Friday, December 3, 2010
Ashdautas "Where the Sun is Silent" CS
I really would like to just be able to talk about this tape and not have to talk about all the fucking nuances of the social status of this band. It's almost like I can't, though, like I have some obligation to defend the shit out of it, because there is so much negativity towards the "ideals" of this band (and whether or not this is a "joke" band, which I think that even if it started out that way, at this point it is irrelevant) and to the whole BTC, that really has no bearing in the grand scheme of things, for instance is it fucking good music or is it fucking bad music, we have come so far away from asking these questions. Well, I guess I'm already getting into the fucking debate/side-choosing, but I think ultimately I'm more pissed off at the debate itself than the actual opinions. If you'd prefer not to have to go through all this stupid bullshit, just skip down halfway through this post and just read about the tape itself, that's what I would probably prefer to do. For those who have no clue what I'm talking about, Ashdautas have earned themselves a dubious reputation as one of the premiere "fake" bm bands, and people tend to either be very for or very against this label. It seems like very few don't really give a shit whether a bm band is "true" or not, which makes perfect sense given the genre's long-running emphasis on tradition and respect, which I believe are qualities that have strengthened the genre more than hurt it, but problems arise when you get a great band like Ashdautas and it becomes the butt of an elitist joke. Black metal needs elitism, it's one of the defining aspects that makes the genre so special to us, but I can't help but be pissed off when that elitist mentality turns against one of the most exciting new things to happen to the genre. We have to accept that things are changing, we live in a world governed by post-post-modern self-important hipsters and art fags who are judged by how good they describe themselves as, and the influence is everywhere whether we like it or not, and change can be a good thing even if the current thought process doesn't appeal to traditionalists, it's the fact that things are evolving that we need to embrace. Why is it people only see Ashdautas for its extramusical faults and totally ignore what's coming out of the stereo speakers? It's disgusting. Also I really don't agree with it. I think this band is black as fuck, that the music totally speaks for itself and the rest should be viewed as a reflection of THIS, not the other way around. I think art in black metal is such a despised thing because it represents a conscious effort and thought process in a genre where apathy and raw emotion, such as unrestrained and unfiltered hatred, have always been key ingredients. Look at 90s bm, it was all made by people who used to play in the bands of the 80s, thrash/death/etc. So now look at the bands of today, it's either gonna be the guys who did the bm thing in the 90s, in which case we're talking aging people, or it's gonna be the kids who were making punk/hardcore/pv/etc. Of course you're not going to get purely goat-fucking maniaks today. Maybe I'm going to deep into this. Maybe people just hate this band because someone said they used Kool-Aid instead of real blood in some ritual and now everyone thinks they're childish. Who the fuck knows. I'm bored of this, I'm gonna just talk about the tape now and ignore all the bullshit. My oxy just wore off, I'm in a bad mood, I wish I didn't waste it ranting on some dumb shit. Whatever. OK so let's see what we got, first thing you see when you buy an album, before you can even pop it in your stereo, is the artwork, so I'll start there. Well, it comes with a patch, the standard BTC runic thing, not as clean a symbol as Volahn's, but still nice and mystical. I gotta say I've always loved the font this band chose, it has a very kind of "pretty" elegance to it, yet retains the necessary griminess and overblown over-photocopied sloppiness. I'm a little put-off by the actual Ashdautas logo itself, not the rune, it just doesn't seem to match the music. It's a little too standard fare death/black "evil" generic illegible. Decent minimalist cover, it def takes me to a sort of strange and creepy place. So this is very much a hardcore-influenced album in a sense, but at the same time that is not a totally fair statement, and you could hate hardcore and still devour this album. The hardcore elements I think that would be most likely to put people off are things like twinkly arpeggiated segments, creating a mood of mournful introspection, found between the bursts of violent enegry. These are what may make or break it for the listener, depending on taste. The "violent bursts" are very well executed to me, they capture a very deep form of anger very unlike the kind of chaotic energy found on bands more along the lines of Bone Awl. This album is extremely melodic, low-ended, and relies heavily on dissonant tremolo leads over chaotic, often dynamic blast beats. There's a lot of creativity and dynamics going on here, and lots of starts and stops, meaning expect to go from interval-switching-rich tremolos over blast beats right into a broken down, softer and subdued arpeggio with no drums, then into a 4/4 with long suspended tremolos, and the form is somewhat in the vein in all the songs. When it comes down to it, it's the mood that will determine whether or not you're into this. There are so many instances on the tape of "elegant misery" presented through calculated aggression, and very few, if any, representations of pure primal rage. Another thing that may make or break it for you is the vocals are throatless high, more anguish-based and strained than angry and hateful. This tape really presents a hatred towards oneself, not towards others. If you have not yet explored the BTC, this would be a good entryway, along with Volahn, and is a stark contrast (while at the same time they're oddly related) to the other things that have become popular in bm nowadays. On that note, I don't know what's going on with the Ashdautas/Bone Awl split, but I really really hope SS gets on that soon.