Pittsburgh's Human Quena Orchestra, the project of
Creation Is Crucifixion's Ryan Unks and Nathan Berlinguette,
crafted dense, funereal, doom-influenced, industrial-metal music on
Means Without Ends (Daft, 2007).
The slow crashing notes of The Ballad Of Ayn Rand set the tone for the
rest. The most original part is probably the one that belongs to
apocalyptic futurism, notably the hissing maelstrom with terrified screams of
Believer. But the duo is more interested in staging highly emotional
theatrical pieces. The 16-minute Fascist Haircut wakes up after
six relatively uneventful minutes and then stages an expressionist kammerspiel
with the guitar and the drums playing like slowly-advancing machine guns
and whirling buzzing electronic noise floating around.
The simpler the music the more harrowing the rituals that are evoked,
and so the brief Savior for electrical shocks and eerie drones might
constitute the emotional peak.
The Politics Of The Irredeemable (Crucial Blast, 2009) was perhaps
a bit less ghastly but no less extreme.
The sporadic crashing clusters of the twelve-minute Progress
shelter jarring electronic drones that wed wildly distorted guitar glissandoes.
The duo goes for the jugular with the fourteen-minute Mores (Part Two),
which is a monster cacophonous mayhem (despite the tedious five-minute coda).
A peak of psychological fear is reached in Aspiration:
the dense magma of electronic and electric sounds and gong-like beats (and perhaps vocals) mold its concentrate of suspense.
There is still theater in this ugly noise:
the occasional painful vocals that search
the skeletal electroacoustic soundscape of
Denial (Part One) sound like an actor on the stage of a desolate
This "doom opera" ends with the thick fog of Denial (Part Two) in which
all the elements of the previous pieces are mixed, blended and dispersed.
There is still absolutely no melody in this music.
A Natural History Of Failure (Utech, 2010) was another
multilayered symphony of angst and played in an even more self-flagellating tone.
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