Friday, June 5, 2015
Cassette Review: Argentinum astrum "Malleus Maleficarum" (Failed Recordings)
[$5 // Edition of 50 // https://failedrecordings.bandcamp.com/album/malleus-maleficarum]
I like to think that after people read my reviews they form an opinion for themselves based upon what I've written and decide whether or not to purchase a particular cassette. In between the completion of reading a review and the actual pressing of the "play" button though, I hope some of the details are lost along the way because I tend to give more spoilers than not. And yes, I am telling you this as an introduction to a probable spoiler for this cassette right here. I've often discussed doing what this cassette does- whether intentionally or not, though in this case specifically I think it was done on purpose.
When you first press play on "Malleus Maleficarum" you will hear some quiet static crackling. As it goes on for a little bit, you will hear the screaming and heavy music in the background, hidden deep underneath it all. My first thought was that something was either wrong with the cassette itself or simply with the dubbing of it. Now, I'm no producer or engineer or anything, but if you were to make a list of what you wanted to hear the most prominently on your cassette and then have the last item be what you want to hear the least, it just felt to me like someone took that list and flipped it backwards. That is until some strong guitar notes come out. I'm thinking, "I can hear these clearly, so what gives with the rest of the music?" And, of course, yes, I'm listening to this at full blast, barely able to hear anything. And then. It. Kicks. In.
Do you ever feel like you just got Andy Kaufman'ed? I kind of do, but I have no objections to it. I would have done the same thing if I could have. The music itself is metal like Bloodlet but there is punk infused within it as well. If I hadn't stopped listening to hardcore and metal music as much when it started becoming less heavy, I'd probably be able to give you a better comparison, but really outside of those bands that think they're metal (or hardcore) and really aren't, I know just about all the bigger ones out there today still and I can't say that this sounds exactly like any of them, which bodes well for Argentinum astrum. Hollow screaming, swirly type guitar riffs and waves bring out complex guitar riffs ala Every Time I Die and this just shreds.
If you had presented this cassette to me maybe ten years ago I'd be easily able to start talking about similar bands from labels such as Robotic Empire to Ferretstyle. As I've kind of lost track of those old friends though, it seems like it's harder for me to place this heavy blast of metal but then at the same time I have to imagine that if they were still doing things worth writing about I'd still be writing about them. A lot of the reasons why I stopped listening to new bands in the genres of hardcore and metal is because they simply weren't either of those things. And I feel like for a long while those imposter bands were at the forefront but now it's time to take it back.
Because this is every bit as heavy and amazing as what I was listening to growing up. This is what people should think of when they think of metal, not whatever's happening on Warped Tour. It always pleases me to hear these bands in a genre I thought was once lost because everyone wanted to sing and look pretty. Was it ever really gone? I don't know, but it certainly wasn't as prominent for a while. But losing something and then getting it back is kind of what metal and hardcore are all about anyway, so it only seems fitting. Put this one on, crank it up and if you blow out your speakers know it was for a good cause.