Friday, July 19, 2013

Bhaobhan Sidhe - The New Order

Bestial Summoning are one of my favorite black metal bands, sounding halfway between Mayhem's DMDS and a practice room shaking in an earthquake. Bhaobhan Sidhe is a project of Conscicide of Bestial Summoning that began after the demise of that great early black metal band. Coming from an unhinged black metal band, one should expect that this music isn't something particularly normal. Delving into dark ambiance through minimalist black metal seems like a reasonable choice for this fellow and his mate who joined him to program drums. Two things are notable - Bestial Summoning's incredibly rough, barely together playing style was much more coherent than this, and this is something very odd, very dark, and almost incomprehensible.

There is a drum machine that seems to have been recorded onto a tape, complete with clipping, and mixed in at a decent volume level. It's not even proper drum beats, just occasional hits, not as sparse as drone doom but certainly not even a regular back beat. They sound like shit too - you could get the same drum tones from a Casio keyboard with wet speakers. The vocals are regular black metal vocals, quite loud. They're audible and at reasonable levels for a demo tape, though I'm not sure why they transferred it so quietly when parts of the recording are heavily distorted by clipping. I'd guess it has to do with neither of them having the slightest idea what they're doing beyond hitting buttons on a tape recorder.

So, it's experimental dark music, there's vocals and drums, and it's a very rough demo. So uh, shouldn't there be guitars? On closer inspection, there are indeed guitars, but they are barely audible. They're approximately as audible than Led Zeppelin's squeaking kick drum pedal, almost mistakable for tape fuzz. There's a slight sound in the background that sounds like the muted vibrations of your neighbor playing an old organ while you're in another house and the organ can't even be that loud because it's an organ. The guitars shouldn't be that quiet because they're guitars, and this is metal, right?

Well, not really, maybe some sort of dark ambient, but better described as amateur tape recorder foolery than actual music. There isn't even a full band here, and this realistically could have been a guy growling into a microphone while a drum machine played through a built-in speaker and a practice amp buzzed out guitar lines at low volume from the other side of the room. I don't know why the guitar is completely inaudible though, because the recording really doesn't make sense because of that. They aren't making use of the silence, nor are the vocals or drums trying to lead the music.

Even with the dark sound that comes with a very quiet, yet noisy lo-fi tape recording, this isn't effective as dark ambient. I was interested in this because of the BS connection (how appropriate to abbreviate it) and tried to get into the feel of an incoherent collage of noises. Even after I focused on the overall sound rather than thinking about what was going on, I couldn't get past that this was incoherent, incomprehensible, and such an obvious failure that the original two demo tracks led to another two and all four somehow got pressed to a 7". Did someone attempt to use a screwdriver as the record cartridge on this disc before I heard it? There doesn't even seem to be enough noise to excuse the awful production - maybe it was done one thing at a time, bouncing between two cassettes, recording guitars, then drums from an electronic keyboard, then vocals added? It's even bad for that, as Striborg (among others) did that and it didn't sound this bad.

I'm running out of words to describe how incomprehensibly terrible is this, so I'll pull one of the most wretched descriptions out to push the point home. This is far worse than Jewicide on every level. The drums are worse. The guitars are much worse. Even the ideologies behind this are apparently also national socialist, which doesn't make me feel better about looking for this music once I found out about that connection. When I listen to Jewicide after this, it sounds like actual music, since I can at least make out the basic components and what is going on. One reviewer** went to great lengths to attempt to literally describe what was going on, resulting in the analysis that the drums sounded like a children's train going back and forth, and the guitars had an extensively terrible system eventually going through 3" speakers. Sounds about right for either. The difference is that Jewicide are actually playing black metal through the world's noisiest, worst apparatus. Bhaobhan Sidhe aren't quite sure what they're doing with this equipment, to the point where the guitarists spends a while clicking and sliding his pick slowly against the winding of his lower strings, inconsistently dragging it on and off, sometimes one at a time, rather than going for a full, proper pick scrape, because this guy has literally no idea what he is doing. Rather than instruments at times, the noise coming through sounds like when I picked up the guitar end of a cable that was plugged in and it buzzed - trying to make music by touching the cable? I don't know.

So... what? What is this? It's not only the worst recording I have ever heard, it's also the worst performance I've heard, seemingly a recorded experiment with someone's first time picking up a guitar? I've heard those before, but certainly didn't record them, nor release them. I have no idea what the fuck is going on here and neither did the guys who made this "music".

Credit to BloodIronHate for these precise and imaginative descriptions that I build on. Great read too.

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