Friday, May 21, 2010

Pazuzu - III, The End of Ages

Pazuzu - III, The End of Ages
1999, Avantgarde

'This music was guided by the hands of decadence, evil, filth, suffering and plague...This is the antidote for Life!'

Well, there you have it. R. Wells, the man behind this release, summing up his own music.

Pazuzu is somewhat of a breath of fresh air, actually, to that it is an escape from the music that I've been listening to, this is something completely different from black or death metal, even though it is based on similar influences - springing, as it seems to do, from a black misanthropy no different from what most extreme black metal bands claim to feel.

Reminding me at times of Test Dept., this music is an exercise in ambient/darkwave atmospheres, varying from cold sound sculptures of desolate and lightless planes to the pseudo-militaristic marches of fascist fetishism. Over these passages R. Wells spouts his own messages, either of apocalyptic fervor or dark hatred - he sounds like a dead dictator or prophet phoning in his proclamations on a line where the music of the spheres is somehow bleeding in. More than anything else, this sounds like a rejected soundtrack for a documentary on occult right-wing politics. The drums fire, strike and clash, the bells toll, the wind blows, swords crash and break on armor, and the voice of doom rides over it all spitting out foreboding warnings. You know what this reminds me of? That voiceover at the beginning of The Road Warrior, where the narrator talks about how the 'great tribes went to war'. Hmmm....

While the songs vary in structure and impact from piece to piece, I have to say that I really appreciate the slower tracks where the synth and vocal work is toned down, where the low drones crawl and oscillate of their own accord, and where the 'lightless places' of Pazuzu come to the fore. An entire album of this minimalist approach would have really pleased me right now. Where are those Lustmord CDs? At other times, when the keyboards come in with baroque melodies and the rhythms start clicking off in a medieval St. Vitus's dance, it makes me think of ...The Soil Bleeds Black (or even Enigma, believe it or not) and that is not a good thing.

Intead of relying on keyboards, more of a found-sound or sampling technique would have worked wonders here. This aspires at times to a Boyd Rice effect while still being accessible and easy on the ears. I would have liked the esotericism on this release to have been pressed to the the absence of that approach the music is still dark and gratifying, but it feels like it is missing something if it is truly trying to be the 'antidote for Life.' This is not violent at all, but rather very soothing - in the way that falling unconscious can be after you've just suffered massive head trauma. So instead of an apocalyptic fervor, this album is obviously reaching for something different - for the funeral silence of death, perhaps, for the calm after the storm that death represents. In fact instead of being a discussion of the catastrophe that the Armageddon represents, this is really a sound picture of the aftermath of that event...or an evocation and reflection of the feelings that the thoughts of destruction bring to the minds of the Western world, from medieval times to the present. In that respect it is excellent.

'Easy listening for psychopaths' perhaps? Pass the martinis and misanthropy...