Cethegus – Moribundus

I’m easily the most pretentious person in the world and even I think Cethegus is pretentious.  Even when the music is good (very occasional), the pure pretense of it overwhelms the weak species of enjoyment I can find in this demo.  It’s so very snide and I’m not sure if that comes from Cethegus actually thinking they’re making great art and everyone else’s music is inferior or if they’re simply not trying at all.

Cethegus plays a variety of pseudo-experimental sludge/doom that sounds mostly improvised.  There’s very little actual guitar used, and what is there pops up infrequently, playing whining high notes for texture.  The dominant melodic force in the music is that of a creaking distorted bass which just kind of bumbles around in a relatively logical fashion; I don’t know if there are any real riffs or just notes improvised within a certain scale.  The drums are similarly meandering, popping and crashing here and there with no real order to them.  The vocals seem to be the focus of the music; they shriek and howl and sometimes enter a Mike Pattonesque demented clean.  The songs are rather unstructured and the peaks and valleys they have seem more incidental than intentional.

The most I can say about this is that it’s cute.  Sometimes when it gets most intense and abrasive I’ll find it cool but the rest of the time it’s just trying waaaay too hard to be interpreted as this dark, mysterious outsider art.  It’s like the band is caught in some no-man’s land of trying to maintain this utterly serious aesthetic while making music that’s pretty goofy in general.  There’s ways to make serious work with silly and actually make something cool out of it, like how Livercage has a bizarre, seemingly joke aesthetic at times that somehow makes the music more darkly sardonic, but with Cethegus I can’t tell if it’s supposed to be a parody or an earnest attempt at making music.  In either case, it doesn’t do it very well.

But fundamentally beyond the aesthetic the music isn’t very good.  Unstructured and improvised can be good with a set of musicians who know how to work together, but the idea of working together only pops up a few times on this whole demo.  Most of the time it’s like the band is struggling to find a place together, like two guys trying to high-five each other but missing repeatedly.  Occasionally it all assembles and makes something pretty weird and tortured, but most of the time it’s a collection of meaningless, ‘dark’ notes that go nowhere and don’t collect into anything.

It’s okay as a curiosity piece but it’s entirely unnecessary.  Maybe it’s impressive to people who haven’t heard this sort of thing before, but I have numerous times so this has little to offer me.  It’s just rather pointless and trite.

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~ by noktorn on September 14, 2008.

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