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Nihilism, Futurist Traditionalism and Conservationism

Fallen Heroes and New Stepping Stones

03 06 10 - 11:46

From Vincent Gamma, a new contributor:


If ever you could inject a lisp into "Death Metal," last night would have been the night to do it. I saw thebandformerlyknownas...andapparentlystillknownas... Pestilence last night and I have to say it's been a loooooong time since CONSVMING IMPVLSE came out.

I'll throw out some phrases to give the night context:

Kinder.

Gentler.

All-girl pit.

Extremity lite.

Watching the entire oneish hour set, I am again faced with a giant "WHY?" Why are they still together/trying to perform? Why are people tolerating/accepting this output?

I can't blame the crowd last night.

The crowd was by-and-lard in their 20's with a few of us that were in high school when Mallaeus Malleficarum and CI came out. They weren't there to see the Famous Tour (1990 - Death/Pestilence/Carcass). They weren't there to see Martin Van Drunen (MVD) belt out the unreleased, unrecorded Testimony of the Ancients, only to feel confused and disappointed when the self-same album came out the following year WITHOUT MVD at the helm. They didn't try to tell themselves that Patrick Mamelli was... alright... at the vocal duties...

I can't blame MVD.

Martin is no longer in the band, yet he's doing extremely well with Asphyx, Hail of Bullets, whatever. He still has his CHARISMA and PRESENCE. When I've seen him play, it still feels amazing to watch; it feels true.

I have to blame the Patricks.

They decided to continue on, thinking that they were greater than the sum of the original parts. They decided to not bring amps and play through pedal boards routed through the PA (made the guitars soft and safe sounding). They decided to modify songs from CI into dumbed-down versions. They decided to tell the crowd last night, "we're gonna fucking do you motherfuckers a favor and play something off fucking consuming impluse..."

I'm sorry, what? You're doing US a FAVOR by playing material off CI?

In retrospect, don't do us the "favor" of fucking up your own songs. Just don't play them.

I know firsthand what that's like. I don't enjoy it when it doesn't feel right and you're not into it. So don't do it.

The real favor would be to hang it all the fuck up and stop. You don't have the ability to continue doing it for the sake of doing it.

In this I CAN blame the veteran members of the crowd last night - they were happy that Pestilence was playing purely for the sake of "a band that's still around" coming to the States and grinding it out. Someone should have said no. I stayed to see the whole thing, but I said no throughout. I stood in front of PM and yelled Martin's name. I looked at him and walked to the back after the retarding of Dehydrated.

It was not ok last night: no band should give the impression that they are covering their own songs. Which is what happened last night. I can nitpick about the stage banter. I can nitpick about PM trying to sound like MVD. I can nitpick about how old they looked. I can nitpick further about the sound of the triggered drums dominating the audio and the HD cameras filming everything, likely for a DVD of the tour - another moneymaking scheme...Those details aren't so much the point as is again the fact that we have this "legendary band" playing their material old and new as an afterthought. Not for the SAKE of doing it, but just because...

And that's not good enough anymore.

(oh yeah - the guitars were run through the PA w/o amps which made them soft and diffuse. The drums dominated everything and all the songs had been "quantized" rhythmically to sound alike. There were times when they started a new song that I thought they were attempting an old song because their own conventions are so samey. It was all very girl-friendly... repeat - all girl pit.)


And from CONservationist:


I re-read The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon last night, having remembered it as insightful and moody.

Instead what I got was a disaster. It struck me as obvious; I wanted to like it, but the "mystery" was clearly a pasted-together series of experts who provided mysterious hints, then on the second visit, became allies. It was like all bad novels where a character hooks up with a series of advisers who, as if paid by the CIA, help them through each step.

Even more, at the core of the novel was a sad excuse for logic. There are some people who realize everything is connected, and some who realize it's not. The latter group naturally are the horrible oppressor capitalists and they want to engage in a brutal mechanical subjugation of all life. If they could just see that we're all one... yet they insist on these divisions.

All of this launches from a promising plot about the equivalence of information and matter and how the exchange of matter results in a conversion to information, and that this must persist somewhere, or pre-exist as part of a divine plan. That's the interesting concept. But like The Matrix, this book -- and in fact all postmodern literature except White Noise -- takes it to a doofus level where we just need to understand love and then we'll all be one. Hello screwdriver of neotenic illogicality in the ass.

The one place this book shines is the character of Oedipa Maas. It's hard to dislike her because we understand her predicament: marooned in a time when all authority figures are insane, the people around you are even more insane, your society rewards the meaningless pursuit of wealth, and the only option appears to be to become a social drop-out -- which in turn requires accepting dogma so reality-denying that it will finish off the rest of your soul. Unfortunately, this book endorses that second dogma.

I ended up disappointed. If I wanted a surface-level treatment, I could read the Huffington Post. In the meantime, the bigger questions are unanswered, namely the role of natural selection as helping produce that information, and the refinement of information as a bulwark against entropy.


Heroes often fall. They were stepping stones, and now have a place backward in time, like the first stubbed toe or Slayer riff we pulled off on guitar. They were learning for us and may have no context outside of that. What we need is a new stepping stone to shoot for, one just outside the leap we know for sure that we can safely make.

Consuming Impulse will always be a great death metal album, but it outlasted its creators. In turn, literature will be great, but I'm reading the Conrads, Delillos, Celines, Houellebecqs, Hemingways and Burroughses of this world instead of the Pynchons.

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