brainwashed

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Menace Ruine, "The Die Is Cast"

Montreal's Menace Ruine stormed onto the extreme music scene in early 2008 with their blistering debut Cult of Ruins. The enigmatic male/female duo's unusual mixture of black metal, noise, and dark ambient quickly won them a lot of fans (the world clearly needs an evil antipole to Mates of State), as they succeeded in sounding like absolutely no one else. A mere eight months later, they have made the dubious career move of temporarily abandoning much of that sound to release a medieval music-based concept album.

Alien8

Menace Ruine - The Die Is Cast

Superficially, The Die Is Cast sounds like the work of a completely different band: Genevieve has completely taken over vocal duties; the pace has slowed from blast-beat intensity to a martial crawl; and all of the shrillness and shrieking have been replaced with somber melodicism. Fundamentally, however, the sound remains quite dark and Menace Ruine’s talent for compelling dark ambient has been amplified. While this album is much more accessible than its predecessor, it doesn’t seem like the band has deliberately softened their sound (the title track ends with some extreme, otherworldly dissonance). More likely, they just wondered what it would be like to be "crushing" rather than "frenzied".

I had read that the intention of this album was to pay tribute to the neo-folk of bands like Death In June, which filled me with apprehension, as I expected an album of dour acoustic dirges. Thankfully, while the foundation of the album is somewhat in that vein, it is often buried beneath layers and layers of buzzing, shimmering feedback that would not be out of place on a Fennesz or Tim Hecker album. As a whole, The Die Is Cast sounds far more like Lisa Gerrard fronting Sunn o))) than anything else. Which is no small achievement, as dabbling in medieval music can easily make a band sound like a bunch of hobbit-obsessed Renaissance Faire creeps.

The opening track ("One Too Many") is an absolute monster. Waves of dark feedback drone and glisten under Genevieve’s coldly beautiful vocals, while distant horns (that are not lame) and an insistent slow-motion thump give the track a very majestic feel. The lengthy drone piece that closes the album ("The Bosom of the Earth") is also a stunner: a haunting wall of feedback and overdriven, sustained guitars builds epicly amidst flourishes of cymbals and distant thundering toms for sixteen amazing minutes.  However, the tracks in between (while quite good) mine very similar territory to one another. Once in a while, a welcome departure occurs (such as the eerie bagpipe interlude in the title track), but I am left wondering how staggering this album could have been with a little more work. As it stands, The Die Is Cast frustratingly avoids being a masterpiece.

Sadly, I will probably never get my wish to hear more work like this, as Menace Ruine have vowed to return to their signature scorching mechanized black metal for the next album. They also have an upcoming collaboration in the works with Merzbow, so I expect they will get some deserved wide-spread recognition in 2009. I will certainly be following them closely- if they continue to evolve at this rate, a uniformly brilliant album can’t be far off.

samples:

 

The Eye: Video of the Day

Larsen

YouTube Video


read more >>>

Review of the Day

MATMOS, "THE CIVIL WAR"
Matador
Upon first listen, The Civil War sounds completely unlike anything I've ever heard from Matmos. Initially, it is quite a struggle to place this new album in context with their previous work, which is characterized by minutely detailed electronica full of samples constructed from non-musical objects and field recordings. In stark contrast, most of the tracks on The Civil War are non-conceptual, traditionally structured songs with easily digestible melodies and chord progressions. Many of the medieval, folk and symphonic instruments on this album reach the listener untouched, without the usual precise surgical edits and digital processing that Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt have built their career on. This will be quite a shock for those who have become acquainted with Matmos through albums such as Quasi Objects and A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure. Even The West, though it was purportedly an exploration of country and blues, still shared the same fascination with sample-derived audio minutiae. So, it's fair to say that The Civil War is quite a departure. Luckily, the gamble pays off. I believe The Civil War is a singularly original record, effortlessly merging the medievalist whimsy of late-60's British folk revivalism with the collective unconscious of America's folk music past, all glued together with Matmos' incredible ear for sonic detail. On The Civil War, Matmos dares to allow simple melodies and crisply reproduced instruments to assert themselves as the primary element of the music. For the most part, Matmos have masked any obvious laptop editing and sequencing, preferring instead to let the digital processing underscore and accentuate the songs, rather than deconstruct them. Drew Daniel and MC Schmidt have spoken about the influence of The Incredible String Band on the new album. With classic albums like The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter and Wee Tam, the Incredibles created a new musical lexicon with their unorthodox, free-form combinations of medieval, Celtic, American, Oriental and Indian folk traditions, which were blended with amazing fluidity and imbued with a pastoral, psychedelic mysticism all its own. With The Civil War, Matmos are creating an ISB-like amalgam for the post-techno generation. "Regicide" opens the album, a lovely tribute to "Chinese White," the opening track to the Incredible's 5000 Spirits or the Layers of the Onion - a hurdy-gurdy drone highlighted by a stately recorder melody and gently fingerpicked acoustic guitar. "Zealous Order of Candied Knights" is a rollicking Rennaisance symphony complete with horn fanfare, courtly drumming and some curiously Appalachain fiddle playing courtesy of guest Blevin Blectum. Throughout the album, instrumental tropes of the American Civil War are resurrected, along with the incongruous drone of synthesizers, including a vintage Buchla expertly played by Keith Fullerton Whitman AKA Hrvatski. These compositions have a free-form looseness, gradually finding themselves within the chaos, morphing into bright, patriotic concertos for piano and electric guitar, or gentle acoustic tributes to John Fahey or John Renbourn. The disarming "YTTE" utilizes samples from a fireworks display, expanding into a shimmering symphony of chimes, autoharp and guitar. "For the Trees" is the repeated musical motif of the album, a sweet, loping melody redolent of a breezy Fourth of July picnic. "The Stars and Stripes Forever" is an odd pastiche on John Philip Souza's patriotic marching-band classic, mixing a sampled instrumental rendition with throbbing beats. "Pelt and Holler" is constructed entirely from samples derived from a rabbit pelt, and as such is the only time Matmos engage their well-known propensity for constructing music from microcosmic sound events. After this brief tangent, Matmos tune into the British folk influence again, this time on "The Struggle Against Unreality Begins," where a majestic steel guitar melody is subtly intensified by sampled sewer pipe, blood and glass. Matmos' unexpected cultural cross-germination of folk traditions has yielded an album of exquisite beauty, an album that on repeated listens becomes more complex even as it affirms its simplicity. The Civil War is simply amazing.

samples:


read more >>>

Login Form



http://soundcloud.combrainwashedcom


Donate towards our web hosting bill!
Shop
		at the iTunes store