Draugar – Weathering The Curse

How, exactly, when there are numerous brilliant unsigned bands out there, does fucking DRAUGAR manage to get a record deal with Moribund.  There’s precisely three possible reasons that I can think of for this match made in hell:

1.  Someone owes someone a favor, or perhaps Hildolf is a friend of some Moribund executive.

2.  Moribund signed Draugar before actually hearing this album and their reaction was akin to Peaceville’s upon hearing ‘Transilvanian Hunger’.

3.  They HONESTLY THINK that this is good music.

Now, wishful thinking makes me believe that it’s one of the first two options, but cognitively I know better and it’s probably the third, which really begs the question of what the fuck Moribund are thinking because god damn is this terrible.  This isn’t just bad professional music, it’s awful and fairly incompetent music, which makes it even more mind-boggling that this is being released on a fairly major label.  What the hell?  Nothing JUSTIFIES this album’s release.  It’s completely awful from top to bottom and no amount of hand-wringing apologetics can make it any better.

The production is awful, and not good awful, just awful awful.  It’s not just thin, it’s cheap and perpetually crackling like it was recorded on cheap, old tape, which does something to add to the atmosphere (which is about all this release has that’s decent).  That atmosphere; sort of vaguely warlike, not so much ‘in the battle’ as ‘trumpets on the horizon’.  Occasionally the music will work well to conjure some interesting imagery of vast grey landscapes and hordes of warriors approaching each other.  So in that respect, this release is a success.

What’s amazing is that a decent atmosphere is occasionally maintained when the ingredients themselves are such utter fucking shit.  A constant wash of Xasthuresque guitar noise just sort of lays there, very static even in the most intense and tremolo riffed moments.  Some of the slower riffs have their charms, but the faster ones are utterly incoherent strings of notes that have no relation to one another.  The riffs are long and composed of many notes, but this isn’t due to elaborate melodies, it’s due to Hildolf desperately trying to find some fucking resolution for his moronically composed melodic (non)sensibilities.  The whole album feels like this in away, as though the guy behind this music has a BASIC idea of what the songs were like but was suddenly surprised by a tape recorded starting and said ‘well shit, I guess I’ll have to improvise!’ and then saying ‘well that was good enough, I don’t think I need to revise that!’  Here’s the magical ending to this story, YES YOU DO HAVE TO REVISE IT.

Drums are a complete loss, maybe they’re programmed, maybe they’re played, either way they’re inaudible.  Occasionally a burst of medieval synths will intrude on the bland ‘depressive’ black metal, and they manage to shine for the brief glimmers that they appear.  But maybe the lamest part of this whole concoction are the pitiful, overly distorted vocals designed to mask someone with less than zero skill at projecting any emotion with his voice, and so thinking that adding artificial abrasiveness will somehow make up for it.  It doesn’t.

Look, this just sucks and when people point a finger at USBM’s depressive sect as being awful, THIS is the sort of band they’re pointing to.  This has no redeeming qualities.  If all the South Americans were right and there was such a genre as ‘trash metal’, this would be its frontrunner.

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~ by noktorn on September 2, 2008.

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