Music

Buried Inside: Chronoclast: Selected Essays on Time-Reckoning and Auto-Cannibalism

Adrien Begrand

Got the time tick, tick, ticking in my head: Want some philosophy to go with your metal?"


Buried Inside

Chronoclast: Selected Essays on Time-Reckoning and Auto-Cannibalism

Label: Relapse
US Release Date: 2005-01-17
UK Release Date: 2005-02-21
Amazon affiliate
Amazon
iTunes

No matter how much we try to avoid it, each and every one of us is a slave to the clock. Toddlers anxiously ask their mothers when it's time to watch Dora the Explorer. Students sit pinned to their desks, watching the minute hand continue its painful crawl toward the top of the hour. Everyone from executives to the guy at the video store waits anxiously for their coffee breaks, and even worse, our evenings are ruled by what time our favorite television shows begin. Hell, even yours truly has to submit this review to his editors by a certain hour on Sunday. With every perfunctory glance at our wristwatches, computer screens, or car dashboards, those ticking seconds control us all, no matter how much we want to deny it. The fact is, if you're reading this review, there's probably somewhere you have to be later on, at a specific time, so if you have a few minutes to spare between now and then, please bear with me while I tell you about an impressive little album that's all about the concept of time and the effect it has on us all.

"To the chronoclast, what is of direct concern is how time is perceived, controlled, exploited, manipulated, institutionalized and internalized. If we do not understand time, we become its victims." Heady stuff, indeed, and definitely not the kind of liner notes you'd usually expect from a young metal band, but then again, Buried Inside are far from your usual Ozzfest playing, moshpit inducing metalcore band. Instead, they've left the friendly violent fun to the Hatebreeds of the world, and have taken it upon themselves to actually try to send a message to the listener. The Ottawa, Ontario band's third album, and first for Relapse, Chronoclast, is as close to a "thinking person's metal" album as you'll ever find, as the lyrics and notes (complete with quotes from such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Jonathan Swift, Karl Marx, and economist/activist Jeremy Rifkin) makes the album come off as sounding like a university dissertation. A really loud, intense, cathartic dissertation.

Two styles of heavy music dominated 2004. There was the sprawling, superheavy drones of Neurosis and Isis, whose albums The Eye of Every Storm and Panopticon opted for the long, sustained guitar notes, providing as much ambient noise as visceral punch. Equally strong was the onset of contemporary hardcore, as the great underground sounds of grindcore (Converge, Pig Destroyer) and sludge (Mastodon) both hit an all-time peak in popularity. Like their fellow countrymen in Cursed, Buried Inside find themselves heavily influenced by both sides, and do a very good job at walking the tightrope between the two, but unlike Cursed's strong love for the sludge, these guys have a slight preference for the Neurosis/Isis sound. The riffs by guitarists Andrew Tweedy and Matias Palacios-Hardy ebb and flow, evoking as much My Bloody Valentine as the Deftones. Like on Isis's debut Oceanic, the overall tone of the guitars is heavy on mood, but once you get into the album, the melodies the duo creates are very effective, and in fact, carry each song, as Nicholas A. Shaw's screamed vocals are suppressed in the mix just enough to force the listener to lose themselves in the guitar melodies. Very different to Isis and Neurosis, though, is the stellar drumming by Michael B. Godbout, who performs with an intensity that's astonishing at times, providing maniacal fills and insane polyrhythms that are more similar to the tightly-wound "math metal" of The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Chronoclast, despite the dense beauty of the layers of guitars, is still an album that needs to be allowed to grow on the listener. Presented as a constant, 40 minute suite instead of a straightforward collection of songs (with upcoming albums by Meshuggah and The Mars Volta using the same gimmick, it seems that concept is really in vogue these days), there are few noticeable moments when a track ends and a new song starts, as each track bleeds into the next seamlessly. As a result, it's very difficult at first to find a memorable track to revisit, but after repeated listens, what ends up standing out most impressively are the languorous interludes "Time as Methodology" and "ReIntrodusction", and most noticeably the seven minute "Time as Surrogate Religion", an epic within an epic, a brilliant exercise in progressive heavy metal, a song dominated by a spectacular drumming performance by Godbout.

If the guitars and drumming rope you in, it's the lyrics that keeps you attached to the CD booklet for the duration. Heard without the lyrics as a reference, Shaw's monotone screaming tends to wear thin, but once you start to follow along in the CD booklet, it's intriguing, to say the least, as he boisterously sermonizes (but not too heavy-handedly) on nine different themes, sounding like a cross between a philosophy major and a sanity-challenged homeless guy on a streetcorner. The lyrics are tough to fathom at times ("Ideologies are habits of thought that defy thought and enable people to avoid thought"), but soon all the increasingly anti-capitalist lyrics start to make some sense.

A great poet named Ginsberg once wrote of people "who threw their watches off the roof to cast their ballot for Eternity outside of Time, & alarm clocks fell on their heads every day for the next decade." No matter how hard we try to wriggle from the grasp of the clock, its grip tightens, and especially in this technocentric time, it's more inescapable than ever. The subject is a fascinating one, and Chronoclast does an admirable job getting its message across, and is bound to keep listeners thinking long after the album's over. Trust me, dear reader, it's time well spent. Now, hurry off. Don't be late.

7

In Americana music the present is female. Two-thirds of our year-end list is comprised of albums by women. Here, then, are the women (and a few men) who represented the best in Americana in 2017.

If a single moment best illustrates the current divide between Americana music and mainstream country music, it was Sturgill Simpson busking in the street outside the CMA Awards in Nashville. While Simpson played his guitar and sang in a sort of renegade-outsider protest, Garth Brooks was onstage lip-syncindg his way to Entertainer of the Year. Americana music is, of course, a sprawling range of roots genres that incorporates traditional aspects of country, blues, soul, bluegrass, etc., but often represents an amalgamation or reconstitution of those styles. But one common aspect of the music that Simpson appeared to be championing during his bit of street theater is the independence, artistic purity, and authenticity at the heart of Americana music. Clearly, that spirit is alive and well in the hundreds of releases each year that could be filed under Americana's vast umbrella.

Keep reading... Show less

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

This week on our games podcast, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

This week, Nick and Eric talk about the joy and frustration of killing Nazis in Wolfenstein: The New Order.

Keep reading... Show less

Which is the draw, the art or the artist? Critic Rachel Corbett examines the intertwined lives of two artists of two different generations and nationalities who worked in two starkly different media.

Artist biographies written for a popular audience necessarily involve compromise. On the one hand, we are only interested in the lives of artists because we are intrigued, engaged, and moved by their work. The confrontation with a work of art is an uncanny experience. We are drawn to, enraptured and entranced by, absorbed in the contemplation of an object. Even the performative arts (music, theater, dance) have an objective quality to them. In watching a play, we are not simply watching people do things; we are attending to the play as a thing that is more than the collection of actions performed. The play seems to have an existence beyond the human endeavor that instantiates it. It is simultaneously more and less than human: more because it's superordinate to human action and less because it's a mere object, lacking the evident subjectivity we prize in the human being.

Keep reading... Show less
3

Gabin's Maigret lets everyone else emote, sometimes hysterically, until he vents his own anger in the final revelations.

France's most celebrated home-grown detective character is Georges Simenon's Inspector Jules Maigret, an aging Paris homicide detective who, phlegmatically and unflappably, tracks down murderers to their lairs at the center of the human heart. He's invariably icon-ified as a shadowy figure smoking an eternal pipe, less fancy than Sherlock Holmes' curvy calabash but getting the job done in its laconic, unpretentious, middle-class manner.

Keep reading... Show less
5
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image