Did I mention that the drummer keeps on smacking his crash cymbal? He does that a lot.
P J Lucas 2007-02-28
What is it with drummers in 'epic' bands, and their slavish, inexplicable devotion to the crash cymbal?
The sweaty, bare-chested primates should be strung up by their tattoos and thrashed if they even go near the crash cymbal. It is strictly only to be used in an EMERGENCY, ie: never. Every other beat of the bar? These fools are batsh*t CRAZY.
Exhibit A: the new Explosions In The Sky record. Splendiferous treacly spiderwebs of gossamer, breath-catching beauty - all rendered flat-out unlistenable by the drummer constantly swatting the f***ing crash cymbal. Every. Other. Second.
Exhibit B: Jesu, Conqueror. The second full length record by ex-Godflesh and Napalm Death virtuoso Justin Broadrick, an hour long exercise in confusing the hi-hat with the crash. Broadrick, a noted mentalist and big fan of My Bloody Valentine, is the world's leading expert on distorting the living s**t out of an electric guitar. Which means that Conqueror makes you feel like someone made you a really cool scarf, but made it out of iron ore and then wrapped your entire head in it, melted it to your face while you were asleep and then you woke up under a tectonic plate.
So, all good on that front. But once you begin to notice the regular, invasive, and non-lubricated abuse of the crash cymbal (remember drummers: Never Use), you can't stop listening to it. You come back to it like a crack pipe. Like when you start hearing birdsong at night and you can't sleep for 6 eon-like hours, your treacherous ears amplifying every twittery squawk until insomnia drives you clean out of your mind and you end up naked in the street whipping at the trees with a bike chain.
Anyway, Broadrick and his been-around-the-block band mate chums have crafted a rapturous record in Conqueror. For a man who used to be in Napalm Death, purveyors of the most criminally insane music ever committed to tape, there’s a curious fragility in the wispy vocals that float around, washed in reverb. It’s a far more melodic effort than earlier Jesu records, reminiscent of those nice bits on Fear Factory’s Demanufacture when the singer would stop grunting for a bit and sing a proper tune. What else happens? Did I mention that the drummer keeps on smacking his crash cymbal? He does that a lot. If Napalm made a shoegazing record, it would sound like this. Heavier and more screwed-up than depleted uranium. Winner.