Monday, December 18, 2006

Ü2K6: Deadly Melody

Before we get to today's album (Norwegian, non-Pitchfork, metal, from that extremely influential band), I want to talk about something that's oddly seen a rise this year: the black metal single. Metal's emphasis on technicality and harshness of sound often render it oppositional to a single, but bands that actually do well enough to care about singles for PR can put one together by simply polishing things and replacing a bit of the technicality with melody (see Poisonblack's "Rush" or Dark Tranquillity's "Lost To Apathy" for good examples of this).

This year, that sort of option hit black metal for the first time (you're deluding yourself if you think there's an actual single on Dimmu Borgir's Death Cult Armageddon). And #8 (today's) and #3 both prominently feature this "option". In and of itself, it's not like you're going to hear this on the radio or MTV. The cool thing is just simply hearing good, experimental, creative black metal focus on quality. Maybe there is a future for metal after all...

8. Zyklon - Disintegrate

(First off: Disintegrate's single is the superb "Ways Of The World".)

Disintegrate is this year's harshest album. Listening to Disintegrate is like repeatedly being hit with a sledgehammer at a thousand beats a minute. Of course, you should expect nothing else from the blackened death metal project of 2/3rds of what were Norway's foremost exporters of sonic chaos: Emperor.

Blackened death albums are a dime a dozen these days. What sets Disintegrate atop the rest is that they've combined the two so well: there's everything from stacked melodies ("Vile Ritual", the year's most intense song) to those wonderful multi-part riffs from Emperor's Prometheus ("Ways Of The World") to black metal's building progressions ("A Cold Grave"). It's not just blackened death, it's everything you could ever want from extreme metal in one album (I nearly forgot atypical riffs, like in the title track.) Of course, it helps having Trym (Emperor) as an octopus (also known as a skinsman, or a drummer), Samoth (guess what band) as your rhythm guitarist, and Secthdaemon and Destructhor (both in Myrkskog) to fill out the ranks.

One of the other terrible, beautiful facets of Disintegrate is, oddly enough, a focus on onomatopoeia through guitars. On "Disintegrate" itself, you can actually hear the "disintegration ray", a signature riff that comes in any time the title is shouted. "Vile Ritual" is strengthened by especially strong drum freakouts by Trym, including a ritual section in the middle of the bridge that really does bring that ritual imagery to the forefront (I said it had everything you could want in extreme metal, and this includes obscure subsubgenres).

It blasts face, it offers you melody to soothe the pain, and there's an octopus with a sledgehammer to bring the pain back: what more could you want?

Buy it here.

Tomorrow: Maybe you want depression.

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