooky vs. Dave Lombardo album, as I mentioned previously, and this has been the one to sink its hooks into me first, which surprises me, since this is unquestionably the less "accessible" of the two. But, oy, it's a joy to listen to. It's 30 tracks in about 45 minutes, each track named after a date in April. (Track 1 is "04/01/05" and so forth.) Musically, it's chaotic mind-fuck, metal cartoon music, hence the album title. The liberal use of cartoon music samples and its own restless energy gives the music a bouncy quality, making the overall listening experience a pleasure. Don't be fooled; this isn't pop music and can leave those unfamiliar with the Fantomas spirit scratching their heads. But if you know and love the band, this should hit the spot.

So go out there and spend that cash, people. To borrow a phrase from one E. Dorkin: "Love them with dollars, or I'll hate you with hammers."