Review: History moves in cycles, iterating circularly both in context and internally, as if analyzing its effects against its guts, and in this method Carbonized negotiates the rigid rebellious nature of grindcore in combination with the introspective and ludic elements of metal, using each to transcend the other in an alluvial panopoly of techniques that elevate the grindcore cynicism toward human politics to a metaphysical formula.
1. Recarbonized (4:07)
2. Hypnotic Aim (1:44)
3. Euthanasia (3:33)
4. Blinded Of The Veil (3:28)
5. Syndrome (2:10)
6. Reflections Of The Dark (2:38)
7. Third Eye (2:14)
8. Purified (From The Sulfer) (3:32)
9. For The Security (1:58)
10. Monument (2:51)
Starting deliberately with one of the most basic riffs in the underground, this album struts into existence by blasting out a declaration of simple rigid conflict, then breaks it to divide its more boisterous complementary half into a series of high-speed riffs backed by a simple melody; this archetype repeats through exuberant rhythm riffs like those favored by the more aggressive moments of Discharge or Repulsion contrasted with strikingly euphonious melodies and aesthetic dissolution of any single form, including offtime yells and goofy singing. This fragments the grindcore-safe thinking of rigidity, dissolving it into the emotional, and then melding that into a brutal realism that approaches pure Zen nihilism. These tendencies underscore the theme of the lyrics of the title track, which emphasize how individual fear produces control systems of increasing power, not the other way around.
Riff for riff, this release exceeds in intensity other early releases of the grindcore genre, but because like other undersung grindcore (Dead Infection, Blood) it chooses to express itself in metaphor and context instead of direct symbolic assault in a linear affirmation of the tangible aspects of material reality being exactly what they seem to signify, it never garnered the praise of the grindcore community. The largest influences for faster parts are Repulsion and Napalm Death, but the deliberate inclusion of contrasting elements like disco beats, surf guitar riffs, and inverted chords seems designed to thwart the idea that anything can be as a whole exactly as it is represented. While this could easily veer into the trivial re-configuration of known elements to produce a baffling but "unique" exterior, Carbonized avoid it on this album by always having a narrative of expression, even if one outlined in the consistency between disparate parts.
Guitars, bass and drums interact in the integrated style expected from genres like metal and grindcore yet interrupted by dynamic breaks from the onrush of sound return in solidity, giving the album a firm base of listenable material upon which to build. It deviates from this foundation into the inner world of imagination, contemplative and vaguely mystical, which it develops through wandering melodies that drift without beat emphasis in the noctilucent style of early Therion. Like a scientific occultism, this reminds us that good people create evil when they mistake the appearance of good for the process that recreates good; where metal reminds us ("only death is real") that trumps emotion, Carbonized aims to stealthily slide under the symbolic level of perception with a cycle of renewal within its momentum of revolution, replacing aggression against the tangible with an enduring awareness of possible, and escapes becoming the next iteration of the dogma it would replace.
Review: The descent into weirdness accelerates with this avantgarde grindcore album which replaces the flow of constant sound of a fixed dynamic with sparsely placed guitar motives in a space defined by ambient percussion that defines a change in musical scene and accentuates a developing theme of disparate phrases more than frames it uniformly. Lead melody lines dominate narrative in the place of drum and chord unison, breaking apart from rhythmic consistency to explore themes repeated in different forms and phrases throughout each song. These effects create a dynamic of constant change, like a soundscape rushing under a silent night flight, in which the psychological projections of the listener fill a raw space of potential.
As on the first album, phrases drop out of rhythm to take on a life of their own, and guitar playing consists predominantly of single-note picking of motive clusters which partition songs and create a linear theatre of collage sound resembling a fusion between avantgarde grindcore and the shredder heavy metal of the 1980s as channeled into a soundtrack or the choral dimension of a Greek tragedy, designed to bring life to the words of vision of a scene by highlighting them and not explicitly denoting them. In this ability to lead and shaow simultaneously, the lead guitar liberates itself to be a voice commenting on the song through exploration the elements hinted at by overall aesthetic, lending a rich texture to the interactions within each spacious song.
1. Frozen Landscapes (instrumental) (3:54)
2. Vlad Tepes (4:19)
3. Lord Of Damnation (3:35)
4. Silent Journey (4:53)
5. Spanish Fly (instrumental) (3:41)
6. Succubus (4:02)
7. Night Shadows (3:02)
8. The Voice Of The Slained Pig (2:39)
9. Confessions (3:48)
10. Spacecraft (3:40)
11. Whip Me Darling (instrumental) (1:09)
That this construction sets up an opposition between Satriani-esque rhythm leads which create a melodic song within a song, and the more conventional fusion of one-chord surf, reggae, hardcore and metal riffing, causes no opposition because, like an accompaniment to a drama, guitars unfold in a landscape navigated by a dispassionate observer through variations which -- like a death metal band -- fuse the absurd through a continuity of development of abstract theme. Drums, like in jazz, shadow the phrase; unlike in jazz, they switch before each partition, but unlike in grindcore, they do not duplicate in unison the rhythm guitar tempo. Taking a cue from the first album, tempi vary widely as do the styles of percussion which quote from a dozen genres.
Instrumentals at times verge on the awkward and wandering, much as happened with Black Flag's "The Process of Weeding Out," whose unsteady and deliberately disharmonious melodies often foreshadow developments on this album. Yet on this album, the melodies of the lead guitar, and the evocative sense of journey they create, imbue the otherwise deconstructive with a sense of adventure unmatched in grindcore; the composition radiates from within the collage. For the most part, the melding works to destabilize the work itself enough that it can emerge with as few obligations as possible and so continue its narrative in whatever form finds convenience in integrating its parts.
In this sense, the song becomes its own patterning, and different phrases create through harmonic sketching of similar progressions a scatter diagram in which the absent areas delineate the pattern to emerge. Consequently, this album is a joyride through the unpredictable to find a consistent development of the seed of melody that founds each of these tunes; some of the most beautiful work of Therion is presaged by some of these riffs, as well as constructions that showed up nowhere else. The result is a sense of epic detachment and yet a descent, a knotting into, the form that emerges only when a song is combined from its disparate parts, like how words typed on a page represent meaning that vanishes as the page bursts into flame.
Tracklist1. My Hate (3:04)
...and it all falls apart, when the line delineated in the first album between rigidity of impression and flexibility of enclosing structure is breached, and suddenly, that which was once an artistic desire to stimulate inward expression through outward invention swaps sides and the internal becomes dominated by the external, making a novelty mess of a once-great band. Not surprisingly, this happened at the same time both Entombed and Therion let go of the aethereal for the tangible results of popularity, media coverage, album sales and real-world political power. The drums and guitars mesh like early grindcore in the style of the first album, but the collage of deconstructed parts -- portable, defensive, pre-reactionary home made of discards like that of a hermit crab -- cloaks rather than silhouettes meaning, and the result is that all of its awkward and deliberately shocking moments become abrasive noise to the ear. Gone are the transcendent melodies. Gone is the abstract view of a creative mystic looking past horizons. What emerges instead is novelty, in a screeching, dischordant, insistent and bratty form.