Not the Bore Worms . . . (Stewart Voegtlin)
But, they were administered anyway. And following colossal democratic campaign failures, Gavin “Stickfigure” Frederick assured me the wheels would come noisily off in a rickety second term. In between reluctant sips of a Polish malt liquor that will remain nameless, I nearly believed him, nodding perfunctorily; silently vowing to never get amped up by anything posted by Messrs Black or Marshall on Eschaton or Talking Points Memo again; I would stoically recline, flood the mind with music; drink ‘til the digits numbed, and save the vitriol for what would surely be lackluster seasons by the Irish, the Steelers. Of course, both squads (thankfully) refused to acquiesce, and now I’m left without an object to inject my venom.
Not that ’05 didn’t bring the Schadenfreude: Cracks in Der Fuher’s façade were gleefully soundtracked with blackened bile slabs of vinyl, the ubiquitous CD, an errant unmarked cassette. Metal, whether Black, Pagan, or impenetrably unclassified, kept me on my feet – or sitting, nearly sated behind the wheel of my ’97 Jetta – a motherfucking juggernaut of a vehicle – in the mind-numbing throes of the hour-long work commute. Never mind the chariot’s drab appearance: Fallaces sunt rerum species.
Some LPs, CDs:
Asva - Futurists Against the Ocean (Dos Fatales)
Some Reissues, CD-Rs, cassettes:
Crebain - Night of the Stormcrow picture disc (Aurora Borealis)
Having spent an inordinate amount of time unsuccessfully bidding on Burning Witch LPs, and ephemera; playing/replaying G. Stuart “Barfykronos” Dahlquist’s contributions to Sunn O))), Inc., Asva rose at an appropriate time, slowing the pulse, smarting the ears, evoking and provoking image upon image, falling like Tarot from a “reader’s” French Quarter balcony. With so much horny hoo over The Drone, Asva not only managed “relevance;” they staked off a wealth of territory: Jagged hills of riff, craggy vocalized inlets; the volcanic rock of insta-comp standing in the face of intermittent percussion’s salty blast. A two-tracked 12” unleashed later in the year showed further development: Frost Giant’s measured steps were set to Penderecki’s chamber works; from strings’ siren song, heads were sprouted and loosed – a sonic hydra slowly sawed to death; putrefaction’s fetid pools ossified into ritual’s ancient form.
Deathspell Omega dug into their Liddell & Scott, pulling “kenose” from its dog-eared pages – a word of Greek ancestry connoting Christ’s emptying of divine attributes in order to fall in line with the baseness of the hoi polloi – and branding it upon a digipak’s spine. On every imaginable level, the disc “works;” deliberately plodding through three movements with a mad monk’s devotion. Sound wise, the music slinks though the Teutonic guitar assemblages of Caspar Brötzmann, picking up speed, surging into an amphetamine’d sprint as Enthroned are wont to do. The philosophic lexicon is useful here, as “totality” is about the only written word able enough to proffer description: The music, lyrics, and artwork combine in a fiendishly erudite vomit evoking mystery cult enigma, inchoate theophany, and extra-terrestrial carnality – as if H.R. Geiger decided to pen & ink homage to Bellmer’s contorted fetishes.
Sigrblot and Ondskapt bring the ideology, thrusting it upon the heads of weary listeners like a diadem of flies. Sigrblot transliterate Jihad for the Scandinavian: The cover of Blodsband showing Two Towers felled by the swords of warring angels. The music isn’t far from Marduk’s muscular cacophony of Panzer Division Marduk. And the lyrics aren’t far from Graveland’s most transparent racism, as pleas to the preservation of the Nordic race are as plentiful as invocations of Wotan, Mars, Ares. Thematically difficult to say the least – but so is loving the word of Heidegger, or Pound. From similar loci come Ondskapt, who have found a way to blend the classical filigree of Euronymous’ axe werke with the apocalyptic gravity of innumerable Requia and opera’s more crepuscular moments, resulting in something not unlike Mayhem’s De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas with a libretto assembled from the work of Bataille, Sade, and Adorno. A volatile amalgam to be sure, but Ondskapt paints their blasphemy in able strokes, leaving the finished product a slickly enveloping flat black.
Seemingly out of nowhere came Dylan Carlson, a hayseed armed with a Tele, hidden in the belly of a wooden horse, and rolled into the city center. Some knew how to take Earth’s Hex; some were hell-bent on childish comp and contrast, thinking every artifice should be glued together with the same materials, and in the same manner as its predecessors. Carlson’s one figure salute is well-taken: Its group hug of Santo & Johnny, Joe Walsh, and Louis L’Amour is like being left out in the North Dakota cold with a bottle of Glenmorangie, an itchy trigger-finger, and a Glock.
Acoustic warlocks Jack Rose and Erik Hinds were in heavy rotation; Rose bringing Pythagorean notion of soul as strings’ buzzingly hewed harmony, Hinds dropping dead-eyed homage to Slayer’s greatest achievement. With Kensington Blues, Rose runs through the cobwebs of Fahey’s ghost, ultimately pulling free of its finger-picked silk. Hikes through Rig Veda, backseat shags, late night psilocybin talkfests are all touched on, moments in time tossed into single-barrel bourbon bottles and dropped into dead seas. Hinds, whom I had the pleasure of witnessing in-fucking-vivo, is a whirlwind of fingers, heavily tatted forearms, long shock of red beard. Recognizable riffs surf around thickly rattling strings; microtonal chatter bounces off the instrument and into one’s reception leaving the listener addled and stupefied. Thrust into the middle of Aboriginal rites, one’s only recourse is to smear the face with ‘roo shit.
Doom Bar fueled Holy McGrail made merry with insanely overdriven Spinal Tap Rock Riffs on Collecting Earthquakes, and then receded into shadow with Slomo’s The Creep, thumbing his nose at avant snobs who wouldn’t be caught dead improvising whilst wearing an Appetite for Destruction concert tee.
The Walkman found use again with two ass-melting cassettes, NVH/Chasny’s Plays the Book of Revelations and Old Gold auteur Marshall Avett’s Floorbored. Straddling opposite ends of the sonic spectrum, Noel and Ben wrangle religion out of evangelical mitts and send it spinning backwards into pagan earth; spilt on the stones of ritual, gagged with its own prevarication, Book sends a Flying-V’s headstock into the colons of myriad McChrists, freeing prefab churches of their Purpose Driven pap, and blinding legion’s lights with Noise’s sinewy truth. Avett’s offering beats Yin to death on Yang’s shattered bones. Miniature bells happily bong; decay refusing to die, transmogrifying into Nate Young’d Dr. Pad chest thumps, overexposed, breaking up into billions of cacophonous crows. Like getting your drink on from an aerosol can, these listens are gritty, dangerous fun.
Not much from the home front, save for several incarnations of Laremy Wade, also known by some arcane latinismus – a tall guy with a mohawk who's has been sticking a power tool in Agnus Dei's orifices ever since he learned how to say Marriettam Capta Est. I thought he went to Iraq, but he stuck around to lead the volley in the Kultur War's first round, tentatively titled, "Let Them All Bathe in the Blood of the Lamb." As a single track on my iPod attests to, Wade is every leather nun's nocturnal emission. From similar loci that spawned Xasthur, Beherit and say, early Throbbing Gristle, Wade's gutter vox do the St. Vitus dance with great fervor; hearing this malfunctioning phonics impale itself on overdriven acoustic figures is a fine handful of thorns. Here’s hoping he moves free of his lurker status and fucks shit up in ‘06.
By Stewart Voegtlin