31 August 2006

I'm so prolific this week

I've been sitting here all afternoon with my eyes all over soccernet.com waiting for any good news from the Toon 'cos it's the summer transfer deadline. It's not looking so hot for the Black & White. Anyway, remember my review of the latest sunn0))) record and my mention of the guy in the casket screaming bloody murder? Well, his fifth album comes out soon. Make up yr own mind whether it's worth it. On the other hand, I was introduced to Latvian pagan/folk/black metal legends Skyforger and I need to get my hands on more of their stuff. It's like a Baltic version of Destroyer 666 with traditional costumes and flutes and whatnot. Don't laugh, it's really fucking good (and this from a guy who thinks LOTR is stupid!).

Xasthur - Subliminal Genocide
Hydra Head Industries
12 Sept 2006
2 stars

Xasthur is the solo project of black metal practitioner Malefic (aka, the dude in the casket on the latest sunn0))) release). I say "practitioner" because Malefic is, according to the press sheet I received with the CD, "one of the most innovative black metal practitioners of the isolationist sub-underground." Subliminal Genocide is Xasthur's fifth album, and, though I'm not sure what else is going on in the rest of the isolationist sub-underground, maybe some of these guys should go outside for a little while and get some fresh air. I caught myself laughing a few times at the extraordinary melodramatics presented here. Yes, I do understand that saying these things could get me ritually slaughtered--if guys like this are serious about what they do, that is.

Now I'll freely admit that there are some interesting passages on this album (tracks 4, 6 and 10 particularly), but overall it's a bit self-indulgent and claustrophobic--though one might presume this stems from a certain level of agoraphobia on Malefic's part. While I generally dig on scratchy, low-fi black metal vocals, here there is only yelling and screaming (presumably in a very tiny room, eh?) with a shitload of echo and very little reverb, given the overall vocal dryness. The drum parts, while not that interesting to begin with, are generally very low in the mix and poorly recorded. My gut tells me that this album could be about a thousand times better with some solid drumming to support the intricate guitar and key work, but it seems that's the last thing on Malefic's mind.

Anyway, Subliminal Genocide is sub-par in my mind. It goes on forever and goes practically nowhere in that span. If you want a proper taste of what it must have been like to endure the psychological trauma of solitary confinement in a medieval dungeon, this is probably as close as you'll get.

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