Various Artists

Good Intentions: The CDs On My Desk

This series was written between Aug. 4 and Oct. 13, published in the weekly editor’s column, Deleted Scenes. Each page is a different installment in the series, so expect some time lapse and intertextuality as these pages go along. The headline pretty much says it all.

Let’s walk through a bit of editor protocol. Presskits come in the mail; I check out the CDs, check out the press releases, enter the CDs into a database, and shelf them for possible review. It’s a hard thing to keep organized in this business, so I try to keep on top of them as they come in. Releases that come in digitally I can always search later. There’s no way I can get to everything at once, so things have to sit around. At least if I know where it is, I’ll be able to do something with it.

Problem is, sometimes when a record comes in that I know I’ll like, I’ll log it and put it on my desk off in a corner. On any other editor’s desk, that’s usually the corner you want to be in, but on mine, it’s become something of a graveyard, because I tend to space on them. There’s always something else to cover, something else getting my attention, and in all likelihood, my CD player is too far from my desk.

Be that as it may, the pile has started to get unmanageably large. Things that I’ve listened to and reviewed and want to keep are in a bin off to the side, but there’s still a mountain of records to review, some of which came in almost two years ago by this point.

Ouch.

As there’s no time like the present, here’s to me going through them. Each fall into one of three categories: Worthwhile, not worthwhile, and possibly worthwhile. A kind of musical triage based on a few minutes of listening. You’ll find that most of them trend heavy, as I’m a heavy metal kind of guy. Here we go.

By Honour by Ereb Altor. Doomish metal from Sweden off the always tempting I Hate Records label. Possibly worthwhile, but it will likely just end up on my shelf at home in a similar graveyard.

Mr Gnome’s Deliver This Creature. A kind of psychedelic trip-hop project that came in over a year ago. A little too self-consciously weird, though interesting. Possibly worthwhile, but I’m not taking it.

Transistor Transistor Ruined Lives. Post-hardcore. Mistake to even consider it as being in the pile. Not worth it.

The self-titled Pet Genius record. A folly to ignore, being a side project of Cave In that has sat on my desk for a tragically long time. Certainly worthwhile, and worth more investigating from me.

A green CD in a white sleeve with no markings as to its origin, the artist, label, etc. Drone-y Khanate esque material. If this were really good, I’d be pissed I don’t know who it is, but as is, whatever. Not keeping.

After The Fall by Forsaken. Almost comically epic doom metal also hailing on I Hate’s banner. Pretty awesome. Worthwhile and definitely keeping.

Birushanah. The name of the record is something in Kanji, as it’s some kind of Japanese post-rock. There’s already one Envy. Probably not worthwhile, and not keeping.

Quips’ Take Two. Jubilant, redundant indie fare. Bleh.

This Face by Gnaw. Alan Dubin of Khanate on a similar project. Comparatively unmeasured in its approach. Would consider holding onto if I had a full copy for the notability, but as it’s a sleeve, it’s not sticking with me.

Daylight Dies’ Lost To The Living. Yeah, this has been here a year. I saw these guys live open for Candlemass I think, and they’re middle of the road doom metal with a surprisingly Randy Blythe-like vocal presence. Their CD is equally so. Possibly worthwhile.

HOD’s Serpent. Decent death metal, but not doing much for me. Possibly worthwhile, not sure if it’ll keep it.

Helvete – Det Iskalde Morket from Throne Of Katarsis. Standard fare black metal, fairly charming. Will hold onto, though just cause it’s black metal. Black metal is like sorbet.

Cobalt’s Gin. Solid sludge riffs meets death post-metal. Surprisingly good. Definitely worthwhile.

Root’s Hell Symphony. It’s not the best thrash, but there’s something special to it. Maybe it’s the goat head on the cover, maybe it’s the old schoolness of it. Not sure. Jury’s still out.

—by , October 12, 2009

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    reader responses
  1. Noted Etan; I’ll give the band another try. Many of these were quick listens, so it’s possible I never got to the meat of the record. Thanks for reading.

    Patrick Slevin on 10/13/2009 at 12:08 PM 

  2. Patrick, this is a fun series, thanks. I STRONGLY encourage you to try out the Birushanah. The band is nothing like Envy and there’s no post-rock to be heard in it. Imagine a mammoth doom band that uses traditional Japanese gagaku scales and percussion instruments, plus a fretless bass. One of the most alien-sounding and wonderful doom acts I’ve ever heard. The recent record (Akai Yami) was one of my top five of last years.

    Etan Rosenbloom on 10/13/2009 at 11:55 AM 


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