10 May 2005

Dusk Falls Upon the Temple of the Serpent on the Mount of Sunrise

I reviewed a few CDs for some of my outlets.

1. Nile, Annihilation of the Wicked (Relapse): Probably the best death metal band in America. I liked their last album, In Their Darkened Shrines, so when the opportunity came to get an advance of the new one, I said, "Why not?" I enjoyed this one, too, but Nile is one of those bands that I like on paper almost better than I like, y'know, actually listening to. For lack of anything better, this post is named after the disc's opening track (and it's not even the longest song title on Annihilation of the Wicked: That would be "Chapter of Obeisance Before Giving Breath to the Inert One in the Presence of the Crescent-Shaped Horns," which proves that they have a sense of humor). All of Nile's material revolves around the mythology and superstitions of ancient Egypt, which gives them a unique niche in the metal underground. Also, their former bass player was named Chief Spires, which is pretty bad-ass.

2. Statistics, Often Lie (Jade Tree): I was set to hate this CD because it's one of Dallas Dalley's band, and he plays in Desaparecidos with Conor Oberst, the most overrated musician in rock today, but damned if the disc isn't really fucking good. It's jittery, retro-sounding pop with traces of shoegazer guitar swirls and little traces of glitch techno thrown in for spice. It kind of reminded me of Floraline and Bon Voyage in style and tone; not an identical match for these bands, but listening to Often Lie put me in a similar headspace. This one might make my year-end best of. Dallas will be thrilled.

3. Coliseum, Goddamage (Manic Ride): They're hardcore punk, technically, but there's enough metal in their sound to seal the deal for me. This disc has a wonderful guitar sound -- thick and chunky, like good salsa. Coliseum is a local band, and I kind of envy their frontman, Ryan Patterson, because he plays in two decent groups (he's in Black Cross, too), plus he's a freelance graphic designer, plus he's King Cred of Louisville. I mean no disrespect when I say he probably doesn't feel as if he works for a living because his jobs (on paper, at least) are so rewarding. Of course, I don't know him, so he might also be a line cook at Golden Corral or something similarly heinous.

LEO ran a somewhat edited version of my COC review, i.e., they took out the cock joke. So here's the original draft for your edification:

Corrosion of Conformity
In the Arms of God


Back to their superior, full-length moniker after flirting with the acronym “COC” (which can be misinterpreted as “cock,” of course), Corrosion of Conformity’s long-awaited new disc In the Arms of God is manna from above for those who like hard rock and metal but deplore the way the genre has evolved into primarily too-fast playing and Cookie Monster vocal stylings. COC does it up right: big, thick slabs of humbucker-fueled riffs, underlaid with a rhythm section that both rocks and swings, a healthy understanding that quiet and slow bits are just as important as loud and fast ones, and best of all, songs. Album opener “Stone Breaker” kicks off with churchy keyboards that give way to a bluesy guitar figure before exploding into the familiar crushing rock. Pepper Keenan has a great voice; the way he makes his entrance bellowing the word “scorn” is worth the cost of the CD. Arabian flourishes add a “Kashmir” flavor to “Rise River Rise,” while “Infinite War” recalls COC’s roots as a hardcore band. Matter of fact, it’s hard to reconcile COC’s long-ago punk days with their current status as America’s premiere Southern-fried sludge metal band, so effortless does the band make it seem. With Keenan’s side project Down dissolved and that Metallica gig falling through, let’s hope it doesn’t take Corrosion of Conformity another five years for a follow-up.

Finally, the Van Halen party wrapped up last Friday.

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