I’m not sure if many of you are familiar with Reggie Watts. He’s an off-kilter comedian who prominently incorporates musical elements into his act, mostly in the form of beatboxing, hip-hop, soul, and funk. He has appeared on Conan a number of times, wrote the theme song to Comedy Central’s Key & Peele, is a co-host on Comedy Bang Bang on IFC, and has his own stand-up special Why Shit So Crazy?! available for streaming on Netflix. His music video ‘Fuck Shit Stack’ went viral three years ago, which you may have seen before:
Dude’s an oddball for sure, and is a growing presence in mainstream comedy. One wouldn’t expect Watts to have an appreciation for death metal, but he recently took to the music site The Talkhouse to review the new Exhumed record Necrocracy, and actually had a lot of great things to say:
Like all death metal, Necrocracy is aggressive, but it’s also a little bit mesmerizing, so I guess it’s a little meditative to a certain extent. I like feeling the zen inside of music like this. Part of that is because it’s actually pretty groove-oriented — it’s all about what’s happening rhythmically. Maybe some people can’t see that, but the groove of it is what makes you want to rock your head back and forth while you’re listening to it. Any great death metal band is going to have a strong groove. On Necrocracy, “Dysmorphic” has a really good one — that’s the song on this album that I gravitate to the most. It keeps throwing you back and forth, like you’re on a ship on the ocean and it’s tossing you back and forth. It makes you want to give in to that groove – the more you fight, the more uncomfortable you’ll be, so you surrender to it. But it’s not forcing you to do anything, it just kind of is. “Dysmorphic” sways — it’s like a waltz, in a way — it has a long swing, like a pendulum swinging back and forth. Most of the album is an onslaught of even metronomics but this one is different.
When you talk about death metal, you’re talking about really fine distinctions that people are going to make — it takes an aficionado to make an informed opinion. But Necrocracy has all the elements that death metal fans will appreciate. They are virtuosic musicians, it’s got some old school elements to it — some of the grooves sound like 1997 — but it’s got some new things, like “Dysmorphic,” that are an evolution of sorts. This album sounds timeless, basically. I guess Necrocracy is a concept album. It’s a complete system. Exhumed came up with a theme, a world that they created, and they populate it with these pieces that inform you and take you on a journey. It’s one whole experience.
It’s nice to see extreme metal get positive recognition outside of the usual circles. When I came across the original post on Reddit, I half-expected the review to be a gag. You know, the typical “2spooky4u” sort of thing. What a pleasant surprise, and quite an interesting post. Hopefully Reggie keeps up the trend with reviewing music in this manner, metal or otherwise. He’s a great writer!