Thursday, October 19, 2006
Weakling - Dead As Dreams
During my first few weeks of this school year, I received a shitload of math homework from my bald Belle & Sebastian loving math teacher. I was forced to stay up until all hours of the night attempting to complete these assignments. Because I knew I was in for the long haul, I would frequently throw on a nice, long black metal album. This was one of those albums.
The average American commonly associates black metal with big scary foreigners wearing Kiss makeup and eating each other's brains. Such is not the case with Weakling. Weakling hails from sunny San Francisco, and plays upbeat blues based jam rock in the tradition of popular Woodstock performer Burzum. This is their only album. Their shortest song is ten minutes long because they tend to stretch out and jam like any fine "acid rock 'n' roll" act of the day. Don't say you weren't warned! Haw, haw, haw!
We Americans simply cannot even begin to understand the workings and worldviews of peoples from nations so separated from ours as, say, Canada (where they hate Yo La Tengo because they're gay and gay people hate Yo La Tengo apparently, which is weird because they're all fugly Jewish people) or Norway. To them, I'm sure a lot of the crazy shit about black metal bands burning down churches and killing each other and what have you seems perfectly normal, and just a part of the music. It's probably cold in Canada, anyway. With frigidity comes a certain sense of melancholy, in addition to a healthy dosage of possibly infinite sadness. Their climate, in addition to their history of vikings and maple syrup chugging, has shaped their way of life, as American cheese and films such as "Hitch" have shaped ours here in the U.S. That is why Canadian black metal such as Immortal or the Unicorns can seem somewhat funny to us, whereas even a good-hearted, patriotic group of twee-thrash musicians like Slayer seems real and even genuinely sinister.
It is this differentiation between the types of evils feared by ladies and gentlemen from either sides of the pond that truly brings out the different things that I come away with when listening to either black metal from Europe, or black metal from my native home of Mexico. Mainly, black/negro metal from the Scandivanian area seems to generally have somewhat of a cool groove to it, whereas that from the United States seems to be more focused less on establishing "good time party grooves" and more on trying to make the listener feel like they are being taken on a tour of hell. Perhaps over in some foreign country, Enslaved is absolutely terrifying. I mean, those vocals are just so demonic and evil. But Enslaved doesn't scare me at all. Hell, they make me dance the fuck around! Shit makes me feel damn good inside.
Weakling, on the other hand, tap into my innermost fears as an American citizen. Why did I start this paragraph off like that. Fuck me, seriously. I'm not here to talk to you about gun control and Korea or some bullshit. Why don't you just listen to the album. You'll hear what I'm getting at. New paragraph.
Weakling made one album, and this is it. It sounds like they are playing as the earth crumbles around them. If you want to know what the apocalypse sounds like, listen to this album. It doesn't sound so much like "the end of music" as it does "the end of the world." The songs are really fucking long, and they needn't be any less long. They have titles like "This Entire Fucking Battlefield" and "Cut Their Grain and Place Fire Within." Unlike the last metal album released on Tumult that I reviewed, this record sounds fucking fantastic. I'm sure they spent at least a year shining this puppy to absolute perfection, which is what it is, really.
Rating: ¡Uno, dos, tres/catorce!
Song: Just buy the fucking album. I saw it in Reckless both times I went there this month, it might still be there. Also, pretty much all U.S. Black Metal sounds like this album, so just listen to a lot of that because it fucking slays.
And if you dig that shit, then be sure to check out some They Might Be Giants albums. "Nightgown of the Sullen Moon," anyone? YOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!