Monday, February 15, 2010


Deep-rooting black metal heavily indebted to depresso-post rock that becomes more and more impressive as i reflect on it further. With their name being as such you'd expect an onslaught of regret and self-loathing on par with such acts as Austere and Shining but instead you're presented with a very somber, stately, deliberately paced 46 minutes of spaced out, extremely melodic black metal bearing as much in common with the Deftones and the Cocteau Twins as the aforementioned wrist-slitters. I recently heard someone use the term "time warping black metal" to describe the approach of bands like Krallice and Weakling, and in terms of both of those artists' approaches the term certainly fits-so much unrelenting musical violence, delivered in epic states of blurring fuzzblast and endless repetition to incredibly trance-inducing states of mental thrall and hypnosis. But there's another approach to time warping, that being the gratuitous use of delays and echoes along with languid, restless and somewhat lazy performances of simple, dreamy song structures, and it's this approach that Self-Inflicted Violence gravitate to with considerable success. There's no energy here to really speak of. Things move along without much emotional investment or physical prodding-these songs just drift and exist until they peter out of their own accord. No one tries very hard and the songs lope along at the pace of their own being. That isn't to say they're void of ideas or attractions-they're just brought into breath and left to hang for the listener to affix their own meanings to. As a portrait of incredibly bleak existential angst, the depiction of despair and boredom and melancholia as defined by Munch's "The Scream" or Kubrick's "Eyes Wide Shut," "A Perception of Matter and Energy" succeeds brilliantly. There is a feeling of restlessness and unfulfillment at work, a gnawing feeling that everything isn't as it should be and that something is always going to be wrong. This record does not wallow in depression and unhappiness; rather it shines a light on the smaller, more biting sorrows that chomp away at us day to day, illuminating all the missing bits of flesh that will eventually become infected, festering wounds of sorrow and failure. Promises will become broken, friendships will decay, love will turn to bitterness, but this record paints a picture of a time and place before those things happen. It's an idea that they will, an acknowledgement (by you) that they could, and a cold sense of fear and discomfort that begins to seep into your psychic being. There's a lot at work here and i find it remarkable that what at first seems like a fairly average black metal album eventually piles up all this emotional shit on you, shit that isn't anger or depression or sadness but something else more intangible, something that skirts the confines of definition. The few reviews i've read regarding this album have all rated it fairly low, saying that it isn't original in the slightest and it doesn't reach the peaks inhabited by loftier suicidal BM bands. While there is some truth to those assessments, i think the point is being missed. This album strikes me as a much more intellectual exercise, a nebulous statement of philosophy that goes beyond just being music. I think it's an incredible achievement.

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