Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Glaukom Synod - The Hungry Transplants

You've seen the name here before, and if you've seen the name here before you know that I have been relatively enamored with Glaukom Synod's experimental industrial jesting. This was the reason I bought the entire back catalog off Nihilistic Holocaust. The sole creator of this madness, G.S, is to be applauded for this miasma of industrial noise. The Hungry Transplants shares many of the characteristics of the project's catalog: mechanical rhythms, repetitious percussion, a penchant for adopting orphaned sounds and incorporating and bending them to fit a structure or be the structure. With each track being it's own unique cacophony of unpleasant sounds and patterns, that there is still a unifying totality that glues the elements together is commendable.

Opening the album is "Formol Junkie," a track which appears elsewhere in the discography in different forms; Glaukom's anthem, if you could offer it a prize. The Hungry Transplants is more mechanical and less organic than some other recordings. It is also not as abrasive as say Covered In Semen and Slime. Even the fastest blasting is cut and corrupted with slower aspects such as in "The Perfect Nucleus (Always Deeper)". What I'm always impressed with is how tempting Glaukom Synod is to the ear and senses. It is not something which is appalling, even though it's foundations should not be construed or regarded as outwardly enjoyable. Somehow, the transcendent nature of these mechanical rhythms and staccato programmed sixteen-bit samples are yet calming and warm.

To me, Glaukom Synod is the factory come alive, the conveyor belts working in perfect unison, autonomous robotic engineers producing tiny receptors, diodes, and components in total harmonious programmed unison. A symphony o metallic existence motoring on incessantly into the distance for unknown reasons and goals. The Hungry Transplants is an ideal jumping point for Glaukom's discography. Several demos and a couple albums prior have been enough for refinement and yet it is still somewhat minimalist compared to some recent output. You get a very good understanding of what makes Glaukom Synod, and G.S., tick. Tick. Tick. Tick...

Friday, February 10, 2017

Black Grail - Mysticismo Regresivo (Re-Recorded Live Ceremony)

This version of Mysticismo Regresivo is a "re-recorded live ceremony." There isn't much information available as to what this actually consists of but I have answers. Apparently Black Grail, perhaps unhappy with the sound and structure of their debut album, wanted to approach the material from a more natural angle and include some content which was not a part of the full length version of the album. The defining pacing element of spoken word and tolling bells was absent in the original and a separate entity has been utilized to realize these additions. This is essentially a more representative release as to the band's wishes. Along with the re-imagined overall structure, Black Grail provide the seeker a host of questionable aspects to ruminate over. While seemingly promoted with the aesthetics you'd find define a form of ritualistic black metal, I neither get much black metal, nor auditory ritual here. More-so it sounds like Thrash with a hint of black metal in line with a band like Mortuary Drape or Master's Hammer. For all the spoken introductions and the reoccurring bell cue, even some group chanted vocals, musically there isn't a ritualistic feel to this anymore than there is any band rehearsal. Just because a band perceives their rehearsals as if they are ritualistic or ceremonial doesn't warrant the ritual black metal label. 

Drifting away from issues of categorization and definition, Black Grail's Mysticismo Regresivo is quite creative and unique. There are a lot of original segments, ideas, and riffs across the release. The spoken intros are interesting in that they aren't "spooky" or "demonic." Instead, they are simply spoken, seemingly, as anyone would speak to another and so, ironically, in a more accurate ritualistic sense then is often touted or produced in black metal releases. The release is heavily atonal and melodically taxing from the outset of "Dialogo Entre..."; a lack of normality in this regard makes mental recreation and recall difficult. Memorability is a factor. Where atonality has often existed in extreme metal, it is often utilized in the way adverbs are used to describe verbs. Black Grail use atonality as the actual verbs; the actual moving and doing component of their music is atonal. Some of the more structurally off putting pure riffs appear in "Plegaria Catartica." 

When we talk about about structure in metal, the majority of bands utilize the same overall approaches. Verse-Chorus is still highly prevalent but we also see linear/narrative structures becoming more prominent in extreme and hybrid genres. Black Grail fall into that later format, yet twist it into something new. Using markers to signal the audience - in Black Grail's case a bell between songs - links everything together into a single narrative and yet also signals separation between each track. 1349 did something similar on Hellfire and Acheron has done this on numerous albums similarly where each track was prefaced with cues to both link and separate. This formatting rarity usually falls flat, as it breaks up the pacing of an album too often. In the case of Mysticismo Regresivo the pacing is non-existent from the outset and so the bell, i.e. cue, can be appreciated as meaningful and not be regarded as a hindrance.
The promotion for the album promises "a philosophic-spiritual perspective that you should discover." Maybe that's what we are being given as we question numerous components of the whole. Unsure exactly where to place the band or how to approach their bizarre creation forces the listener to openly question categorization as a method overall. My version of the release was a tape sent to me by Divergent, who also sent me the Rid tape - another bizarrity, as I like to call these 'fit nowhere' releases - a while back and I'm thankful that he did because I will likely be coming back to this tape as reference for other material in the future. It's a singularly unique offering that presses the listener to look for abstract explanations for the irregularities that we occasionally find within the metal genres. While definitely not for everyone, I can envision the appeal to veteran explorers in the genre.