Seven Days Ov Diskografies: Masses Consumed at the Pyre
Come for the music, stay for the words of seeming wisdom.
If you’ve ever been down to the wonderland known as ToH’s Facebook Group, you might have noticed that I spent an entire week listening to full discographies of bands, naturally, seven per day.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably realized this article has something to do with the said week. It would be a little futile to just do seven posts about seven bands each, as I’m sure you all have plenty of music to listen from the Toilet already, so instead this is going to be a little different (and not nearly as long). Instead I’m just going to be stating some obvious facts you all already knew towards the end of this collections of various noises of different levels of pleasure, sometimes wrongly accused of being music.
Shrapnel Storm is a death metal band following the trail of the sacred Thrower ov Bolts of all sizes, even if their footsteps ring with less melody. No fooling around with strange rhythms or experimenting with songwriting, very meat and bones death metal. On the downside, they are clearly lacking in variation, which might prove fatal sooner or later. They have released four EPs/demos and are due to release a full-length this spring. Exactly the kind of music that is meant to be experienced live with a beer; it doesn’t quite hit home on an album, especially with a guitar tone not-quite-meaty-enough.
Vulture Industries has been one of my favorite bands for a while now, but I haven’t really gotten as excited about any pre- The Tower albums. They play avant-garde-ish metal, but manage not to walk in the wake of Arcturus’ footsteps. Slightly angular drum playing, at times even black metal-ish guitar playing and Bjornar E. Nilsen’s vocals form a nice attack, but the band never speeds up or goes really proggy or any other thing you would think, or hope, of a band like Vulture Industries. They are one of the few bands whose lyrics are actually good, I mean a great riff isn’t that hard to find, RotW proves it weekly, but give me a well written line with a meaning and I’ll be amazed. Most bands that manage to write a line that stays with you never hit the spot twice, but I’m having high hopes for VI. The lines come from “The Hound” off of “The Tower”, the albums concept is: “Money is power, this is the truth.” but this concept has nothing to do with how the lyrics resonated with me. They seemed to touch me on a far deeper and personal level, stripped of all the albums context. These lines do not follow each other in this order and many have been left out, because as I said it did not touch me in context but as separate lines.
“There lies a beast, near the top of the stairs. Weary and weak, in its final years.
Its years of glory now long past and gone; its body quakes, throbbing from the shame, of its fall from grandeur into the bitter abyss, the oblivion of the useless and the maimed.
I used to hear it call my name, but the howl turned to a wail. As the hound yearns, the past burns the beast at the top of the stairs…
…a feeble shadow of what was once feared by us all. He’s a reluctant derelict from a bygone time, still sending shivers down many a spine, but a stranger still among its own kind, this pitiful ghost.
Hear the hound keeps calling, as it used to know our names, but it can’t recall them as its grip did slowly wane. Yet the hound keeps calling, as it world keeps falling…”
I’m not saying this is the greatest of lyricism, as a form it is not, but it’s content touched the hollow heart of this old beast.
You can listen to “Pills Of Conformity” for a showcasing of their more metal side.
Funeral Doom is a very demanding genre. It commands as much attention as hectic prog or the weedliest of deedilies, yet far less is happening during songs that clock at ten to forty minutes. The Howling Void is one of the few “easier” bands in the scene. Melodic leads break the riffs, and keyboards are used for more than just the layering of texture. Occasionally the thundering roar of distant drums disappears, and flaming volleys of musket fire and guitar halt from bringing down enormous fragments from the vaults, to be succeeded by profound silence broken only by the ambience of synths, now embracing your existence.
Now what would be a day on the toilet, or in the Toilet, be without some Death Industrial? A whole lot of crap, that’s what. Trepaneringsritualen, who’s Bandcamp you can enter here, mixes up his rhytmic industrial/noise mash with a healthy, gloomy gothicness and outright listenable, melodic pulse. Humanity deserves to be flushed down the drain, but it is not a concern here; instead magick and religion are at play here and it shows. And go give Thomas Ekelund a like on Facebook.
But what is it like to listen to so vast amounts of music then? It doesn’t take much to guess: awful. In a normal situation music provides a break, an alternative to the essence of your existence by alternating the surrounding space (I am NOT going to go deeper into this, no worries), but proceeding as I did alters the surroundings for so long, the altered state becomes the norm. The shape of one’s homeostasis shifts.
Days become filled with less silence than noise. Music becomes less enjoyable and more drudgery. It becomes irrelevant to actually listen to the music and sooner or later you find yourself enjoying silence for a few minutes a day only to provide yourself a change, and then go back to listening to music because you’re too tired to listen to any more silence. Roles are reversed.
Now it may be going too far to say that all this happened to me (to this severity) during the course of only seven days, but by the end of the week the symptoms were clear. Music was consumed only for the sake of consuming it. This kind of “listening” deprives music of its subjective pleasantness. Whether it is good or bad makes absolutely no difference as the consuming continues.
This doesn’t mean you should stop listening to new music altogether or reserve only an hour a day for music. No, It means that when you feel you ought to push “stop”, you push “stop”.