posted on 1/2008 By:
Dash those hopes of my reviewing a record done by a blind harmonica player from the Deep South...
"That object - quaintly called by the townspeople, Brown Jenkins - had long hair and the shape of a rat, but its sharp-toothed, bearded face was evilly human while its paws were like tiny human hands. It took messages betwixt old Keziah and the devil, and was nursed on the witch's blood, which it sucked like a vampire."
~ "Dreams in the Witch House" -- H.P. Lovecraft
Brown Jenkins -- yes, it's a helluva strange moniker, but it's actually a pretty good fit once you've shelved any preconceived notions and dipped your piddies a bit deeper into the murky depths behind its meaning. Personally, I greatly applaud black metal projects that embrace the strange and tackle topics that stray from the usual Tempter and general tamperings with those who lead not into temptation. After all, there's a whole world of loathsome activities and calamitous corruption out there just ripe for cacophonous choral picking! And who better to offer fealty of hymn towards than one of America's most mangled of minds, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Ok, it's far from uncharted ground, but at least it's a shade different than the Parishioner-punching black metal content we've all been surpassingly barraged by over the past two decades. This one-man black metal outfit from Austin, Texas (further grounds for some good ol' WTF-ing) bids ye to don thine swankiest tinfoil hat and prepare for some sloooooowly slithering Lovecraftian inspired black metal plucked directly from the mouth of madness.
Apart from the project's moniker and this EP's title ("Dagon" was a short story written by H.P. back in 1917), the Lovecraftian tribute here stands more as a metaphorical representation conveyed through feeling as opposed to a literal manifestation delivered through lyrics. Dagonite makes you feel as though you were standing directly within a story like "The Shadow Over Innsmouth", but there's no direct mention of any cryptic, amphibious fiends to point you in the direction of any one specific Lovecraft story, at least as far as I can tell. In fact, the vocal presence on this record is actually quite minimal, and would undoubtedly fall under the John Tardy School of Vocal Training in that they serve as more of a deep, bowel-shuddering instrument than they do an actual voice forking over words.
As far as the rest of Dagonite's sound is concerned, I'd say the old saying "a picture's worth a thousand words" rings about as true as true can be here. One look at the album cover and you'll get a pretty solid understanding of what's in store -- this EP is all about blackness and guitars. Murky, dark and inky. Guitars. Guitars. Guitars. Like sitting in a dripping, foul cavern so devoid of light, you'd swear your eyes were made of obsidian; the only other known presence being a loud guitar strumming nebulous riffs bathed in odd, discordant pluckings (the true signature of US black metal today) a mere inch away from your beaten ears. The drums are thankfully real, but so simple and buried they truly only serve to slowly tick tick tick us ever closer to the madness brought on by those guitars-guitars-guiTARS!!
Whazzat? Wait.....Shhhhhhh!! Did you hear that?! Shhh-shhhHHH!!! That! That gruesome, gravelly roar?! You heard that, didn't you? Am I crazy???
There! There it is again!! What...what the fuck's out there, man?!? AHHHrrrgh! Those fUcKiNg LOUD gui-TARS!!!
And that's the good news. The bad news? By the end of this EP's 36-minutes, you bloody-well get the point. Believe me. Not necessarily a bad thing, but those looking for some melodic hook; some bone-bending vocal slap that really stands out; some semblance of toe-tapping melody to latch onto -- you'll sadly be left beating your head to a pulp against the wall. Solid creepy mood enhancer: poor party record. In the end, I'd certainly consider Dagonite to be an interesting ride for those who enjoy challenging, heavily guitar-driven black metal with a nod to the plod and the odd. Others may be better off directing their attention elsewhere, however.
From what I understand, there's a new full-length dropping soon. While I'd certainly count myself as an interested party, I also hope things get mixed up a bit.
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