Saturday, 9 June 2012

The 2kDozen 500: #206 - Slabdragger, "Regress"

There are perhaps two kinds of metal: that into which I can get, and those into which I cannot. There are no obvious ingredients. No obvious line that you can stand on one side of the other or choose to straddle. Sometimes the bombast works and sometimes it smells of lunchtime in the schoolyard. This stuff works, I reckon.

All kinds of words about lava bubble up to my brain surface; slow-moving, superheated, indistinct and insurmountable. "Bab el-Mandeb" really piles them up - a whole Pacific Rim island system of riffs, rolling over one another; battling thessalocracies. The title is the name of an isthmus at the ocean-end of the Persian Gulf, obscure title fans. It means Gate of Grief - nice. "Erroneus Maximus" is a bit livelier and shorter, but equally impenetrable. This is a music to be pressed under or to appreciate from an ironic distance; not to get tangled up in the shards of. Not today.

Those hip hop/metal crossover albums like Judgement Night that came out in the early Nineties make some sense. Two complimentary hyper-"masculinities" weaving in amongst each other, supporting each other's extreme statements and postures in an Iron John fashion. "Regression" bursts like an extreme slo-mo atomic mushroom with extended samples from ancient US cartoons and the movie Network and George Carlin; paranoid stoner TV. Perfect. A big night on the salvia.

"Murky Fen" (how good a track name is that?!) has lyrical glimpses about life being "futile" and "wasted" while more menhirs of metallic forethought tumble and rumble behind them. And "Woe Betide" brings more of the "pain". It's hard to get a solid bead on whether it's a tight, little sense of humour that's on display in this music. Or rather if it's a healthy laughter at death and pain and suffering, rather than a constipated ironic laughter at the whole idea of singing about death and pain and suffering. That crippling ironic thing. The outfits suggest they mean it; but I suspect it's a subtle thing that lurks below conscious intent.

It plays out with "Trichrome Oddyssey", which starts slower and more thoughtful before the Earth's mantle shifts again and the bad liquid pumice stone juju rears up once again. And there's some Buddhist sounding chanting comes in as the tension is released and the music ebbs to a conclusion.

Rating: Lava out of Sweaty Bedroom

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