Friday, August 06, 2010
Enemy of the Sun
Originally released in 1993, Enemy of the Sun was/is the fourth album from crusty weirdoes Neurosis. This is the record that solidified the quintet’s distinctive style: slow, rumbling streams of sperm whale-heavy grunge wrestling with squid tentacles of samples-frosted shimmer, while a pissed-off drill sergeant, a mournful emo kid and a steroid-addicted grizzly bear trade lines about how one should mistrust to survive, avoid being burned alive. Drums pound unrelentingly, guitars slice like sheets of razors, synths moan and hum, tempos shift like Central Texas weather and dudes scream and yell like UFC fans whose cable has been cut off. It’s like Swans buttfucking Black Sabbath while Ian MacKaye eggs them on. In other words, it ain’t exactly party music, especially not when saddled with ungainly labels like "atmospheric hardcore." (I don’t know what that means, either.) But out of the grisly orgy comes a lot of today’s postmodern metal, and as good, even great, as a lot of that stuff is (cf. Isis and its various spinoffs), there’s nothing like tapping the original source. Raze the Stray, Takeahnase (demo version) and the beastly Cleanse (which ends with a multi-drum solo worthy of a Chinese kodo street gang) set standards for graceful brutality that few would even attempt to maintain. Enemy of the Sun is all about pain, defiance and imagination – the perfect soundtrack for those days when you need to pull your pathetic self up by your bootstraps and make your enemies suffer.
- Michael Toland
"We Sick"/"Holy Man" 7"
Originally released in February as a free download from Buddyhead, these two scorching singles from L.A. scuzz rockers The Icarus Line are now available on a pretty urine-yellow (or "clear green fuzz") slab of vinyl. Reeking of sweat and sex, "We Sick" pulses like thunder in the distance on a blistering August afternoon, guitar licks charged with electricity and the promise of release. "Feel the heat push its way out from the ghettos/All the hopeless fuckers dried up for the summer" oozes lead singer Joe Cardamone, as I suck drops of water from a rapidly-melting ice cube. If "We Sick" is the smoldering tension in the air before the storm hits, "Holy Man" is the storm, all searing psych guitars and thunderclap drumbeats. "Maybe we were just on the scene/Maybe we were just glittering/Here comes your Holy Man" raves Joe, as the storm rages on. This band is headed straight for the sun. I hope the wax doesn't melt.