Friday, May 21, 2010

Sect - Three Song Promo

Sect - Three Song Promo
1999-2000, Black Beyonds Music

A demo/promo CD like this brings to mind again exactly why I first got into the underground, so many years ago now: to hear the very beginning of music, straight from the fingers and mouths of artists - to hear music undiluted by the commercial music industry (a death factory, if there ever was one), and to bring to my ears the honesty and integrity of art that was composed beyond or outside the soul-numbing compromises of the standard musical structures. The underground should be about personal expresssion, because there is nowhere else for such instincts to find satisfaction anymore (if there ever was), and if the music industry is now completely closed off to innovation, honest outpourings of emotion, and the passion of creation, then the underground must support its own wholeheartedly. Otherwise, what do we have? A mockery of what art can and should be.

But aside from all of this, I love it when I get music like this to review, because not only does it confirm my ancient faith in the integrity of the underground and the individual artists working alone all across the world, it allows me to express that admiration without base hypocrisy. Underground this surely is, but is also excellent material - some of the best 'pure' black metal I have heard in a long time, courtesy of someone (rarity of all rarities) from these shores, and from someone (as an addition) who makes it clear in the bio information he has sent me that he has no interest in commercial viability, trends, or scene politics. Hallelujah.

Sect is a one-man black metal band, yes, like many others before it, but that's meaningless, and I only mention it to refute any of the suspicions that you may have based on such a status. I think I could make a fair argument that the most powerful and innovative black metal music has always been the product of what would be called 'project' bands (those with less than the 'accepted number' of musicians) by more-established multi-member acts that have languishing in the scene for years. First to mind, for example, are: Burzum, Manes, Darkthrone, Summoning, Abigor, Taake, etc. and don't forget the Unholy Grail of all one-man bands: Bathory. Besides, as everyone knows, in most bands only one member writes the music...he is usually considered the 'leader' of the group.

I think that many one-man bands are actually a far better bet than multi-member bands when it comes to innovation or musical integrity because in the music of these 'solo projects' the urge and instinct of pure expression has often not been dulled by time, the arguings and posturings of different egos and styles, or the 'compositional process' of creation that I'm sure many of musicians among you know is only extended by the entrance of additional members into the fray. What I'm trying to say is this: in one-man bands, we often come closest to the the source and spring of inspiration, because such bands are often formed out of an unconquerable desire for original expression, and the music that is inside these solo artists is all the more passionate for being unable to withstand the corroding effects of waiting or the 'confirmation' of other personalities. It is also important to notice that 'project bands' are usually formed solely for the music they create, and not for all the other consideration (money, sex, drugs, fame, etc.) that often inspire musicians...shouldn't all bands be like this?

This promo/demo CD features three songs, two raging straight-ahread hyperspeed chaotic black metal opuses and the last, 'Tantric Death (Dirge For A Demon)' - which is, as the title would suggest, something of a meditation on death through the medium of long drawn-out screams and eerie soundscapes. It would serve equally well as the introduction to further material or, as it does here, the closing to an unleashing of the demonic. Throughout these songs, we have the uber-Norsk style of rapid fire atonal tremelo riffing in a glorious wash of distortion over relentlessly pounding drums which remind me a great deal of Burzum's early work, and the general 'coldness' of this release I think is a testament or something of a tribute to the influence of the early '90s Norwegians. The melodies are inspired - true minor chord paeans to evil distemper and despair, invoking a drowned world of gray hopelessness at lightspeed. In addition, the vocals are excellently placed, just beneath the main flow of the music, and break out over the riffing in drawn-out wretchings, moans, and wrath-drenched screams. Throughout these three songs there was never an interruption in my conviction that this musician not only truly understands the purpose of black metal of this sort but that he felt and could communicate, in depth, the emotions best displayed by such a style. I couldn't ask for more.

There really isn't much use in trying to describe this any further...if you are in any way a supporter of true underground black metal - music made by individuals for individuals, then seek this man's work out...otherwise...what can I say to you?