Tragedy And Weeds
posted on 4/2010 By:
I am man enough to admit defeat. I tried to give Abstract Spirit’s Tragedy and Weeds a fair shake, but it proved too much for me. During my first listen to the album I fell asleep less than halfway through, although, in Abstract Spirit’s defense, it was bedtime. Attempt number two suffered a similar fate. For my third attempt I started the album halfway through, in hopes of making it to the end. After the longest half-hour lunch break of my life, the closing strains of “Sepulchral Winter” finally hit my ears. In the past few days I have contemplated giving Tragedy and Weeds another listen, as I generally like to give a record, at the very least, three full listens before I attempt to write about it. However, the prospect of another spin of this album filled me with such a sense of dread that I threw in the proverbial towel. Life is too short and this record is too damn long.
On paper Abstract Spirit’s style of funeral doom would be, if not up my particular alley, up one nearby. I am not ordinarily one to shrink at the prospect of long, slow and heavy: I spin Sleep’s Dopesmoker with some regularity; I count Winter’s Into Darkness among my personal favorites; I have even listened to Warning’s Watching from a Distance without slitting my wrists. (It was a near thing, though.) Tragedy and Weeds, however, has proven too minimalist, even for me. The album consists of six tracks, the briefest of which is over nine minutes long. There is little to differentiate one bloated song from the next; the music consists entirely of slow trudging chords that fail to rise to the level of anything recognizable as a riff, over which keyboards and synthesized horns sketch skeletal melodies, while deep growls drone out indecipherable lyrics. There are of course moments where some semblance of a tune emerges, but they are few and fleeting, and I will be damned if I am going to plow through this record again to pinpoint them. You will just have to take my word for it. The lone standout track is “Sepulchral Winter” which is born aloft by denser orchestration and some elegant, piano melodies, creating an atmosphere both melancholy and majestic. But even that bit of tunefulness only lasts until the vocals enter.
The shame of it all is that Tragedy and Weeds is probably an artistic triumph for Abstract Spirit. This sprawling opus is likely the product of countless hours of painstaking recording. I suspect that the band agonized over the placement of each and every dolorous chord and mournful note. Unfortunately, I just don’t give a shit. One more listen to Tragedy and Weeds and the funeral in this funeral doom would be mine.
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