Pushing the boundaries beyond enjoyment
Diving into the throes of experimental music is a good way to get way too many viewpoints shoved in your face all at once. The whole fandom of the genre is obsessed with whether or not you can make something outside the bounds of music, most people who love the genre would proclaim that “everything is music” and while they’re not incorrect, there is a point where music stops being fun, at least for a large portion of people. The Alone Rush, the latest record from Wrekmeister Harmonies, tips the scale a smidge beyond fun.
The album doesn’t start out in a particularly challenging manner, it does, at the very least, have the decency to build up into scaring away any potential audience. However, that’s not to say that the album begins in a manner that is terribly engaging either. “A 300 Year Old Slit Throat,” the rather un-aptly named track is a slow droning creature that offers only the former half of its title to the listener. It’s just not that engaging of a track, the slurred drawling lyrics melt into the background of strings and light percussion. The main issue presented is that it is an easy track to fade into, but the pace and tonality of the lyrics clearly indicate that they are meant to be heard, forcing the track to exist in a limbo between background and focused listening.
“Behold! The Final Scream” suffers from many of the same issues as the opener. In fact, if one were to click into “Behold!” at just the right time, they would notice that the guitar in the front of the track is identical to the end of the first track, this is a common trick for between track transitions, but when it jumps over tracks it begins to feel a little stale and ridiculous. Yet there are changes afoot in the middle of the track, a certain feeling of malice takes hold of the track, pulling it out of the limbo of background listening as the track crawls up in intensity.
The true centerpiece of the record is where the intensity reaches its culmination. “Forgive Yourself and Let Go” begins cool and calm before launching into madness about halfway through the track. It’s often a difficult balancing act to have two extremely different parts in a single track, unfortunately for listeners, Wrekmeister Harmonies does not nail the balance this time. The roaring guitars and clattering percussion are wild, arrhythmic, and go on for far too long to be of any enjoyment to those not deeply versed in improvisational or experimental music. Even then, many who fulfill those traits may still find the track self-indulgent and obnoxious after a certain point.
Noise is not the enemy of music, it never has been. Many of the most innovative releases in the past decade have either been from the world of noise or have deep associations with noise music. The issue is when noise is handled haphazardly. A deftly delivered section of noise has the power to pump adrenaline and inspire fear, when it is applied without care, as was the unfortunate case with The Alone Rush, it just becomes noise, an obnoxious buzzing that goes nowhere and says nothing.