Sunday, November 20, 2011

I'm Not Going To See Devin Townsend?

The Devin Townsend Project (We must be specific here) is playing a show a half hour drive from my house in a few weeks. I don't think I'll go. This seems like a form of blasphemy. We are talking about Hevy Devy. Playing a small club. Close to me. How could I NOT go? Well, here's a few reasons.
1) It's The Devin Townsend PROJECT.
2) It's NOT Strapping Young Lad.
3) They won't be playing Physicist in its entirety.(I fucking LOVE that album.)
4) It's not Ocean Machine: Biomech.
5) It's not Terria.
6) It's not Infinity.
7) It's not the Devin Townsend BAND. (Accelerated Evolution through The Hummer (I've never heard The Hummer.))
8) It's not Punky Bruster. (picture a couple dots over the "u". I can't do umlauts with this keyboard.)
9) It's not even Ziltoid.
Now, I am sure they will play at least one or two songs that aren't part of the Ki/Addicted/Deconstruction/Ghost quadrilogy but that's not enough for me. I think Devin Townsend is an incredible artist, musician, and songwriter. I think he is a visionary legend of Canadian metal artists. But that doesn't make his music infallible. I applaud him for his drive and his ability to step outside of what is expected of him and create what he wants. But that doesn't mean I have to like it. The DTP never really did anything for me. Perhaps in the right environment, under the right circumstances, something might resonate with me (for instance, live and "enhanced").  But what little enjoyment I drew from those albums wasn't enough for me to make the monetary and time commitment necessary to attend the show. It's more like 45 minutes. Over 100km round trip.. Gas ain't cheap. You never know though. It might be on whatever night Glee is on and I might go just so I'm not in the same house as a TV that is showing it. But at this point I just can't see myself going. With my luck, it will totally kick ass and I will forever regret not going. Maybe I should go. When is it again? Well shit. I have to work that night anyway! That pretty much negates any need for my argument doesn't it?  Availability notwithstanding, the above reasoning still holds true.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Leviathan - True Traitor, True Whore

A handful of years ago my Album of the Year List wouldn't touch Black Metal with a ten foot pole.  This year however, Black Metal will very likely be the most represented subgenre on the list. Thanks in no small part to the newest Leviathan release, True Traitor, True Whore (Profound Lore).  Being unfamiliar with sole member, Wrest's previous works, these fresh ears absorbed the album free of comparison.
The many layers of the album float through the consciousness in a fog of discontent. The listener can never really get comfortable as the different aspects are pulled to the surface. The way the varied instrumentation is mixed is extraordinary. It's not necessarily what is highest in the mix that garners the most attention. Each time through, a different feature presents itself making the album a dynamic listen even after several plays. Even when the album pulls back from the full black metal assault it still seeps with menace. Wrest has captured that tortured part of the soul and set it to music. True Traitor, True Whore can be seen as a voyage on a black sea of emotion. When the vessel is not drowning in malice, it drips with despair. Wrest's vocals (think chicken-carcass-in-a-meat-grinder/Dark Crystal bird monster with strep throat/monstrous feral beast) don't so much tell a story,as act as an atmospheric vehicle driving the album down into the twisted depths of the listener's psyche. The bleak psychedelics and ghostly howls mixed with the primitiveness of the the base emotions the album conveys make this a truly frightening album. It's not hard to imagine that those uninitiated to music of this ilk may well find themselves in the fetal position slowly losing their grip on sanity. That one man can create art of this impact from his heart and soul is very inspiring. I have to force myself to take it off repeat and return to reality. A reality that seems a little darker in the shadow of True Traitor, True Whore.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lou Reed & Metallica - Lulu

Attention Mono-theistic Religious Practitioners!! You want proof there is no God? Or at least proof that your god is not merciful? May I present to you.....Lulu!
The mere mention of a collaboration between Lou Reed and Metallica was sure to illicit a "Whaaaaaa?" from any self-respecting music fan. So it would only make sense that the resulting double disc (!) can be considered an abomination to auditory art.  This is beyond a matter of taste. This is just bad. So bad, in fact, that it warranted what may be my most extensive review to date. My original plan was to get drunk and/or stoned and just write down whatever came to mind. Things didn't work out that way and I had to stomach the album stone cold sober. That's probably a good thing. I don't know if I would have been able to stop laughing long enough to actually write something down. Instead, I just sat there with a look on my face that can only be described as a mix of dumbfounded, "Who farted?" and "Mommy, I'm scared."  This ordeal really tested my mettle.  It has made me realize just how strong I am. If I can endure this kind of torture four times, I should be able to handle anything. Except Country music. I just...I can't...every man has his limits.
So. As Samuel L. said in Jurassic Park, "Hol' on da ya butts."
"Brandenburg Gate"
Is he just name dropping movie titles? Based on classic literature? Does he mean to make us think he sounds smart?  This almost has a Country feel. That may explain why I hate it so much.  Admittedly, the way the drums punctuate the "small town girl" part is rather catchy. Not good catchy though. More like accidental-fish-hook-to-the-ear catchy. The album is more or less a first person narrative. So the "I'm just a small town girl" line is really setting the stage for the theme of the album. Which I believe is about Lulu's (Jaymz' pet name for Lou Reed) homosexual/transsexual nature.  They're really not doing themselves any favours by putting the worst vocal performance in history on the lead track.
"The View"
Oh good! Someone wrote a song about the talk show! Finally! More spoken word and less singing from Lou is a good thing.  Well, the lesser of two evils. Still horrible though. They do realize that no one respects Shatner's spoken word crap, right? There is no sense jumping on that bandwagon.  I am the table! The view! The root! The progress! The aggressor! The ten storeys! It's like the scene in Anchorman when Brick is just saying he loves random objects. What the fuck does all this mean!?!?!? I am the stapler!! The frying pan!! The carrot!! I am! I am! I am the washing machine!! The rusty hubcap!!! The main riff in this song isn't really all that bad. But the Riff Baby of Hendrix and Iommi couldn't save this mess.
"Pumping Blood"
Were the first two minutes of this song really necessary? Is any of this really necessary? Dog prostitute? What? Do people actually have to pay the dogs that fuck them? What does a dog need money for? "Come on Jaymz!" Fuck that dog! I want my money's worth! Dog prostitutes aren't cheap!  Is this song entirely ad-libbed? This couldn't be planned could it? Jack! Jack! Who's Jack? Jack! He's beseeching you! Answer the man! Jack! He wants a handjob! Jack!  "like a coloured man's dick, blood is spurting from me." What the FUCK!? I am really fucking confused. Jack! Jack!
"Mistress Dread"
This almost sounds like Metallica! St. Anger Metallica but Metallica nonetheless. Aaaand there's ramblin' Lou. "I'm a woman who likes men". See! I told you something was going on here. Now he's talking about bondage and S&M stuff. I think. Yeah, yeah, that's what's happening. Nice. "I am Mistress Dread" Am I missing something here? Is Lou Reed gay? Is this just some weird role playing thing? Is this the wild side? I think they played pretty much the same riff the whole song. The song is less than seven minutes long and it's over six minutes too long.
"Iced Honey"
Ah fuck me. This is the one that gets stuck in my head. And Louise is trying to sing again. Was this a Reload b-side? "Make others feel like jam on charbroiled lamb." What? Who the fuck puts jam on meat?! Jam goes on a sandwich, or toast! Sometimes I put it on pancakes but not MEAT!  Would you put BBQ sauce on toast? No! Should Norma Jean put out their own jam now? Oh God, The Grape Jelly? Wait a minute. Iced honey? Who ices honey? It's really much better in a liquid state. Honestly, who listened to these vocal takes and said "Great work lads! Nailed it! No no, that's perfect! Gold baby, gold!" (sticks sharp object in ear)
"Cheat On Me"
I think I might hate this song the most.  Sometimes I'll hear pop music on the radio or whatever and change the lyrics to make it sound (even more) stupid or ridiculous. Ex. Avril Lavigne's "Complicated" becomes "Why'd ya hafta go and make me so constipated? I can't shit now. And I push and I groan and I might pass out now...." Lots of fun. So in this case, I change "Why do I cheat on me?' to "Why do I smell like pee?" You smell like pee because you're 104 years old and you forgot to change your fucking Depends!! The three boxes of wine you had this morning soaked right through your panties. He just said he loves men. Again. I'm really starting to think this is just a big coming out of the closet party for all five of these cats. Has Lou Reed always been gay and I just didn't know because no one gives a fuck about Lou Reed? Am I naive or ignorant or right?  Wow, Jaymz (I have to spell it that way when referring to Lulu because that's the way Louann said it in "Pumping Blood".) is pulling these vocals straight from Load isn't he?! I'm never going to be able to listen to "Hero Of The Day" again now. "Why do I smell like pee?" Maybe you have a urine fetish? Fuuuuuuuuck! This song is going nowhere!! 11+ minutes of fuck.all. Uh, "you love me zero" isn't even a proper sentence. Even I know that and I suck at English. But it's true. I love you zero. We all love you zero. Less than zero actually. We love you negative.
Ah yes. That feeling I had all of disc one rears its ugly head again. And it's even a song title. And another song with a completely useless intro. And more music that just sounds like toss away riffs from Load/Reload.  "Spermless like a girl." In general, yes, they are. I don't know of any girls that produce sperm.  Thank you, Mr. Obvious.  Did he just say something about prickless? Spermless and prickless. Is he talking about a eunuch? Or is he a eunuch? An old, drunk eunuch that keeps falling over. Dude seems pretty conflicted. I'm worried he might do something crazy. Like make a directionless, double disc collaboration with Metallic..ah shit. The incessant repetitiveness of every song is unforgivable. And I thought St. Anger's faults were bad.
"Little Dog"
Great. Another eight minute song. Another retarded (I'm done with being PC at this point) soft, stringed intro. Is that supposed to be a riff or is he just tuning his guitar? Good god, this "guy" is a sick little fucker ain't he? A dirty, dirty old man that has to pay for sex. With dogs. Little dogs. 5:30 in and that guitar is still being tuned. Did someone forget they hit "record"? Pathetic little dog? How about pathetic excuse for a song.
Oh 11+ minutes!! Happy day!! Formulaic opening. Stupid guitar noises and an old man rambling semi-coherently. Is this supposed to sound like poetry? It sounds like shit to me. Here's some poetry. Roses are red, violets are blue. Instead of this, I'd rather eat poo. Red star of idiocy! You bet! Everyone involved in this is an idiot! Even the guy at the printers that hit "Start" on the machine that printed the sleeves! All idiots!! I'm an idiot for listening to it! You're an idiot for reading this review!! I have a RATM patch with a red star on it. Now I have to burn it.  What the hell is he going on about now? Smelling armpits and tasting vulvas in the same thought pattern is rather weird. At least he's back to humans. Do dogs have vulvas? Who says vulva anyway? Alright, buddy is getting pretty sadistic now. I've heard pornogrind that's more conservative than this. The violent gay sex theme of this album is really disturbing me now. I'm OK with "love is love" and all but keep it in the bedroom boys. For that matter, this would be disturbing if it was straight sex. Lou Reed with anyone is a disturbing thought. Have you seen this guy? Moldy prunes feel bad for him. PLEASE SHUT UP ALREADY!!  The fact that I haven't loaded a gun by this point is a real testament to my self-control and tolerance for torture. Not that I would kill myself over this sorry excuse for music. No,. Just everyone who put their stamp of approval on this. And I'm a BUDDHIST. That's how much this sucks. It makes a Buddhist contemplate murder.
"Junior Dad"
Last one. The Marathon of Awful is almost over. But this song is 19 minutes long!! I'm all for long songs (Dopesmoker!!) but I can guarantee this song could be cut down to less than four minutes and it would still be too long.  Would you believe I am forgoing reading A Storm of Swords to write this review? Monumental sacrifice. I guess I deserve the Red Star of Idiocy then, don't I?  None of this makes sense!! Monkeys?! How did monkeys get dragged into this? Jack! I beseech you! Leave the monkeys out of this!!  What does this Junior Dad shit mean? It could be inferred that there is a Senior Dad. Correct? Maybe that's all part of this chickenhawk thing. The "young man" is Junior Dad and Louie is Senior Dad. "Whooz yo Daddy?" "You Daddy" OK, now switch! "I'm the Daddy now!"  Oh shit. I've gone bat shit crazy haven't I? I can't believe how uselessly long this song is!! If it had movements or something I might understand but it's just repeating!  Oh, interlude time. Because it wasn't boring enough already. Uh, four minutes of strings. I don't think this is an interlude anymore. Six minutes. I've never actually made it this far into the song before. Hold on! It's almost over! Wait for it...nothing. It just ends. Just nine minutes of soothing strings to almost make you forget what the rest of the album was, I suppose.
Seriously, how does a record like this make it to completion? People are actually proud of this?  How many people up and quit because they couldn't stand to have their name attached to this rubbish? How many people had a gun to their head? The combination of everything is just awful. Bad lyrics, worse vocals, pointless repetition, pointless repetition, pointless repetition. They must have had a Department of Redundancy Department to ensure the redundantness of the redundant redundancies. The department head was Jack, of course. Jack!
I want to cry. For many reasons but foremost because people will actually buy this. What does that say about society? "Society" will buy whatever crap they think they should buy. That's what it says. WAY too much time and resources have been wasted on this. Not just MY time, but Reed's, Metallica's, that of the producers, engineers, design artists, factory workers, the trees that became the paper, the air and water that fed those trees, the raccoon piss that soaked the ground those trees grew from, the primordial vegetation that became the oil that became the plastic. All wasted. The fact that it is intended to be a sincere piece of art makes it that much more tragic. What's worse is that it can actually be kinda catchy. But not in a good way, like the old Hockey Night In Canada theme, or catching a homerun ball. No. More like catching an STD or a tick! Yes, a tick. A tick must be removed carefully and completely. Any bit left could get infected and fester and leave you with a terrible disease. Now that I am just about finished with this "review", Lulu must be carefully and completely removed from my brain and my hard drive. Delete. Confirm delete. Empty Recycle Bin into the fiery pits of hell. Burn now tainted Recycle Bin. Bury ashes of Recycle Bin and designate as Indian burial ground to scare off and protect the innocent.  I just hope that this doesn't create a fad of irrelevant thrash bands teaming up with washed up, tone deaf old men who look and sound like wino junkie raving lunatic street preachers. If so, I may have to set myself on fire.