posted on 9/2012 By:
One of the great slash shitty things about metal, the double necked flying V guitar of dual-phalanges philosomosizing, is how it deals with the passage of time. In this particular case, it's realizing it's always going to be the early '90s somewhere. Whole landfills have been stuffed with Far Sides since Dreams of the Carrion Kind, yet 21st century digital boys will forever eschew the avant-garde's theoretical tinkering and blissfully blast in a bygone era of slit guts, of mutilated tombs, of suffering children. It's the vending machine model in action; dudes will drop out, but there's a freshly-bagged band ready to move in and take their place. No matter how many genre rat-kings are created or how many gigawatts an amp will be able push out, you can bet someone is studying your favorite album like Ikea instructions, making an argument for Eternalism with every twist of the hex key, erecting something as rewarding as it is frustrating.
Rewarding because it rips just the way you like it. Frustrating because you've been hearing it for so long, you've forgotten how to really listen to it.
To its credit, Resurgency will give you a spirited mauling before settling on a side. No matter how you feel about the New School of Old School Death, you'd be a nitpicky prick to say this band doesn't know how to build the br00ful. The overall execution belies its light discography, showcasing chops aplenty and a real handle on how to carve the gears that make the hands on the classic clock move. Let's call a witness: “Black Hole of Antiverse” evokes the insidiously hooky groove of a tank driven by Gavin Ward and Barry Thompson, with tremolo tracks easily skating over the pounding mounds of percussion. Here, guitarist Vaggelis F. and drummer George K. shine, showcasing the kind of ESP-interplay only forged by long hours in the practice space. One would hesitate to call them tight, but there's a wonderful interlocking cooperation between the two as Vaggelis's riffs rip and tear like incisors and George's fills act like the molars grinding down the rest. And, thankfully, the other bits of the Resurgency anatomy aren't malformed: Tolis B.'s bass backbone holds this body upright without a hint of scoliosis and John P.'s serviceable bellows, while rote, don't distract the listener, never dressing False Enlightenment in the kind of secured-by-Rubik's-Cube chastity belt fickle fans refuse to unlock.
But that's part of the problem, too. This is a sound that has been fucked a lot and the overall memorability suffers because of it. Highlights such as the brief infantry crawl through no man's land mud in “Mouth of Hades” won't boot high school trigonometry out of your brain meat and nest in its place because it's so familiar. Hell, some iteration is probably already there, just like how your first backseat blunder isn't erased by a recent friends-with-benes montage. Let's go deeper: Think of the spoils of a repeatedly waged bar war, a long night of drinks and winks netting another human to play an adult game of addition by subtraction, and then, when tavern gamesmanship wins out, monotonously going through the motions once the clothes are drunkenly shed. Yeah, end goals are met and, perhaps, met through great skill, but it's not going to be the stuff of deathbed reveries. Likewise, in the cold morning light of this CD spinning to a stop, nary a thrusting chord progression will bleed into the doldrums of the paradigm shifting and synergistic hum of the boardroom during a mandatory Monday check in. Will old conquests fill the space? Sure. The dissected bowels of Autopsy mark our minds like a birthmark on face of Gorbachev because, most likely, it was a sound we had to work on, a sound we had to chase, a sound we didn't have in a night. Something as sloppily inebriated on nostalgia's nectar as False Enlightenment? Something so easy? Eh, not so much.
Which brings us to the bigger question: Why is that? Why do we always think lesser of the waves hitting the beach when the tide begins to pull away? Is it to Resurgency's detriment that it sees the '90s as an endlessly looping, sectioned off block of existence, freed from our perception of time as the forward momentum of ticks and tocks? Is it fair to hear this as anything but forty-one minutes of scènes à faire?
Answering yes means siding with those seeing music as inherently less if it putters down a freeway instead of working on the construction crew, leveling mountains and bulldozing the path for all to follow. Setting such guidelines positions music that should be enjoyed as music that should be revered, turning pleasure into a ultra-subjective gymnastics competition, complete with degree of difficulty modifiers and intense disagreements with fellow judges on the objectivity of subjectivity. Rev. Campbell is not impressed.
Answering no, though, means ignoring two decades of bands streamlining a sound down to its barest, most essential elements. At this point, anything less than greatness is a let down; the formula so exactingly configured, it now exudes an Einsteinian beauty in its comparative simplicity. Yet, even with a full, conscious reliance on nailing what makes death metal of yore endure, there's something rather unnatural in the new acting like the old. It's a kid in his dad's suit, a paperback in a used book shop without that old book musk; it's missing an intangible element that, ultimately, makes it fit, makes it attractive. A band can dumpster dive for the finest cuts discarded behind the finest genre joints, but it's going to smell a little shitty, as one often does after rooting around in decaying detritus.
And, there we are, the rewards and frustrations. It's a damn tough decision to mull over since both answers deal with how we personally feel about the grains of sand tumbling down the hourglass. Really, as you knew it would be, the ball is your court. Resurgency upholds their end of the bargain, delivering competent death metal. Another witness? The last minute of “Psychosis” spins straw into gold as four talented gravediggers drop your coffin six feet deep with a section gloriously stretched by the rack. It makes for a pretty bold line on the x axis, that's clear. However, which element of time you favor will drive it up or down the y. Live in the past? The line barely rises, strapped with diving weights calibrated for Considered Dead. Miles ahead, plotting the future? The line dives, the weight of possibilities battling buoyancy. However, if you're in the here and now, eyes and ears wide open to a present unclouded by expectations? Watch the line climb. Maybe that's where we should push ourselves to be, a present where we hear something as “good” and stop, drop, and extol; a utopia not banished by overwrought aestheticians in cheap clothing festooned with the malignant logos of agreed upon gods. Or, as Resurgency's album title suggests, maybe we're abusing our divinely imparted right as humans, inferring too much, and not realizing it's all a bunch of bullshit. And that's probably it, right? Right.
So, we end as we begin, accomplishing nothing besides highlighting an up-and-comer worthy of watch-list inclusion and twisting our ankles on one of the great slash shitty forks in the road of metal; there's a right path, certainly, but there will always be a left hand path, too.
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