Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Bridesmaid / Sunsplitter split on Bastard Sloth Records
The Bridesmaid A-Side track "Vilkin' it for all it's worth" I thought was some reference to Norwegian black metal, but I'm pretty sure it's just close to milk and that was enough for these guys. A Harvey Milk or Don Cab type of clever metal title, that gives them a sense of humor I appreciate in something as black as this.
The sleeve and all art is ominous, glossy coal cardstock, pictured is some kind of glowing alien craft, or one of those jellyfish living miles below the surface of the ocean in complete darkness. Why hasn't more black metal adopted that iconography? It's pretty much exactly what their music is about, that desperate fighting for your life existence in total darkness. Sounds badass to me.
The track starts out with the slow analog tape spinning up, Bridesmaid is a trio of two basses and drums, so right away I'm interested... this isn't going to be that crunchy layered distortion. These rumbling bass guitars create entire rhythms that almost overwhelm the percussion, the only thing left to pick out is that high pitch crash of cymbals, the low end is washing over that kick entirely....it's a novel idea to just have the entire range of sound not rise above 1K, and you can spot on the vinyl that this is cut wide. They aren't going for pure speed either, I appreciate when the darker side of tracks like this can let things air out, those long sustained bass parts really highlight that here. I'm also getting this weird metallic twang sound, like a high tension metal tightrope guide was struck with a leadpipe. I guess that's sort of what's happening on a smaller scale with the bass essentially. When Scott and Bob layer this sound and their playing, it almost becomes anything but a live instrument, that low note may as well be a synth...it's a great effect...and in this case I have to say the vinyl, even if it is the closest analog to the band playing, still can't come close to the feel of this band playing 20 feet away. It almost wants to be music for the deaf, at that frequency range, it's all about the vibration. These guys take their time and slowly develop this complex track over the length of the side, never getting into the human range of speech, but communicating through tectonic shifts.
Sunsplitter on the B-Side, had a great interview where they talked about their amps and physically driving the kind of wattage live that makes a PA system worthless. I like the idea of a band not relying on anyone else to the degree of bringing everything to reproduce their sound the specific way they want, down to the last detail. The venue doesn't ever have what we need, we bring it ourselves. Also that basically this started as something of a self proclaimed performance art project in that it was directionless experimental sound that's evolved into this complex ancient Ministry industrial metal. I wonder why this cold machine feel isn't still as effective in metal these days, why an audience still wants to have the most expressive instrument, the guitar to be the center of these instrumental passages. Conceptually it makes sense to get rid of the human element as much as possible right? Just a bunch of machines trying to kill you. This is a track that completely evolves, that metal riff, slowly changes. Disintegration Loops? This has long been going on in side long length drone music for a long time.
The guitar is still front and center in this, mostly flat, it's impressive these rhythmic sounds are all coming from outdated old drum machines. It falls into an old ritual sounding, un harmonic vocal with an odd overall rhythm, that at times explodes with the otherworldly machine gun kick/snare combo that isn't dependent on weak muscles. They're getting those giant highs and lows from this epic guitarwork, quick staccato riffs to the longest sustained chords. The yelling or slowly spoken word section of vocals towards the end is in the instrumnet range and sits alongside this wave of sound nicely. It's not important or valuable enough to be front and center, the wails of humanity are drowned out. You can barely hear this. The rapid drum machine fires up with the doom finger exercises on the guitar neck which I think symbolize that the machines won, and why should they even express themselves anymore, that does not compute. The end.
Go listen to both of these on pathetic tiny laptop speakers...
Of course a label named, Bastard Sloth Records would release this. Thank them and spend a couple of bucks to hear these sounds on the closest thing you can get to seeing them live... if your amp goes to 11.