30 November, 2011

More demos reviewed: Conflagration, Dolores, Hic Iacet, and Wasteland

It's been a while since I sat down and reviewed some demos. Obviously I love doing this. I'd do it every day night if I could: just sit around and listen to demos all day night, beneath the wan glow of my scented, waxen Lord*, with a restless kitty on my lap, slowly digesting centuries worth of western art's hottest tail, from the penultimate ex-girlfriend as portrayed by the pre-Raphaelite Charles-August Mengin, straight through the Impressionists,and not stopping until it's after nine and we've got wood lookin' at T-L's delightful little TLT. But unfortunately I have stupid social obligations - or, as some people call them, a job, a girlfriend, and friends - that have come to expect certain things of me; and still not much besides my semiconscious presence anymore. Shit gets me down, I'm saying. I know I come off as a real happygolucky asshole, but - well, if I can't tell you blackmetalblog, then who can I tell? - shit gets me down. And while I'm forced to actually do something besides sit around and get fucked up and listen to loud, abrasive music in my room all day and night, that is totally what Funeral Spirit must do, all day, all night. Over Thanksgiving and Black Friday weekend, the American metal internet scene was in a trytophanic coma, but that fucking Russko Funeral Spirit was still posting like thirty uploads a day, most of which are in 320, incidentally. So during my (all too fleeting) moments of repose such as the one I'm currently wasting with this long-winded introduction, I usually like to head straight over to my cuz FS's site and check out what he's got as far as new demos. I also check out other shit, but enough people will be telling you how mandatory the new Fortresse is, so I usually abstain from further propagating the hype surrounding most new full lengths regardless of whether they are actually - or totally not - worth checking out. Encoffination was an exception because I actually preordered and love the shit out of that record. I sat on that review for too long, though. The review wrote itself in my head after I heard it, - you guys know what I mean - but by the time I got around to actually posting it, most of the blogburgh had already hyped it to death.

Fuck! I have derailed! Anyway, almost all these demos I got from Funeral Spirit. Thanks for not having a life, man. You help me waste more of mine. Seriously, though, - since post-CL IO's already J'd the Shark anyway - you should support independent blogs. Check out the sidebar. Lots of friends up to cool shit. Here's what I'm up to . . .


Conflagration's Morbid Dissonances (2011), independent

This Norwegian duo, having spent three years together before releasing the Morbid Dissonances demo, play tight death/thrash that may or may not be trendy right now, but is undoubtedly executed so well in the two songs found on this demo - middle track (also the title track) is a quick instrumental that actually doesn't kill the momentum - so you'll be headbanging and pissing off your dubstep-listenin' roommates too hard to worry about this shit being hackneyed. Not to mention "conflagration" is one of my favorite words in what I know of the English language. The sound is natural and crisp without being polished; the riffs are piercing, blazing fast and head straight for your heart, after a few minutes jamming this you'll totally know how St. Sebastian felt. The drummer kills, of course: he's Norweyan, dude's probably been playing since he could make a fist; the vocals are present, uneffected and pretty original - Marge said they remind her of TGF, probably she means Morbid Tales-era. The two (actual) songs are over five minutes, rife with energy and well put together. There's a hard splice on the first track that's also one of my favorite parts. Give this demo thirteen minutes of your night. The spooky zombie movie soundtrack solo during the halftime of "Pain from Beyond" is alone worth it. Total Refuse! 

Hic Iacet's Hedonist of the Death (2011), Hell's Headbangers
  

And now for something completely different: Hic Iacet's 2010 debut,  Hedonist of the Death, recently repressed at least 333 times on brown vinyl thanks to the Nuns' Laughter Guy. Is it strange that our ears can discern a vast - or even single - difference between Conflagration and Spain's Hic Iacet's? These guys, all zero of them, play a similar style of sunshine death with a blackened tilt a la everyone these days, notably the aforeviewed Conflagration, and there's very little to set them apart from this crowd. Besides great production, of course.

DGMW, the songs are swell, too. They're fast and evil and varied, ranging from blackened thrash riffs that usually segue into Swedish deathstomp parts that'll rouse the kitty on your lap to start batting at your flailing hair. Occasionally will crawl forth a maudlin funeral doom riff or flashes of 3rd wave blasturbation; each of which will have you fondling your guardian djinn's invisible ballsack - guaranteed. But . . . Well . . . I guess my point can be found in that artwork. Sure, it's pretty sick. It's also very familiar. (Did I getcyha? Haha, yeah, I did!) It's familiar and it's pretty derivative and then some, but it's cool, it's - ya know - dece. I'd be pumped to see Hic Iacet play these songs live; hope there'd be at least some circle pitting. Who knows? You might love this and feel indifferent towards Conflagration.Anyway, you know it's a strong review when the reviewer's just like: IDK See 4 yinzselves.

Wasteland's Mračne Dveri Baranje (2011)

My ass used to love Cradle. Back in high school, they were one of my favorite bands. I also really liked Philly's Ink&Dagger. Obviously, I thought vampires were sweet. (Never read Twilight or any of that shit, though - don't even josh me on that, bro!) Coincidentally, girls were totally foreign to me all the while. Then, at the cusp of my high school existence I met an out-of-town girl who loved good tunes like Converge and AN and watched movies like Rushmore (but skipped out on The Last Samurai), and this outtatown girl she taught me a few things. And I her, I suppose.

My point is: this demo is for dorks. This style can be executed pretty well, but this isn't a demonstration of that. This is more of like a demonstration of how it can go wrong. If you like keyboards that sound like a flat clarinet moaning atop crunched-out, yet paradoxically diffused power metal riffs while someone's Jiffy Pop keeps it all held together then you'll love this. "Gharr" is a strong track, though. Put it on your mix for your annual Christmas DnD jam; the Cheetos Gang will love it. I'm sorry. I've just got a chip on my shoulder cuz my high school meloblack band, Utopia Ablaze, never got beyond our first practice, which was actually just me and my friend Cody sitting in Cody's older brother's top bunk while he played Dimmu Borgir riffs on his older brother's Ibanez knock-off and I tapped on my thighs with pens and whisperscreamed. You'll have to take my word when I promise you that this is better than that.  (I'm aware that this actually rules and sounds nothing like Cradle of Filth, by the way.)

Dolores' To die no more (2011), Fern & Moss Cassettes
                                                                                                   
Droning noise and aural textures and a single fit of spastic bedroom black metal provide a suitable soundtrack to looking at this demo's cover. I mean, let's be honest: no matter what music it represented, that cover would be the best part. I checked this out because of the cover. You put a sexy half- or fully naked girl on your album and I like it. No matter what. Even this? Yes, even that. I'm a sensualist and I love this demo. Think of this as laying around somewhere between It's Always Sunn0))) in Gloomington and blogmetal's The Weeknd.

Now let's just go ahead and stare for a while . . . Hey, wait a minute, is that Olivia Locher?!






*Through a Glass Darkly,

26 November, 2011

Review: Encoffination's "O' Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres"

 Ernest Becker believed what makes people who and what they essentially are - whether by "people" we mean modern day Americans, or Chinese, or Israelis, or Brazilians, or aboriginal Australians; whether we we mean 18th century European philosophes, the Cossacks of the late 1800s, 20th century North Koreans, 5th century South American heretics, pre-common era Essenes, Jainists, swooning Beatlemaniacs, banging thrasheads, surprisingly authentic-looking transexuals, the NWO Wolf Pack, the 1%, the Archers of Loaf; basically any group of people that ever existed - everything that shapes and defines them and their cultures is merely an attempt at denying their inevitable mortality. And this denial of death, Becker said, is essential to human existence, that it maintains our sanity, but, at the same time, keeps us from ever truly knowing ourselves. This fear of that which casts an omniscient shadow creates within each of us a subconsciously contrived willed ignorance, from which is born culture, our individual identities, and also the institutions which rule our lives: religion, or spirituality, ambition, war, tradition, rituals, heroism, art, and anything else you can think of that, ultimately, serves to distract humans from the bummer that we will all someday die.

I wonder then what Becker would think, if here were alive, to hear of California's Encoffination? As we know, instead of ignoring that which cannot be looked upon yet casts a shadow over all, Encoffination have made it their sole task, since their demo in 2010, to wave the Black Robe in our collective face. And what would Becker think when, surely being unfamiliar with this style of dank, macabre funeral doom, he found himself actually bobbing his head to the slow cadence that carries the record like four grave-faced men, each dressed in the customary black; and certainly Becker could not enjoy it, for how could anyone enjoy such death-drenched music, especially a hypothetical 87 year old man? But he'd sit there, unable to tear himself away for the the entire thirty-nine minutes that honestly seem to last so much longer, quite like a funeral. No doubt, O' Hell, Shine In Thy Whited Sepulchres would fuck Ernest Becker up.

16 November, 2011

More demo reviews: Blaspherit, Karijes, Obłęd and The Haunting Presence.

Denmark's Blaspherit, at least from what I can tell from their demo, Fallen Oath of Black Doom, are three stupidly fucked up dudes who probably party harder than you or I or that one dude we know who was in the Marines and saw his buddy's head come apart via a hand grenade in Fallujah. Despite how much they party, they've got still that European adeptness at playing ugly, bestial black metal. And you can almost tell from this demo, too, but not really.

The riffs are indiscernible bass-y jumbles that just roll out then back into themselves, like the sound your car makes after you've blown a tire on the freeway; the vocals are reverberated barks whose frequencies clash with the down-tuned riffs; some dude howls like a wolf on "Werewolf of the Black Abyss" - hands down the highlight of the demo; and at one point the bassist, who clearly does not really know how to play a recorder, plays a recorder (though the liner notes say it's a flute, so it's probably, like, a Pan flute, that'd definitely be the more BM choice). At several points, all coherence is lost in a maelstrom of shitty production, Satanic carousing and the above-mentioned battle for dominant presence among the several clashing frequencies. Overall Fallen Oath of Black Doom is a cool experience and worth checking out, so long as you're fucked up on barbitu8s or sucking on a Fentanyl patch or just looking to conjure up ol' Horny for a catch up/brutal anal raping. Out now on Silver Key Records


On the other hand, the one not holding a knife that's being thrust into your own abdomen, but on the hand that's typing out this review, on that hand, Karijes' riffs are far more palpable in the mix on their demo, Deathstrike, though the music is far less interesting. While not completely uninspired - there's some cool solos here and there - Deathstrike is nothing more than a demonstration of yet another band playing blackened thrash. I was piqued not by the cover art (you kidding me? look how tiny that dude's head is!), nor the name, and certainly not the genre, but by the band's origin: Serbia. We all know that Serbia has had an epic history of battling for its independence x,like,4 and the whole starting the first World War thing, so I was hoping this band would have something more than bland buzzsaw riffs with Lars' St. Anger snare keeping cadence. Nah, not really. Sure the vocals are delayed and layered and they kinda sound like a demon at points, but it's not enough. You can't put Red Hot on a shitty pizza and make it a good pizza. It's still just a shitty pizza but with a damn fine hot sauce smothering it to make it more palatable. Also, there's a Destruction cover at the end, which is definitely the best track on the demo, but it only proves what the four tracks preceding it already made abundantly clear: this band, this demo, is completely redundant.

(Deathstrike came out in January of this year, which might as well be the fucking 80s in the internet age, and Karijes has since released an EP. If it's any good, let me know.)


 Boring Polish black metal with programmed drums (where's Oskar Matzerath when you need him?) and riffs that have no edge to them whatsoever, but no warmth either. I'm only typing up this review because I took the time to listen to the demo (twice even, just to make sure there wasn't some killer piece of the iceberg I was missing), and even though I'm wasting more time by typing this up, I feel I'd have wasted my time if I didn't review it. Truth is, I've got nothing to say about it. It doesn't suck, but it's boring and stupid. Yeah, the whispered vocals are cool, but not cool enough. And yeah, some of the riffs are dece, but they've got zero power behind them, but not in a depressive black metal kind of way, more like in a castrated kind of way. Not to mention, with few exceptions, programmed drums always turn me off. Which in turn turns to me turning them off and turning away from the band forever.

Go ahead and skip Obłęd's first demo. Can't imagine how his other demo, II, could be any better, but if you've got the time to waste, then by all means . . . Waste away.


With the exception of Arizmenda, and despite being a borderline Nationalist when it comes to my native country's music, I've never really understood all the hype behind the Black Twilight Circle and its label Crepuscular Negro. Sure, it's cool the West Coast has its own LLN type thing, but what scene doesn't have a group of like thirteen dudes switching up instruments and duties to comprise like thirty bands? Pittsburgh has an extremely incestuous scene, but we didn't go and make a club about it. Anyway, I digress.

Save for having a clearer production and a more grave (read: less fun) approach to their music, The Haunting Presence (not sure if they got their name from the Krohm album) is pretty musically similar to Blaspherit. Of course, blackened death/deathened black with doomy outros and delay-drenched vox are extremely in vogue right now, but the bands still sound very similar. Besides that, The Haunting Presence give us four songs for a solid demonstration of BTC/CN's latest addition (sic) that if you were to download and check out I'm sure you'd enjoy but seldom revisit, just like me.


Happy Birthday, Margaret! I love you!

12 November, 2011

Demo review: Sanctophoby's "Satanic Ceremonies Of Imperfection"

Yes! Fuckin' A! Saw this on Funeral Spirit, saw the cover art, saw the press photo, knew it was gonna be way more fucked up than I could handle and it's even better than that! The enveloping guitars that make you feel like you're drowning in the first track! The fucking cut from "Bloody Tears of Mocked Angels" into "Ceremonial Cannibalism;" hell the opening riff of "Ceremonial Cannibalism" for that matter! The lyrics to "Blood!"

So "Satanic Ceremonies Of Imperfection" - damnit I hate having to capitalize that O. No, I don't. I love it. It's hilarious. It's a Lithuanian dude writing "Satanic Ceremonies Of Imperfection" in English. That's fucking awesome! I couldn't write word one in Lithuanian - but this is not a proper demo, in that it's a debut of a new band's sound. It's a black metal demo. It's really just an official release of demo quality music. I'll spare you my delineation on black metal output. It'll only end in self-pitying remorse.

But Sanctophoby is some dude over in Lithuania - despite the press photo showing two people airhumping the statue of the Madonna - and this dude is writing some heady black/death. I'm not (yet) familiar with their back catalogue, but SCOI is Andrius's (he's the aforementioned dude from Lithuania) own brand of - here I'm tempted to use words like 'psychadelic' and 'bestial,' but those have lost all their meaning, so instead I'll say it's fucked up. It's haunting. It's haunted. It's exactly what you like in your black metal. Atmosphere and the occasional ambiance via a sweet Casio padding; recorded-in-an-oubliette sound quality; static-borne guitar tones. The drumming sounds mechanical, but could be human. My ear can't tell if it's a dude who plays motorik-style per fucking you up more or a sloppy drum machine. The presence of the guitar falls in and out, maelstroms of layered solos and riffs appear out of nowhere, giving one the sense of being washed away in a deluge of BLOOD! and LSD. The vocals are what you'd expect: legion and terrifying.

Really, this is paragon extreme metal. For me at least. It achieves what nearly all extreme metal bands aim to: an epic and terrifying journey into an unimaginable realm. Like The Twilight Zone. Despite being almost entirely black/death, at points, it's as close to an Electric Wizard album as it is Soulside Journey, which I'm aware is a DM record. It's definitely killer, whatever it is.

Check it out.

George Saunders's new story "The Tenth of December"

Have you read it yet? It's in the latest issue of The New Yorker. I don't know if you can read it online without a subscript. Marge gets 'em from her dad. I think it's hers, but they send it to her parents' house. I started "The Tenth of December" last night, enjoyed the first third and fell asleep; then I finished it today, Veteran's Day, and possibly cried a bit at the end, in the middle of the CCAC Allegheny campus library, basement floor, home to the periodicals, assorted sleeping and studious studentry and three very nice librarians. It's a touching story, yet still very true to Saunders's style. Not quite a rehash, but it does have a similar plot to "The Falls." Which is another, earlier Saunders story, if that wasn't already clear. But the outcome of "The Tenth of December" is far more satisfying, without wholly losing its ambiguity, which is a difficult task, in my very humble opinion.

Should I just type it up? It's great practice and I don't mind doing it at all. Okay, I will . . .

(Mom. Dad. This is not my writing, okay?)

So I actually did type it all up. This morning and into the afternoon. (It's now the day after Veteran's Day, the day after 11/11/11. Incidentally I looked at my phone last night and saw it was 11:11 and wondered if humanity would still exist in 3011 when such a thing would ever again be possible, and if they'd read time and still have years and names for the increments of those years like November or May or if they'd call their months like 42345 or 66646 and call years something equally as strange and cold and have no time to reflect on insignificant trivialities like the sequence of similar real numbers.) Then I posted it and saw that only some of it posted, like the first eighth, and after a few panicky, impetuous clicks, somehow lost it all. As I was retyping it, - all the while looking for every excuse in the world to give up - I kept wondering: Is this piracy? I try to avoid that on this blog. With the exception of a few demos or eps or that OOP Catharsis record. Cuz, ya know, George Saunders is a blue collar worker. Despite his "stardom," and his being hailed as a modern day Vonnegut, he's still just a teacher and a writer. Sure people have heard of him, people might anticipate his new collections or show up at his book signings, but he's yet to land a movie deal. Though, that wouldn't matter to me either. I certainly wouldn't reprint without permission any of Cormac McCarthy's work. I gave my copy of Blood Meridian to my history professor last semester, but that's as far as I'll go.

I'm not sure how this turned into my polemics re: piracy, but I'm glad I didn't post it, even though I did a few months ago. If you can, though, try to get your hands on a copy of the Halloween issue, it's in that one. (I wish I could be telling you to read my friend's stories or some cool zines, but I'm honestly pretty clueless when it comes to that shit. Any one care to point me in a good direction? It's kind of like I just downloaded Captain Beefheart's whole discography and I just wanna know which album to listen to first. [I've never actually done that, just thought it was a good analogy. My intro to the Captain came when I was like 19 and I would listen to Trout Mask Replica at all hours of the night through my roommate's wall while he crammed for a chemistry exam.]). You can probably find this issue and many issues and buttloads of other cool shit at your local library.

Well, that's it. I feel very pompous and pretentious and content now. Once again, thank you for reading these delusional rants

10 November, 2011

Demo Review: St. Barthelemy's Temple - The Sheol Unfold

Gonna try something new here at The Dower. You see, I realized, a couple days ago now, that most of what I listen to, the records that I find myself going back to and listening to again and again, are demos. There's something about a well-produced demo that I find more listenable than a proper full length. A great demo achieves in striking the balance between nascent ebullience and ambitious panache. Plus, a lot of times, - at least from personal experiences - time and resources are an issue often giving the final product a sense of candid urgency that you simply don't find on most LPs. Also a demo must leave room for imporvement. How many well-known artists or musicians or writers, I often wonder, reflect on their careers, those lucky enough to have made a career out of their art, I mean, and think back to the days when they were just getting started, when they were struggling to find their own voice, and remember those days as being the best part of their journey? I guess I can't say for sure how many, but I bet at least a few. A demo, then, must be the pinnacle moment in a band's career, even if it's not their best moment.
  A great demo must have a certain production aesthetic, too. Not necessarily lo-fi, but - even if it's a Croatian septuagenarian's solo funeral doom project - it must be spilling over with energy. The band's gotta sound like they're pumped to be releasing these two or three or four songs to people. Incidentally, release numbers, i.e. "CD-R release, limited to 13 copies," have nothing to do with anything. They're either the amount of tapes you get in a cheap bundle or the amount of CD-Rs on a spool you stole from Staples or just some insignificant but Satanic or ill-boding number you pull out of your ass, see above. What's great about a demo, though, can often curse the full length to come. You get some recog on a demo, so you hit the road and play those demo songs every night for a while, and by the time it's time to record 'em for the record, you're pretty well sick of 'em, and those songs that were once held together by not much else other than the fun everyone had playing them have now been tightened and perfected, but, unfortunately, more often than not, also sapped of their energy. It's best to write new songs for every new release, meconcludes.
  So, then, without further adieu, this is the first installment of a series of demo reviews I'm gonna do until I get sick of it. I don't know if Wednesday will have anything to do with it. I know that I wanna introduce you guys to roommate's band, Drug Lust, and review their IIKXI demo and post it on here, so I'll at least be making one more post for this series. But tonight I wanna talk about . . .


St. Barthelemy's Temple's 2011 demo "The Sheol Unfold"

For those of you who aren't taking Dr. Sweet's History of World Religions course with me at the Community College of Allegheny County, I will inform you that Sheol is basically the early Jewish idea of Hell. However, unlike the Christian Hell, which borrowed the idea from Zoroastrianism, Sheol, like Hades for the Greeks, is where all the dead go, regardless of what they did during or how they lived their life. Adolf Hitler and Mother Theresa, according to the Book of Job's description of Sheol, could very well end up roommates in Sheol.

St. Barthelemy's Temple, from France, which I'll get into more in a bit, seem to have found a spring whose source spills from somewhere deep in Sheol, and have greedily drank its cold draught. Who are further from God than the dead who live not in His Kingdom but in an underworld of utter lightlessness and infinitesimal love? This feeling is exactly what St. Barthelemy's Temple is going for with their melange of dirge-y NOLA riffs and vocals that echo all through your brain, where they stay, kicking around in your skull like a rock in your shoe. SBT might be a French BM act, and they might want to sound like EyeHateGod, but don't go thinking they're some Glorior Belli clone. Quite the opposite actually. These guys have not taken a Metal Blade to their collective hanging sacks . . . yet.

This demo shows a great deal of promise. If they never release another record, I'll just keep listening to this and be quite content with doing so. If they do release a follow up LP or EP or whatever, I guarantee it will be a success. These French assholes understand writing catchy and memorable blackened funeral doom without sacrificing any of the inaccessibility and darkness that is necessary for all bands of such pedigree to have. Though their speed is typically kept to a slow, scathing crawl, they never let off; there is no impromptu armistice. The only respite comes after the twelve minutes of demolition ends. And, if you're anything like me, you'll just start the whole thing over again because you're still not done headbanging - hell, your nose isn't even bleeding yet.

Click the link above and head over to St. Barthelemy's Temple's bandcamp page and download "The Sheol Unfold" in 320 for free.

08 November, 2011

This post is so blackened you can't even read the title

Presently sitting around an all-too-austere apartment, drinking the Steelers beer Church does every season, by mself. Well, not exactly by myself . . .


She's gettin' big, right?

Currently jamming some blackened funeral doom band's demo I got from Funeral Spirit. They're called Ater Cultus Mortis or something like that. The Latin language spins in its grave, right? Hell, that might not even be Latin. Anyway, they're from the Russian Federation, apparently. I had no idea we called Russia that pre-blog days. Maybe we didn't. Maybe we don't. Maybe Russia is Russia and the Russian Federation is elsewhere, near or far, but elsewhere. This fucking demo's all over the blogosphere but no one's actually talking about the fucking thing. Everyone's just d/ling it and unzipping it and then, perhaps rehosting it, but probably not, but definitely they're reposting it on their own blog, all without having actually listened to it, or, at most, perhaps surveying it, giving it a distracted, cursory listen. So what makes me different? What gives me the right to actually review it after I've had it on threepeat thru my actually pretty decent but still totally laptop speakers? Well, for one: I've actually been jamming it. Maybe I'm a little drunk (sorry, Mom), but, let me ask you this, who's headbanging the hardest at any show ever? The drunk guy! I'm not that drunk, though. Mildly tipsy. I'm at the self-conscious horns stage. But I'm jamming the demo. I'm actually listening to it. Thru my laptop speakers, yes, but it's working on me: I feel like total shit. I feel totally alone and completely unloved. Fucking Russkies, churning out funeral doom/black metal bands like they did soldiers in the Great War; sending out their bands without even supplying them with instruments; "grab a double-kick pedal off one of your dead peers," their band managers scream at them. I don't know where I'm going with this anymore. I just wanted to tell you guys out there that this demo is worth actually checking out. I know you've seen it floating in the blogosphere, you probably skimmed right past it, not engorged by the boring too-dark artwork. (You know what my favorite part about the blog experience is? Reading dudes' blogs who don't actually speak English and marveling at how much more fucking eloquent they are than me. Seriously. Some of the bloggers over there can very well describe heavy music for the masses, brutal!) I'm looking forward to jamming this on some good speakers. And by that I mean, simply moving out of this chair and into another chair within the reach of the speakers' cable. From what my laptops letting me tell, though, it's mixed with a sweet aesthetic in mind, not unlike the feeling one might have if she stumbled upon a derelict shack in the woods during the winter. And inside there's a cobweb-covered white casket, tapered at the foot, with brownish weird runes fingerpainted on the front. I can barely hear the drums; the vox sound like dude's gettin' asphyxed; the keyboards are way too loud, but playing pretty cool Crypt Keeper-approved melodies; and it's only like twenty minutes long. Check it out.

Extracting the Stone of Madness

;or The Cure for Folly.*

Got my schedule for next semester. Looks like I'll be taking pre-Calculus, Antebellum American Literature (not the official course title, but an eloquent title nonetheless), Introduction to Astronomy (blast off!), and English Comp. 102, which I'm taking so I can take, like, classes on Shakespeare and shit next semester. Won't be long before I'm off the ship of fools that is community college and attending a real university with real (high) tuition prices.

In the meantime, here's a Billy Collins poem from his most recent collection, Ballistics, that Margaret and I read in bed last night and agreed was especially good. I suggest picking up Ballistics or any of BC's collections. He's one of the few great living American poets. See also: David Berman, Philip Levine, Mary Oliver, and so on and so forth.


Tension

"Never use the word suddenly just to create tension" - Writing Fiction


Suddenly, you were planting some yellow petunias
outside in the garden,
and suddenly I was in the study
looking up the word oligarchy for the thirty-seventh
     time.

When suddenly, without warning,
you planted the last petunia in the flat,
and I suddenly closed the dictionary
now that I was reminded of that vile form of
    governance.

A moment later, we found ourselves
standing suddenly in the kitchen
where you suddenly opened a can of cat food
and I just as suddenly watched you doing that.

I observed a window of leafy activity
and beyond that, a bird perched on the edge
of the stone birdbath
when suddenly you announced you were leaving

to pick up a few things at the market
and I stunned you by impulsively
pointing out that we were getting low on butter
and another case of wine would not be a bad idea.

Who could tell what the next moment would hold?
another drip from the faucet?
another little spasm of the second hand?
Would the painting of a bowl of pears continue

to hang on the wall from that nail?
Would the heavy anthologies remains on their shelves?
Would the stove hold its position?
Suddenly, it was anyone's guess.

The sun rose ever higher in the sky.
The state capitals remained motionless on the wall map
when suddenly I found myself lying on a couch
where I closed my eyes and without any warning

began to picture the Andes, of all places,
and a path that led over the mountains to another
     country
with strange customs and eye-catching hats,
each one suddenly fringed with colorful little tassels.


*Tim, I think you'll be especially interested in this link. It's heavy, harsh hip hop with Zach Hill of Hella, Marnie Stern, Team Sleep, Wavves, etc. fame on skins. Really good and Satanic shit. Don't believe me? Check this out then.

06 November, 2011

First there is a mountain; then there is no mountain; then there is.

New Leviathan rules is weird. Check out FxCx to get it.

Can barely talk.

Drought's sophomore album, Ego Mortido, is gonna fucking steamroll you. Mark my words.

04 November, 2011

Not The Odyssey, but an Odyssey nonetheless.

Stood outside and smoked with Dr. Sweet, my History of World Religion's professor, author of The Changeling trilogy. Sweet is also an ex-member of the late 70s prog/psych band, Sweet Water Line, from Indiana state. Smokes from a pipe. Stately, plump. Irish by descent, if you hadn't already guessed from the link above. I start the first book of The Changeling trilogy today, The Shee. Apparently the whole trilogy - and the spin-off book, pseudopenned by a character from the trilogy - is a work of magic realism, though Dr. Sweet's told me he's not read much in the past twenty years beside Joyce, Nietzsche and Lovecraft. Yeah. Now you're listening, huh? Now you're clicking the link above. What, you think I'd be outside smoking philosophic with some lameass seminary school dropout? Dr. Sweet rules. Check out that link, order one of his books, and see, along with I, if The Changeling is worth a rat's ass. It's at least worth ten or twelve bucks for the simple fact that he's a blue collar worker who appreciates good riffs and has kids, one of whom he brought to class on Monday; his daughter, Kelly, I think he said her name was, couldn't've been older'n 8 - 10 at the oldest. She knew what Samhain was, unlike the rest of us, but proved shortly thereafter to be a wholly unattentive pupil, doodling intensively, not just in the margins and the space at the top where most of us render our pentagrams and inverted crosses, but drawing large, elaborate pictures that took up a whole sheet of virgin white paper, pictures of what looked like a family of cactus people, and then discarding the finished, or abandoned, works to the floor; and also throwing a keychain up into the air and failing to catch it but still throwing it up again and again. (She's a lot like this nameless little tabby presently running all over my keyboard and pouncing Hobbes-like on my hands.) But yeah, check that shit out.

Also, Mike's other band, Higher Fives, was on the radio two nights ago. Check that shit out, too.

03 November, 2011

You lack the proper amount of tongues to pronounce it correctly.

It's the . . .

Call of the dutChtulu!

What possesses a person to write their name all over shit? Graffiti is understand'ble, sure. But mere tagging seems juvenile even to this perpetually guffawing Buttheadian.

Finished The Tin Drum. I'd tell you to read it, cuz it's one of the best books I've read in my entire life, and it learned me things about Nazi Germany that I never knew, and presented them in an interesting and ofttimes very convoluted way, not unlike if I were a British soldier, already showing early symptoms of trenchfoot, witnessing some goofy Kraut traverse No Man's Land unarmed saved for the top of an evergreen tree with burning cigarettes tied to its branches, in imitation of candles. Did you know Christmas trees are a relatively new tradition? Not sure, but the aforementioned Xmas Truce just might've been their origin. Well, count The Tin Drum among the many wonderful things the Germans have given us. Or, rather, use it to exonerate at least one of the terrible things (some) Germans have done in the past. Seriously, if you clicked that link above, don't let that scare you away from Oskar's story as it did Oskar's poor mama. Don't go scarf down every fish in Germany 'til you die of mercury poisoning until you've at least seen how little Oskar's life turns out.

Got a 37/34 on my most recent history exam. This girl behind me, who fancies herself a young novelist without ever having penned so much as a flash fiction piece, got the same grade, but, as I pointed out to her as well, she missed a few problems and answered both extra credit questions. My test was perfect - I even got the one that everyone else missed that, had I also answered incorrectly, would've been a free point, but because I had not answered incorrectly, was not a free point - before I even looked at the extra credit essay questions, of which I only answered one out of the possible two, and did so in a single, very long, and gorgeous, but succinct, even laconic, sentence, as I had a headache and a nasty cramp in my hand from pushing down so hard as I do when I write with a pencil. And a 42 out of 50 on a recent Algebra exam. Missed four points right off the bat, despite having arrived at the correct conclusion, for not following directions, for not putting my answer in interval notation, that is not putting ( )'s, or [ ]'s,  - or [ )'s and/or ( ]'s - around my result. Dr. DeBlassio said he hated to do it, but I had to learn to read the directions. Fools rush in, David.

See you at Wells Tower tonight.

01 November, 2011

Urban Hellscape with the Rescue of Aisha

 ;or Loud Music is Necessary


Every time I find myself standing on the precipice of today, looking at tomorrow below, gulping in anticipation despite my parched and knotted throat, inching towards the benighted, inevitable precipitation, I find I have only one solace, besides she whom I cling to in the night: music. Loud music.

Loud music is necessary. This has become another mantra of mine. As easily satirized or ignored or given a furrowed brow signifying confoundment as these words may be: "Loud music is necessary." And that mantra is why I'm presently ablog. The internet, among being many other things, as you're all well aware, but I will choose to patronize and say to you right now anyway, is a chance at birthing one's impulses; and who would I be if I didn't occasionally abuse that privilege? Take a little time out of my hectic day and lament my first world woes to the readers I've worked up in my mind. Speaking of which, how similar is one's laptop to the stagnant pond with which the handsome archer fell deeply enthrall? At least I'm writing. At least I'm letting my claws glide across this pizzagreasy keyboard. Call it  . . . What did Freud call it? When you forgo . . . in order to sublimate - that's it. Call it sublimation. Call it a necessary biproduct to feelin' good and jammin' good tunes.

Call it boredom. Unlike that crazy Captian Krunch, I would, dying, say: "The boredom! The boredom!"

But now I live, so I sing instead. I sing:

"Dear LORD, or Whomever Answers Earthly Prayers Seated in Wanton Desire:

It is I, David, your everfaithful, Poseidon-handed supplicant. I am so blessed to walk in your sandalprints, my sweet and bearded, and muscly Lord. And to have been created in Your popularized, Teutonic image. Please, my merciful and buff Savior, change nothing in my life and allow me to continue walking the easy, but honest, and true, yet, admittedly, willfully, almost ostensibly, that is, completely obstinately, ignorant path. Please continuing guiding me as I frolic blindly down the path of life.

In the middle,
"