I came to this review fresh off of an entertaining and personable interview with Johnny Cappelety of Fetish Doll. My spirits were high, my mood was high, the Stanley Cup playoffs were under way and I had a few pub cans of Guinness to ride me through. Little did I know I would pound down those Guinnesses like a bona fide alcoholic by the time I sat down to review this promising little disc by Dvar: Rakhilim. Sounded cool by the title, maybe some earthy venture with some Middle Eastern flair, I hoped. There's something to be said about hope and fools; I'll let you figure that one out as I'm sure you readers are intelligent enough to put two and two together.
Dvar is an enigma and I wish I could say that in a complimentary manner, but alas, this forty-five minute kaleidoscope of schizophrenia nearly undid the feeling of goodwill I'd established with Johnny Cappelety. How do I put this? Think of that little segment on The Man Show called "What the F#@k?" Dvar's Rakhilim has so much promise that is marred by ridiculous screeching vocals that makes the doom laden pipes of Cannibal Corpse's George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher sound like the voice track of cherubs. Obviously inspired by someone who has watched Evil Dead and Beavis and Butthead one too many times, the delusional and demented yowls and shrieks undermine and destroy Dvar's playful, often inventive jewelry box-like compositions. The mother of all pissers, Dvar displays an evident talent to enchant, while at the same time, infuriate in one fell swoop of lunacy.
This goofy project begins with the title track, which raises the eyebrows agreeably with its 80s-style drum machine featuring a Slavic-inspired march tempo and simplistic synth and string arrangements that inspire confidence until the shrill ramblings of the aforementioned demonic voice disrupts and undermines the track uncompromisingly. Unfortunately, save for a couple of songs, Hanaar, Ieroh 3 and Kamharim, the other seventeen songs follow this asinine motif. Ieroh and Ieroh 2 feature a fluttery tempo amidst a militaristic snare. There is a nice lead melody on the reed wind instruments and one can almost detect a Beatles-esque quality until those aggravating vocals crush the innocence, creating a painful neurosis to the triumphant bridge of Ieroh that is momentarily uplifted by nice tribal drums and a befitting xylophone.
Yar Yar continues the obnoxious screechfest atop an already dry sounding polka synth tempo, while Lerlil switches into an oom-pah mentality and, despite the vocals, admittedly has a few gorgeous moments with its engaging melody. Naakhiil has a slow stomp beat and soothing syncopation that by this time makes one wonder why in hell the needless psycho vocals? Ya Raii ta Hirrih makes good use of its drum machine with its quick-step disco beat, but is thoroughly screwed up by that horrid gobbledygook. Nadrah's renaissance influences and harpsichord synth are pleasing to the ears until that garbled garbage ruins the spirit. Getting the picture yet? No?
Okay, I'll humor you some more. Yalaraa T'kiin has a slick mod dance groove and a really cool string arrangement that is totally fucked over by those meddlesome noises. Amaas Takhi is lullaby-ish and momentarily soothing, once again mashed by an inept vocal track. Arraheem is a cutesy and sedate composition, at least momentarily. Vo Rakhilim is playful and punchy, for awhile anyway. The final track, Nehadaim, features a melancholy march and over-the-top screeches that vie to be a second rate King Diamond. At least the King knows what he's doing. I think you get the picture now.
The majority of the songs on Rakhilim are ambitious and crafty, most assuredly. Props to Dvar for that sense of ingenuity. However, the extracurricular voicing is petty and downright bullshit. They strive to be clever when they are simply atrocious. The potential of this group is flat-out exterminated by a tired-ass joke that runs its course a few caterwauls into the disc. Satirical, maybe, but The Darkness knows how to do satirical and serious in the same bar and pull the thing off. Rakhilim is a befuddling project that loses the cred it quickly establishes. Needless to say, I played Cannibal Corpse's The Wretched Spawn immediately after this review. Now that is properly arranged chaos and disorder.