Tuesday, April 08, 2008

I'm in the process of overcoming one of those pesky Springtime colds, but I think I'm on the mend. Hope so because Ettrick is playing a house-gig tonight that I'd really like to attend. At the same time though, everything sounds sort of muffled currently, and mucus is dripping down my face, over my lips and onto my belly.

Farewell Klaus Dinger, one of the greatest rock drummers of all time.

And then...

It's time once more for a little visit to the darkside. As many of you know I cannot escape a seemingly juvenile fixation with all things heavy, sludge and/or metal here in the Womb. Psych metal, punk metal, prog metal, doom metal, grim metal, black metal, funeral doooom metal, garage thrash kosmische metal, and of course the burgeoning subscene of shoegaze or ambient metal--whatever it may be. I only ask that my metal be a little angry, a tad dissonant, not too operatic, post-Sabbathian if possible and always lurching on all fours towards its ultimate demise.

Burning Witch Crippled Lucifer (Southern Lord 2CD reissue) - Hot damn. Here's an album for contemplating suicide while you smoke copious amounts of reefer. Hopefully you have better things to do with your time, but if you're feeling sort'a down and looking for something to provide that last push over the edge, give Crippled Lucifer a try. With bonus cuts from other singles and split releases around the time, this 2CD is the ultimate summation of Stephen O'Malley's early noise metal years and pretty much definitive in terms of bottomless chasms of sludge doom death. Most people will hate this. Khanate fans and the like will definitely dig it. Over half these songs are recorded by Steve Albini, so it's pretty much the heaviest album ever. And also a special mention to the incomparable vocal talents of Edgy 59, alternating between black metalesque seahag screech and a harrowing post-Ozzy howl. Somehow this feels like where much of what passed for grunge in the mid 90s should've gone but never dared. None but one.

Ahab The Call of the Wretched Sea (Napalm) - While we're swimming in these dark waters, let's remember that Burning Witch formed from the ashes (and I mean that literally) of Thorr's Hammer, a fantastic but short lived doom quartet that featured an even younger O'Malley and post Engine Kid/pre Sunno)))/Goatsnake Greg Anderson serving up some of the most techtonic doom sludge heard anywhere in the 90s. In retrospect Thorr's influence is pretty darn immeasurable seeing as Corrupted is about the only band around at the time that also traded in such glacial doom. When I listen to Germany's Ahab I can hear those Thorr's Hammer reverberations with trollish doom sludge bludgeon and almost death metal vocal growls. What's neat though, like more recent dare-to-be pretty metal acts such as Pelican and again Corrupted, Ahab is willing to temper its sludge-adelia with some fine moodier subtleties to make things seem less repetitive than they actually are and even more epic at the same time. Parts of this album almost feel like Bernard Herrmann scoring a doom metal soundtrack to an unrealized film version of Moby Dick. Yes, another metal band dares to reference Melville. For once the liteary allusions ring true.

Nadja Skin Turns to Glass (The End) - I returned from SXSW with a few Nadja albums, including a promo of this brand new release on The End. Toronto's Nadja is proof that two people with a drum machine, a guitar, bass, piano, voices, a shipload of effects and some genuine inspiration can forge some of the most enveloping sludge walls ever known to man. If there's one band that really spearheaded the development of super heavy drone metal it would have to be Godflesh, and like those innovators Nadja uses a drum machine and their rhythms have a vacuum-cleaner-on-high sort of aura. Unlike Godflesh, the percussion is much more simplistic much of the way, and every song tops the 14 min mark and often goes well beyond. Also this is often quite beautiful--like beholding dreamlike apocalypse scene with hearts beating loudly, eyes welling up with tears. This is doom for those of us who never got over our Slowdive fixation.

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