Tuesday, October 23, 2007
Weakling- Dead As Dreams
Take Darkthrone, Shape of Despair, Sunn O))), Burzum, early Emperor, the scary parts of early Tangerine Dream, vocals that are an indecipherable cri du coeur, the omnipresent extended technique rumble of intentional bass feedback, and the shadows of clouds floating over the Californian sky. Shake until you get a blend of mid-tempo pure darkness interspersed with bits of shimmering atmospheric beauty where everything just clicks. That's Dead as Dreams, this San Francisco band's first and only release.
With songs ranging from 14 to more than 20 minutes long, your typical mainstream metalhead is wont to draw comparisons to Opeth. Just... no. I listen to Opeth at times, but Weakling is to Opeth as "Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima" is to "Appalachian Spring". But hey, Copland and Penderecki are both 20th century composers.
I love Weakling's song titles- instead of prog metal nonsense like "A Thinking Man's Modern Galactic Sonata in C# Mixolydian Pentatonic" (attention proggies: it's metal not jazz) or black metal Satanic Viking Tree Nazi cheese, they have meaningful titles like "No One Can Be Called A Man While He'll Die" and "Cut Their Grain and Place Fire Within". As an added bonus, the keyboards actually add to how good this album is, rather than destroying its value altogether, Dimmu Borgir style.
For me, Dead as Dreams evokes the turbulent, passionate, swirling grayness at the edge of the world. There's definitely a martial theme, but there's also the sense of utter transmigratory hopelessness, conveyed by the songs' minimalist organization and never-resolving dissonance. It's like Norse eschatology- the wolf eats the world, and the whole horribleness starts over again. Over and over.