Record Swap: Cybernetic Vs. MoshOff
In this edition of Record Swap, MoshOff uploads a proggy, varied Dream Theater album to Cybernetic Organism’s neural net, and receives a bleak, droning Lustmord album in retaliation. Will MoshOff’s world darken as he submits to the endless void, or will the cyborg’s world brighten as he learns to love humanity? The rules for Record Swap are simple: no research, no foreknowledge, no mercy.
MoshOff’s Assignment: Lustmord’s Heresy (1990)
As a huge fan of Lustmord’s work, this album is in extremely regular rotation at my place. I love it for its innate ability to transplant you into another world with its unwavering low end and spacious, bleak atmosphere. It’s not for everyone though, so I’m interested to see if Mosh can find something to like in the dark. – Cybernetic
Full disclosure: I’ve only ever heard of Lustmord because of the remixes he did for everyone’s favorite Morbid Angel album. My understanding of the industrial genre is limited to Fear Factory and not much else, so naturally I’m expecting this to sound nothing like that. Let’s see if I’m right…
Right out of the gate, the first track sounds like it could be the soundtrack to a documentary about dark, desolate underground caves. Reading the album’s description, it turns out that it was actually recorded in mines, catacombs, etc. Screams end the track. I am now tremendously unsettled.
The second song is making me a bit drowsy, but I stay awake for fear of the images that my subconscious might conjure up while this aural despair seeps into my brain. Track three yields even more cavernous voices. I enjoyed sleeping while I could, I guess.
The rest of the album is basically variations on an intense feeling of hopelessness; let’s just say I wouldn’t ever jam this at the gym. I could see myself meditating to this if I didn’t have to periodically rear my head to make sure there’s nothing there. I guess that’s why they call it dark ambient. The more you know. – MoshOff
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Cybernetic Organism’s Assignment: Dream Theater’s Falling Into Infinity (1997)
Falling into Infinity is a hard album to classify, even for the most diehard of Dream Theater fans. As my duty as a hopeless DT fanboi, I have tasked CyO with sifting through this varied and often overlooked album to see if he can find something worth his while. – MoshOff
Aside from some scarce knowledge about Mike Portnoy via countless Blabbermouth headlines and hearing a few snippets of 54-minute songs many years ago, I don’t know very much about Dream Theater, and I wouldn’t call myself a fan of the prog genre. Still, this listening experience wasn’t quite as painful as I was expecting, but I won’t be buying a Dream Theater album anytime soon. Sorry Mosh.
The opening track “New Millenium” has a decent driving song vibe, despite the presence of an “everything’s gonna be alright” in the lyrics and faux Axl Rose octave vocals. “You Not Me sounds” very eager to jump into the new (at the time) post-grunge rock sound, but the cheezy synths ruin its posturing like so many parents at their child’s first gig.
“Hollow Years” sounds like AM Gold, and I think James LaBrie is using a pitch-shifter on his voice. It sounds weird and I can’t get past it. Also, the lyrics “she’s not the kind of girl…” made my eyes roll out of my head and now I’m blind, typing purely on muscle memory.
Dream Theater are nothing if not multifaceted; they seem able to shift from rock to ballad to progressive to easy listening in a way that feels natural (most of the time), which is probably a large part of their appeal. This album sounds like a huge pastiche of Alice in Chains, Pink Floyd, Pure Moods, a bit of The Eagles and much more, which speaks volumes about their combined musical knowledge and technical ability, but, in my mind at least, makes them sound like they’re trying to get a little bit of everything onto an album in order to cast as wide of a net as possible in the interest of earning new listeners. It’s true that the more contact I have with humans, the more I learn, but I think I’ll hold off on further contact with these guys. – Cybernetic
It appears that this week’s duel ended in a draw. Rumor has it that the Robot and the Spaniard are still slapping each other to this day, locked forever in an eternal melodrama. This is the essence of Record Swap. Want to get involved in Record Swap? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.