Music on the quick #1

by Ben

I’m a busy person. Here is a breakdown of my time expenditures:

  • 15% porn and masturbation
  • 15% drugs and hookers
  • 20% finding a creative way to off myself
  • 25% music
  • 25% sports

And while a quarter of my effort is devoted to music, that still doesn’t mean I have the time or patience to sit down and think of new terms for penises, buttholes, or descriptions of bridges, choruses, or riffs.  If I was forced to review music for a living, I would either be the poorest person outside of Djibouti or I’d rent a speedboat, sail to Cuba, smoke sixteen cigars, then wrap tampons around my feet and jump from the HOCSA Building. People would wonder about the tampons, but that would only serve as a distraction for the four butterflies, two elephants, and one hornet that I’d had tattooed on my lower back and ankles. Also a floral design around the inside of my wrists which surrounded the phrase “POWERFUL” on my left, and “WOMAN” on the right. Also that I’d had SRS and trimmed my pubes into the shape of  hearts. Anyway, here are some of the albums I’ve been listening to recently, and my thoughts regarding them.

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1. Leaves’ Eyes – Symphonies of the Night

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This album fucking sucks. I’d like to sugar coat it, maybe offer some valid criticisms, but there’s not much to say. I was so utterly disappointed that by “Galswintha” I was ready to tear off my ears and staple them to an Episcopalian’s ass cheeks. Njord was one of my favorite symphonic metal albums of all time, and it was enchanting, epic, and romantic all at the same time. Vinland Saga was a powerful, mystic ballad forged around a core of emotion. But here, Leaves’ Eyes has taken their formula of folk-y love songs and shit all over it. There is not one track here which is worth listening to again, and I’m half-tempted to simply delete the whole album and demand a refund. I haven’t been this completely let down since Dragonette’s 2012 fuckfactory that was Bodyparts. Leaves’ Eyes has lost their way, and by trading in their dire whimsy for “mainstream” metal, they’ve destroyed their intrigue.

Verdict: Avoid at all costs. If you come in contact with this album, apply vinegar, lye, and applesauce to the affected area and then plug your ears with a nail gun. 1.0/5.0

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2. Deafheaven – Sunbather

shittierboogers

This isn’t music. This is bullshit. This is bullshit wrapped up inside a pretty package and marketed as “Exclusive, Elite Bullshit, suitable for all ages.”

I first listened to Sunbather over the summer months, after Pitchfork gave it an 8.9. I don’t read Pitchfork often, but when I do, it’s exclusively to mock their pompous, pseudo-highbrow, flannel-and-tight-jeans attitude towards music. However, when something begenred as “black metal” gets reviewed by a group of tryharding indie assfucks, it might be worth listening to. At least that’s what I thought.

I was wrong, of course, because Sunbather is so bad I almost gouged out my testicles with a table knife and crammed them into my hearing canals to prevent ever having to experience something so goddamned atrocious again. I listened to it again today, because, I thought to myself, well, maybe I was just in a bad mood. It can’t be that bad, right? I mean it does have a 92 on Metacritic. Yeah let’s listen to it again!

I was wrong again. Sunbather is still fucking bullshit, and I wasted another sixty minutes on this chunk of celestial smegma.

I get black metal. I get thrash, extreme, pagan, doom, death or any other related subgenre. I listen to and even sort of enjoy it on occasion, specifically Dimmu Borgir and Finntroll, but this…this is just…bullshit. It’s as if a couple of emo nerds with big black frames, greasy combovers, and glasses full of gluten-free milk decided that if they mixed Weezer with Cradle of Filth it would be pretty neat. But it’s not. It’s sixty minutes of uninspired noise with a vague screamo-esque backtrack of cockthirsty, lyricless shouts which are about as pleasant as getting your penis caught in a food processor. I can’t even begin to describe how amazingly pointless this heap of rotting corpses is.

But it’s not all bad with Sunbather. Reading critical and listener reviews and then laughing endlessly at their hopeless attempts of describing what is nothing but trash is good fun. For example, the A.V. Club review said “Whenever there’s a pause in the pandemonium, it’s impossible to know if the sonic trajectory is about to rise to the heavens or hit the ground, shattering everywhere. ” What he meant was “this has the sonic legitimacy of two autistic gorillas rubbing their furry ballsacs over an electric guitar for an hour.”

Verdict: If you have two options, one of which is listening to this album and the other is being skinned alive, choose the latter. 0.0/5.0

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3. Icon For Hire – Icon Fo…COME UP WITH A UNIQUE TITLE GOD FUCK

IFHIFH

I know I used the word “tryharding” just a little while ago, but there’s not really a more suitable term for Icon For Hire’s sophomore outing. Their first studio album, Scripted, is very good. It’s polished, convincing, and catchy; I’ve listened to it approximately twenty times and I still enjoy it. This album is nothing like that one. It mixes bits of electronic, parts of country, and even a little hip-hop in an effort to -I assume- innovate. Instead, they’ve produced a mess of what-ifs and dead ends.

Apparently there is/was controversy as to IFH’s status as a “Christian” rock group. From what I’ve heard of “Christian rock,” it relies on powerful melodies and positive mores. It also sounds pretty good. Icon For Hire is nothing like that; it’s shallow and overproduced, and each track screams “we have a label now, and we’re totally mainstream and not Christian.” I don’t know how this album was envisioned, but the final product smells like ass.

Verdict: It sounds like sushi tastes. 1.5/5.0

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4. Icona Pop – This Is…

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This is an excellent album.

I was familiarized with Icona Pop in 2011 and then again in 2012 along with everyone else; “Manners” and “I Love It” were heard by pretty much everyone who finds comfort in the indie-pop/electronic/synthpop genres, and the consensus was and is that Icona Pop is a rising sensation. I don’t mean to claim I liked them before they were huge, but….

This Is… has three stellar tracks and then the rest are worth listening to many times over. “I Love It” is the obvious fore/frontrunner here, but “On a Roll” and “All Night” are incredible followups. “Then We Kiss,” the album’s conclusion, sums up the entire experience rather well; this is one of those rare CDs which lacks a “bad” song. Certainly, not every one is an instant classic, but nothing here screamed “skip me now, I smell butts.”

Verdict: Obtain, listen, enjoy, repeat. 4.0/5.0

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5. Ellie Goulding – Halcyon Days

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Ellie Goulding has one of the most unique voices popular music has ever produced. Sometimes it sounds like a little girl whining about cookies, sometimes it sounds like a sorority chick guzzling a cum-and-champagne cocktail, and other times it sounds like an Auto-Tuned transsexual. On her forgettable, throwaway tracks like “Without Your Love,” “Flashlight,” and “Hearts Without Chains,” her voice is the largest obstacle for enjoyment. It’s just so…grating.

But, on the best songs, her voice is stunning. “Goodness Gracious” stands out as a beacon for originality. It’s peppy and sprightly while being well-engineered and not something [seemingly] conceived for radio airtime. It’s far-and-away the best I’ve ever heard of Goulding, and that’s a bold statement considering how good “Figure 8” and “Don’t Say a Word” are. “Burn” and “Ritual” are also immensely satisfying and, as a whole, Halcyon Days is definitely worth the price of admission.

Verdict: I could easily masturbate while listening to this. 4.0/5.0

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6. Amberian Dawn – Re-Evolution

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Oh, my god. This album is fucking atrocious. It is most definitely the worst symphonic metal production I’ve ever heard, and it makes me want to hire someone to break Capri’s fucking face and rip out her vocal cords so she can never pollute the world with her fizzbitch voice and general cockmonglering existence. Nothing more disastrous has ever happened in this genre, even including when Tarja fucked off from Nightwish.

Amberian Dawn was already hit-or-miss in terms of quality. River of Tuoni was excellent, The Clouds of Northland Thunder was exceptionally bad, End of Eden was passable (except for “Arctica”), while Circus Black was an apex triumph. So when I learned Amberian Dawn had released a new album which consisted of a “best of” tracklist headlined by their new frontwoman, I was excited. And then I listened to it.

Capri, the new singer, sounds like someone invited Justin Bieber, Yoko Ono, Rebecca Black, and Alizée into one big room, mashed them all up, added four or five trucks of cow dung, then had turtles eat the mixture and shit it out all over a nice bed of collard greens. Then had the population of Senegal add AIDS and hopelessness, plus some sand, and then ate and barfed it all over John C. Reilly’s stupid fucking ugly face.

She is the flattest singer of all time. Her vocal range extends from “opera school dropout” to “deaf person getting cochlear implants and hearing herself speak for the first time.” I didn’t even know it was possible to be this flat. I have a very monotone voice. I didn’t have this when I was younger, but after a lifetime of bullshit, it’s sort of developed into a peak-less plateau of monotony. But even I am not this flat. It’s so, so bad. Even worse, she sings with an overproduced urgency as if a few homeless people were digging around in her ass for some shekels.

Yes, this is a collection of Amberian Dawn’s best work. If it were sung by Heidi Parviainen, it would have been a success. But Capri is a dreadful singer. And she’s irritating to look at,  like Robin Tunney mixed with Tia Carrere–and that’s not a fucking compliment. This album isn’t even worth downloading if it were free. The effort required to navigate your browser somewhere, click “download,” and then import the music into your player far outstrips the quality of this dingleberry-ridden cockfarm.

Verdict: I would rather get prostate cancer than listen to this again. 0.0/5.0

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7. Powerwolf – Preachers of the Night

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I’ve made no secret of the fact that Powerwolf is fucking glorious. Bible of the Beast is one of the top five best power metal albums of all time, and Blood of the Saints and Lupus Dei aren’t far behind. I’ve never listened to their first LP because I can’t find it anywhere, legally or otherwise. So when I grabbed Preachers of the Night, I expected a power metal extravaganza worthy of Roy Khan.

Not really what I got.

There’s nothing actually wrong with this album, but there’s nothing outstanding about it either. It plays more like a debut demo than an established act’s fifth studio recording; it sounds identical to its predecessors in a way which leaves nothing to imagination. There isn’t that one epic anthem which stands above the others on your playcount column: Blood of the Saints had “Sanctified With Dynamite,” Lupus Dei had “Saturday Satan,” and Bible of the Beast had “Resurrection By Erection.” Here, there isn’t a standout track. Everything rings of a same-y vibe, and that’s kind of depressing all things considered.

Is it worth listening to? Well yes, and I imagine over the course of the next few months I’ll play it around five times. Is it better than their previous work? Not even close. I expected much, much better.

Verdict: Meh. 2.0/5.0

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Next up: The NexusDeceiver of the GodsWar of Ages, Don’t Look Down, stuff from before 2013

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A quick(ish) note regarding Sunbather

In all honesty, I’m not particularly well-versed in “black metal,” and I’m even less acquainted with hipster jizzgobbling and/or screamo. Black metal is good -for me- in bursts, surrounded by something more symphonic (with the aforementioned two exceptions). I’m going to throw out a number, and I believe it to be accurate within fifteen percent: in my life, I have heard roughly six hundred black metal songs. I don’t consider that a number associated with expert testimony, but neither is it in the vicinity of utter virginity. I also dabble in dreampop, with my number of listens about the same.

That being said, I affiliate the praise and glory surrounding Sunbather with the pure, unadulterated absurdity of modern art. An “artist” can toss paint over a canvas or “draw” a vertical black bar on a white poster board and that is considered art. This sort of thing is not.

Sunbather is a magnet for hipster queefsniffers who desire to be even edgier than making a Nickelback joke. It’s a nice “crossover” between post-rock dreamshit and black death metal. They like to make up fun new genres for this album, like post-black grunge dreamgore deathgaze shiteating metal.

In reality, Sunbather is a flagrant assault on sensibility. It’s fucking god-awful, and calling it “music” is like calling Kendall Jenner an actual celebrity. If I hooked a guitar up to Pro Tools and took a steaming dump on the strings, then rubbed it around with my nuts, it would sound better than this. Someone could have a grand mal seizure while in anaphylactic shock, enter into a coma, and be placed on a MIDI keyboard and produce something more convincing than Sunbather.

I imagine Sunbather was created in one session. A man with a guitar told a man with a voice to start screaming, then he played random notes which in no way meshed with the shouting. Later, a drummer was told to bash away at his instruments for an hour, after which someone from a mental asylum pressed some keys and printed it on CDs, then sent it to Spin and Pitchfork along with an ass dildo which someone had repeatedly used and not cleaned.

If you think Sunbather is music, and that it’s good, just fucking kill yourself.

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