Matterhorn: Vol 1 The World Began Without Man...

Want a soundtrack to the end of humanity? Here's one


Vol. 1 The Earth Began Without Man...

Label: Thinker Thought
US Release Date: 2011-01-04
UK Release Date: 2011-01-04

You’ve got to love a metal band that takes as its theme the destruction of the human species through volcanic eruption. Well okay, maybe 'love' isn’t the right word. Certainly, though, there’s a conceptual element here that raises Matterhorn’s Vol. 1: The World Began Without Man... above some of its sillier counterparts, and it deserves acknowledgment.

Not that the concept is brought out through the lyrics, because there aren't any, apart from occasional snatches of real-life TV commentary. It's the album's liner notes that make it clear that the first song, "Long Valley Caldera, 8:32 a.m.", is about the eruption of a volcano that spews "6700 cubic kilometers" of ash. From there, as you might imagine, things only get worse. By the time we reach the final song, "99942 Apophis", we are dealing with "global fire" and "continental molting". Yikes!

The good news is that the vocabulary of heavy metal -- pounding drums, scorching layers of distortion and feedback, chunky rhythms and the occasional bit of nimble-fingered fretwork -- is the perfect medium to suggest global apocalypse. Lack of vocals means also a lack of -- thank God -- cookie-monster growling that passes for singing with so much of the metal fraternity these days. The five songs that make up this 30-minute arc vary in tempo and structure with enough sonic surprises to ensure that the proceedings never get dull. That's as it should be: the last thing anyone wants from the end of the world is to get bored.






What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) About America

Telling the tale of the cyclops through the lens of high and low culture, in O'Brother, Where Art Thou? the Coens hammer home a fatalistic criticism about the ways that commerce, violence, and cosmetic Christianity prevail in American society .


West London's WheelUP Merges Broken Beat and Hip-Hop on "Stay For Long" (premiere)

West London producer WheelUP reached across the pond to Brint Story to bring some rapid-fire American hip-hop to his broken beat revival on "Stay For Long".

Collapse Expand Reviews

Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.