Monday, September 24, 2012
Circle of Ouroborus:Abrahadabra
It's not often that I run across music, that causing me to flee to the inner webs because I don't know what to make of it. Well this Finnish Duo has done just that. I suppose some of this is the band is or has been presented as a black metal project when what we have here is clearly cvltish lo fi death rock.
Their tenth full length, which leaves me guessing the other nine albums were closer to being black metal. This is a duo consisting of Atvar who is the multi-instrumentalist who sets the back ground for the howling moan of Antti Klemi. Even though this is their tenth full length the project has a slew of e.p.s and splits, the day this full length came out they also released an e.p., who knows it could be sheer blasty mcnasty. This was released as a 12" vinyl, so these guys are perfecting the art of underground.The other significant sign of this is the very re-verb heavy lo fi quality of this recording. The recording gives the guitar an organic coldness. the keyboard and drum mix are the only element where the recording suffers and even there it gives it a certain ambiance as everything else is oddly placed. All this and we haven't gotten to the music yet.
I'd guess the singer is really into Death In June, but his voice only gets the feel and point across and never goes it the type of croon that propels Death In June's music. While the vocals set it apart not just from being a black metal band but give the songs as a whole a desperate personality. Some times he is more in key than others, and while he isn't gifted with range or power to speak, he has a unique quality to his voice, sometimes like if Ian Curtis was fucked up and bleating like ship, that was so depressed it wanted to lay in the pasture and die.
While the songs have some drive to them much more than Death in June, I wouldn't say it's necessarily heavier than Christian Death, which is where we get into lumping them in with death rock bands. There are moments like on the song "these days and years to kill" where the guitar gets heavier but it's oddly placed in the background so it loses the punch. Maybe that was intended. I'm assuming the shitty production was meant to be for it gives everything a murky My Bloody Valentine feeling especially the keyboards which I can't tell if they are recorded backwards or not.
While always steam of consciousness, Sometimes the melodies are more focused than others. On "the six hands" they wander around in the sonic swirl surrounding them.If I was told this was recorded on a 4 track in a hotel bathroom while they were detoxing from a heroin binge, I woulda heir not blink.
The keyboard album waltzes between giving it a shoe-gaze quality and folk element. the folk vibe comes from the choice of interval , that sound like a trippy pan flute at times.On first listen to the opener " conspiracy it , served as as a distraction to how sloppy the drums are, which stood out out on subsequent listens.This lack of technical execution does mar the experience , as I cant help but think what it might sound like if preformed with more proficiency.
The bands lo-fi aesthetic works best at maximum sonic density . When the murky murmur of sound obscures some of crude drums sounds, a song like "remembrance" is a good example of this as is oozes like filth through a haunted sewer. The guitar melodies is a shadow shifting behind the fuzz. The flaws are exposed when the songs have to much space ns leve the drumming naked for scrutiny. Though the drums sound fine on the very My Bloody
Valentine cascade of " like silent meadows" which is one of the most effective marriages of death rock and shoe gaze. So the old saying a band is only as good as their drummer
doesn't apply here.
The fact the vocals are more chants than melodies also grows on you by the end of the album and they remind me of genesis p Orridge. By the time I got to "dementia praecox" I was wishing this has made its way into a real studio, but in that process would it have lost some of its identity? While the only thing I really have to compare this to would be old Pyschic Tv, I recall their albums have more clarity and they were recorded in the nineties, but maybe that's the point and I'm just missing it , so while I love the idea and where they are trying to go with this the production quality is almost on the level of a boom box band practice recording, so it plays against them when it came time for me to try and score this, so the weight of its score is based on originality vs execution, so I have to rate this a 7.5 which sets the bar for how high you can score on herewith horrid production.