With the proliferation of music via the Internet, it’s doubtful that the classification of genres as firm barriers between styles of music has no more place. It would behoove all of us to accept a more elastic view of what was ultimately always meant to be nothing more than a tool. Many bands are working towards the dissolution of these supposedly well-defined abstractions, some with more success than others. The Misanthrope appears to almost be an experiment in how directly one can attack these bulkheads in music and still maintain an elegance often reserved for more stable works. Make no mistake however; this is not experimentation for the sake of experimentation. Lord knows we have enough of that and it rarely sounds good. Instead, Supersession is the unique and convoluted vision of one man and his attempt to translate it into record form.
The first two songs of the album, Foreboding and These Tunnels Are Alive serve as a warning to the listener that this record is going to be eclectic. The first begins with harsh, wub-filled, drops echoing Igorrr at his sanest and delivering a convincing and well realized breakcore beginning. However, the next track is a lot more technical, focusing on the guest vocals by Paul Maconko and drawing on technical death metal to further elaborate on the explosive beginning already at hand. The last few phrases of the track are masterful, picking off from an eerie, Meshuggah-like passage to end in flurry of heavy riffs and crisp screams. So far, so good: we are looking at a riff oriented creation that’s not afraid to explore around its edges.
However, if we thought that two genres will be the maximum presented to us here, we were sorely mistaken. ‘The Spiral Obssession’, beginning with a quiet ambiance that serves as a preparatory moment for whats to come, is immensely heavier and slower. The riffing at its end, once the main sound kicks in, reminds us of stoner/death ensembles like Anciients. The almost oriental twist added to the music is further amplified by the shifting drum sounds, much more reverberated and dispersed. This is only a stepping stone however, as ‘Lichtenberg Figures’ erupts into our ears with Bongripper like slowness and thickness. The entire track is a sludgy iteration on the previous one, amping up the already chuggy sound and turning it virtually honey-like.
To get us back on track ‘The Milwaukee Cannibal’ and ‘Obsequious’ return to the faster paced, experimental, roots of the album but turn said experimentation to 11. The first is akin to the opening track but much more scattered, with electronic beats flying all over the place and the guitars further dug into its chuggy riffs. The second is also akin to its predecessor twin but where the other was rigidly heavy ‘Obsequious‘ is light and frantic, never at once settling down on a core sound. The vocals here, by Janick Klausen, are even harsher and lend themselves well to the discordant aim of this track.
And so, we arrive at the end with the four piece, self-titled, closer Superssion. This monster of the track opens its mouth wide and simply swallows this album whole, mixing everything we’ve hard so far in its echoing belly. It’s almost the entire album in miniature: a violent, erratic opening, sinking into a bottomless, droning silence, only to pick up again more frantic and violent than before. It’s a good indication for what you can expect from this album: a thorough dedication to artistic vision, little or no compromise when it comes to execution and a devout dedication to blindsiding listeners. And we say that in the best way possible.
The Misanthrope’s Supersession gets…