Release DetailsLABEL Anticulture Records
RELEASED ON 5/21/2007
In The Realm Of The Senseless
posted on 1/2008 By:
I have an announcement. Yes, I realize this is breaking up the Jerry Lewis sponsored Job for a Cowboy lash-a-thon, but you need this information more than kids with muscular dystrophy need a cure and more than net trolls need electronic walls of anonymity. Ready? Alrighty, just promise me you’re sitting down, strapped to whatever ghoulish apparatus is currently holding you tight in your S&M dungeon/computer room. Okay, here it goes:
The Senseless is awesome.
There you go. That’s it. Thanks for reading. Long review? Nah, don’t need one. I’m convinced that’s all the information you’re going to need on this one. Hit their page, check out the samples and be forever smitten with their style, a great death/grinding cacophony they’ve dubbed “extreme happy metal.” Members of The Berzerker, Akercocke, and Evile pack those bizarrely melodic riffs usually associated with Czech acts into a fun, sorta tongue-in-cheek, Strapping Young Lad-influenced (production and attitude wise, rather than style) death album. It’s slick, thick, and quick, the kind of album that starts off as a guilty pleasure until you realize that it has been dominating your deck for a week. Not only that, but it’s unique without being overly quirky. The genre-bouncing is tastefully and subtly done and you never really recognize that they’re f’ing around with set forms until you give it a deep listen. But, that would be making this album out to be far more serious than it actually is. It’s just fun, and if you’re looking for some killer and catchy death/grind that delivers its tight musicianship and big riffs with a wink and a smile, then here you go. Get an A. Hamilton out of your wallet and get thee to a record store. And, I’m confident, my friends, that’s the shortest convincing argument I’ll ever have to write. Seriously, that’s it. Back button. Now.
But...I couldn’t let you go that easily, could I? For those that are unconvinced and want to cause irrevocable damage to their eyes by scanning two thousand tiny white words, I’ve got more for you. What the hell, right? What the hell indeed, because I’m going to make a claim so ludicrous that I’m honestly not even certain that I can back it up. Honest to god, I don't believe my powers of persuasion are that strong, but here it goes anyway: You should buy In the Realm of the Senseless for all of the non-listening metal people you know if you‘re looking to get them into our wonderful genre. Oh yes, for the record, I am completely serious. Here’s why:
First, understand where I’m coming from: I’m probably just like you, a metalhead in a self-imposed exile, working away the days in this bland materialistic word. So, yeah, believe it or not, out in the world of white collars and Garfield covered cubes, yours truly does not wear a spiked cod-piece and I don’t release a King Diamond banshee wail every time I open my mouth (“Ahhh! I need this report by Fridaaay!”). I conform. I’m just a normal dude surrounded by other normal folks that are all trying to get through our nine-to-fives, living for a weekend where we’ll do more work trying to have fun than we did all week at the office. And, predictably, I don’t try and rock the boat. When personal questions arise, most of the time I take the path of least resistance. I’m just not one for confrontation, if only to survive the day without starting an interoffice war.
But, there’s one topic o’ discussion that I don’t back down from and that’s my listening preferences. So, when people ask, I tell them that I listen to metal. And, really, after seeing the way my office interrogators' faces contort, you’d think that the fact that I brandish the horns when a wicked guitar run hits my ears the right way makes me out to be even worse than if I asked everyone to join me in the conference room for a goat sacrifice at quarter-till. That’s because, in my office at least, metal is seen in a uniformly negative light. That’s not exactly groundbreaking stuff to you though, is it? You're not shocked. Anyone that has suffered through the scorn of a non-listener has heard that same stuff since…shit…forever. To them, I’m sticking strong with an adolescent addiction, something that I can never quite grow out of. And, because they’ve never taken the time to really listen, everything sounds the same to ‘em; it’s all loud, evil, and totally inaccessible.
And, it’s not just my office, most of the people that we meet in our lives are like that, aren't they? They're all a bit like Ken Tucker, coauthor of Rock of Ages: The Rolling Stone History of Rock & Roll. For shits and giggles, here's my favorite Tucker quote that was dug up by the insufferable Joe Stuessy:
“…the whole appeal of heavy metal is that it stays roughly the same.“
That…doesn‘t even really make sense and this is coming from a guy that is paid to study music. You’d think he’d be a bit more open-minded. But, like everyone else, he exhibits the same kind of mental metal block: He can’t relate to it so it sounds the same.
This is where The Senseless come back into the equation. On the song “Vacation”, the band drops this lyrical gem during the second chorus:
“I need a life/ I need vacation/ I want some vodka/ Now give me shelter.”
Granted, it’s delivered in a husky death growl, but those are words that everyone can relate to. I mean, it’s not exactly Merle Haggard (“I’m gonna bree a little bit of these workin’ man blues”), but it’s not dragon slaying, zombie feeding, or ruminations on the metaphysical. It’s about needing a damn break, something that everyone pines for throughout the working day. Now, is that line alone going to break down the wall that most have constructed? No sir/ma'am, but it’ll help and it might make some folks a bit more receptive to the tunes on a whole. (Okay, yeah, I’m a dreamer. I know that).
Let’s change up speeds real quick; same subject, but a different attack. When we think about why people don’t like metal, we’re inevitably going to touch on one of my favorite discussion topics. I don’t know how well you keep up with the lashes around here, because on my reviews you have to scroll so far down to find them (the amount of cases of carpal tunnel I’ve caused in scrolling fingers is amazing), but this question was recently posed: (And I'm paraphrasing here) When getting someone into subgenre of metal, do you start them with the best or the most accessible? After a week of pondering, I’ve decided that the answer is, uh, why not both? In the Realm of the Senseless seems to fit that very need. Oh, not because it’s the best of the genre, but because it does do a bit of borrowing from the best.
For instance, “Unprincipled” takes a Meshuggah-like riff and strips it of the complex polyrhythm, at once maintaining the catchiness and keeping it digestible at the same time. The rest of the tracks follow suit by taking something that would be hard on newbie ears and reforming it and reshaping it into these mini extreme happy metal compositions that flat out work. Because the fat has been cut, the eye rolling will be kept to a minimum. I mean, “Promise”’s opening riff is a little slice of Lykathea Aflame without what makes them so difficult to grasp for a non-listener. No crazy Tomás Corn rolls, no atypical riffing, no weirdness; it’s just a close approximation of that kind of bouncy Elvenefris riff. So, it works for the non-listener because it draws them in. It’s also easy to get because it dodges the genre-killers that keep most at bay. (And, damnit, it’s not ironic. It’s not an indie nerd’s metal band with faux-galloping bullshit. It’s straight-up grinding death). Plus, with the flawless production, the usual petty complaints of “I can’t hear what’s going on!” will never occur. It’s almost like The Senseless made a conscious attempt to bring together the legions of diehard fans that shit themselves over this style and those that are just on the edge, those that maybe want to take the jump into extreme metal but don’t know where to start. Will this be the great converter that we mixtape makers have been waiting for? Don’t know, but it’s the closest thing to a metal Chic Tract that we’ve had in long time and everyone at my place of work is getting a copy. I hope they "get it", because it's too good not to.
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