Sunday, May 23, 2010

Weakling - Dead as Dreams

Grim, trance-like black metal from San Francisco. Features a member of genius instrumental math-metallers
and Drag City recording artists, The Fucking Champs as well as The Gault and Asunder. - tUMULt Records

The band had one long play, ‘Dead as Dreams’ released by Tumult in 2000 (a year after it was recorded) and two demos, both released in 1998 and (both) with no vocals

(Taken from

As the character of Norwegian black metal continues to metamorphose, many enthusiasts of the image and sound that originated in Scandinavia are turning their disappointed attention to the rapidly growing and improving US scene. Tumult's release of Bay Area group Weakling's debut (and final) opus is undoubtedly leading the charge.

Transcending the image of corpsepaint and empty Satanic rhetoric that has become so banal and quotidian in its overuse, Weakling captures the essence of what black metal was about while simultaneously giving it an original flavor.

The band's musical exercises in never-ending nihilistic hatred (5 songs, 76 minutes) certainly borrow from many pioneering black metal outfits, the most obvious of which are Burzum, Emperor, and Immortal. Despite drawing influence from these oft-copied bands, Weakling is unarguably unique in their style. Track two, "Dead as Dreams," is a perfect example.

The song fades in with a looping guitar tone, leading to a deeply emotive melodic section whose painfully melancholic notes are heavily soaked in scratchy reverb. Then, three minutes later, the dark riffing and vocal agony begins. Throughout the track, Weakling present multi-layered music played by bass, drums, keyboards, and two guitars which play different melodies. The layering takes a pause occasionally to make way for a fuzzy keyboard interlude - a sort of soothing lull - as if you have briefly entered the eye of Weakling's hurricane, only to be launched back in as the buzzsaw guitars kick in again, and the blast beat reaches its most intense point.

After exploring cavernous passages, the song ends with three minutes of guitar feedback, which is looped for the last minute as it slowly fades out, releasing you from the 20 minutes of depressive evil which you have been listening to, leaving you with a crushed yet soothingly sober spirit.

The music tugs at your heart throughout, not in a cheesy doom way, but rather in a melancholically majestic black metal way. At the forefront of the similarity to Burzum are the vocals of (singer/guitarist) J. Gossard, who is one of the worst vocalists of any genre, ever. Imagine what Varg Vikerenes sounds like on the first three Burzum albums, but then think of what it would sound like if he used more range and variety, and if his voice cracked every now and again. Vikernes style conveys strong misanthropic and alien feeling. Gossard's are this but also send forth morbid vibes of self-loathing and utter despair. Whereas the vocals strike you as atrocious even for black metal standards, as you get a feel for the album you realize that in fact they give Weakling so much of their mood altering, demented power, ironically making Gossard's vocals brilliant in the end.

Weakling also draws heavy influence from cult duo The Swans (especially circa Soundtracks for the Blind); the name Weakling itself having been inspired by a Swans' song. If you're at all familiar with this band you'll understand what kind of depressive feel is borrowed on Dead as Dreams.

From the unearthly trance-like drumming to the churning black metal passages peppered with agonizing doom crawls and psychadelic noise, listening to Dead as Dreams is indeed a plunge into the abyss. The best black metal album of the year. Buy or cry.

(Taken from here)

One of the most popular and best usbm bands. They only released this album and some demos in 1998, what is in fact very sad. If you haven't heard of them before just try some. You will like it.

[ tUMULt Records / 2000 / Black Metal / CBR@192 ]

01. Cut their Grain and place Fire therein (10:28)
02. Dead as Dreams (20:39)
03. This Entire Fucking Battlefield (14:47)
04. No one can be called as a Man while he'll die (13:11)
05. Disasters in the Sun (17:04)

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