Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dethcentrik ~ The Dark Chronicles (EP)

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: black metal, experimental
Label: Death Incarnate Records
Year: 2011
Home: Colorado

Members: Stefan Klein ~ all instruments


When I write about an album I may have heard it previously or I may not. I usually take a few days, sometimes up to a week, to listen to it repeatedly & scribble something out. Sometimes after many listens I realize it's not something I want to write about after all, or maybe I'm having trouble moving the music to the medium of blank verse. Sometimes down the road when I hear it again I wouldn't mind rewriting the review as I hear new things or maybe I know more about the band & have heard more of their music & see a bigger context. I've become fans of many bands via reviewing them. But, it's no easy task. & that's ignoring just the pressure to write an interesting review better than what's out there. The last thing I worry about is my actual writing style. If you want to know how I really write when given time read one of my books. These reviews aren't about me but introducing new music. Dethcentrik I came upon by chance & was immediately intrigued after seeing bad review after bad review. I reviewed an album, later interviewed the founder for my podcast & was asked by him to remix some tracks of his for a forthcoming compilation. I'd like to think I've gotten to know Dethcentrik's music quite well & certainly more than any other reviewer. I still stand by my initial review but at the same time I'll confess that in later listens I've found new perspectives to worth through. I've found the nuances in the musical experiment that is Dethcentrik. But, Dethcentrik is a hard band to take. It's not for every listener. I said that before & my view hasn't changed. Frontman Stefan Klein will not disagree either, though he'll also point out that Dethcentrik is not the Satanic industrial death metal band everyone seems to feel it is. The music does indeed have a violent sound but its inherently not violent. It's frustrative not destructive in its attitude. Though, the complete absence of normal melody, harmony & reliance on near droning gothic piano & random screeching vocals does lean into the stereotype. & getting on a church's public threat watch list doesn't help things, even if it's based on a letter Klein wrote to a newspaper decrying religious hypocrisy only casually mentioning he was in a band. But, as he said, that was certainly something interesting to find on a google search. For some listeners the opening number "Enter Dark, Exit Light" will recall prison era Burzum with its four minute keyboard wafting in a smoky atmosphere of distortion. The melody lines are simple - one note, a couple notes, moving seemingly at random yet keeping around a root. The melody repeats a dark motif feeling like its resisting straying too far from its origin. It's like this is a silent horror film & Dethcentrik is the music that's been layered over it by the live organist. Other albums by Dethcentrik have included flashes of distorted guitars interrupting the procession. It's that jarring competition of sounds that has driven many listeners away & led to bitter reviews. Here everything is trimmed down to just the basics, partly driven by the fact that the other instruments were played by members of the band now long gone. "Stalking Beast Of The Night" follows a similiar music direction but jumps instead of staying on long notes, while the distortion has increased & a fast drum loop churns deep in the background. It also features Dethcentrik's alienating top of lungs screaming like a goose being strangled. But, the screaming does provide a break from the dominating keyboard lines, even if the lyrics are completly indeciperable. As the album progresses through its three tracks the music seems to move from simple to complicated. The final track "Going Into The Light" has the same keyboard but with heavier chords that appear & disappear. It goes on a bit too long with not enough variation. Dethcentrik have crafted some super minimalist death metal here. It won't be for everyone & some will still call it garbage & certainly for some other releases I would sympathize. But, here Klein has cut everything away to the basics & thus it comes across much different than other outings. But, like all music, it's all in how you hear it. Two people will never hear the same song in the same way. I don't know if that's good or bad! Some people say the same thing about Dethcentrik!

(featured on the Roman Midnight Music Reviews & Interviews Podcast: episode 52 & 53 "Interview: Stefan Klein", May 2012, click here to listen)



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