Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Part Three

And here is the Celtic Frost -v- Scott Walker wrap up.


It would be easy to blame the passing years which often softens an artist’s rage and hunger to perform something new and raw but enter Scott Walker, an ex top of the pops star circa 1965 who at age 63 has reinvented his image and recorded a scraping and screaming grim opera. Not even H.R.Giger’s worst nightmare scored by the Swans could equal this kind of gruesome cacophony.

Ten years after Walker’s last release, The Drift has done just that, it is the ultimate departure from music accepted in and by popular culture. It literally takes you away from the light and towards an unspeakable darkness. What could be more terrifying than a man who isn’t playing dress up in bondage gear and flying V guitars but rather looks like a demure aging uncle who dispenses discordant grief as if shards of splintered glass from a broken man?

His poetic monologues chanted from track to track cement a narrative into something I wouldn’t dare call a song- perhaps a sculpture? His lyrics, more often than not character studies, dabble in death, disease, and politics. These depraved and decadent wordy snapshots steel beam support the orchestrated yet airy audio structures which surround them. The Drift is a bleak game of chess where uncomfortable sounds and sentiments are carefully positioned to wipe the listener out piece by piece.

There is nothing to compare this kind of evil to, in fact it is so unlike anything else out there (out there being the key word), there is no preexisting genre style to file it under.
The Drift isn’t just uneasy listening; it is physically and emotionally taxing to take in all at once while Celtic Frost in comparison disturbs more like a Disney ride than a psychological journey into a place more fear provoking than hell itself.

Scott Walker wins.