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

The Sea and Cake

YouTube Video


read more >>>

Review of the Day

PHILIP JECK, "STOKE"
Touch
Philip Jeck always seems to surprise and surpass expectation every time I hear him perform. I've heard him spin out haunting loops for avant garde dancers to strut about to in art spaces. I've heard him spin stickered platters alongside guitarist Vergil Sharkya and fractal videographer Gerd Willschvetz in an underground car park in Liverpool. I've heard his scaffolded ranks of old car boot turntables mash up crackly memory traces from worn needles bumping into wires and stickers in a London gallery. I've heard him go walkabout at a festival opening, cutting up dictaphone recordings with the pause button. After his ambitious quartet of lengthily (r)evolving 'Vinyl Codas' released by the Intermedium label, he returns to Touch with seven shorter live excerpts from performances in Liverpool, Manchester, Osaka, Tokyo and Vienna. With only a single sample Casio keyboard to aid the junkyard turntables spinning varispeed deteriorating vinyl, he necessarily limits his options but unlocks endless potentials from abundant alternate histories coded in the grooves. When he loops records at low speed, worn old cliches morph into haunting new textures. A phantasmal keyboard hoot that forms the bedrock of "Pax" sounds like it might've morphed slowly from a cheesy old J. Geils Band charity shop hit. "Above" cuts scratchy old vinyl into train chug clunks and chicken squawk with some slowed speech narration to explain what exactly isn't going on. "Lambing" is a home recording, soundtracking a film by Lucy Baldwyn, and wouldn't sound out of place on his previous Touch CD 'Surf,' with groaning ghost vox repeating an eerie refrain over the crackle'n'drone spin, until slowly a sunrise glow cracks dawn beneath the locked groove rhythm faultlines. "Vienna Faults" waltz around like a music box in a tumble dryer. There's some crazily mangled sitar "Below," reversing into hollow metal hammering, cut dead by a sudden descending blues guitar riff. "Open" seems to rework familiar noises from 'Surf' into a noisier delayed clatter. "Close" does just that, with some more sitar loops, more meditative but just as playful as before. Stray starry plucked fragments drop in at odd angles until a loop locks and deteriorates to a stutter as a single piano note bashes to infinity. A ghost choir of Hamaiian folk singers emerges from the vinyl crackle fog to bid a fond farewell. If you haven't heard Philip Jeck before, this is not his most immediate recording and 'Surf' or the 'Vinyl Coda' series might be better ports of entry. He has not yet left the building.

 

samples:



read more >>>

Login Form



http://soundcloud.combrainwashedcom


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