CD Review

The Thessalonian Dope Gods – “High Idol Pulsation”

By Manda L. Earp

High Idol PulsationIf I said that this CD was dope, would someone roll their eyes at my pun and then kick my ass?

Well, no worries. The Thessalonian Dope Gods’ newest release, High Idol Pulsation, is unusual, eclectic, and entertaining, but it’s not exceptional enough to be given the extremely high distinction (ha, ha) of being “dope.” Art students Edward Shimborske III (a.k.a. “ES3”) and Randy Wilson, along with ten other guest musicians (known as the “Supplementary Tribe”) have put together a hit-or-miss album that is a cacophonous blend of rock, industrial, and metal.

High Idol Pulsation starts out on a high note with the first track, Meat of the Hoof. With an old-record style introduction, a catchy, industrial-rock beat and a smooth tempo change about a minute into the song, Meat of the Hoof showcases the talent and originality of The Thessalonian Dope Gods. The instrumentation, forceful and driving, makes the screaming lyrics a bit hard to understand, but that’s part of this track’s charm – it’s muffled, hardcore intensity. This song is a winner. What’s unfortunate is that most of the songs following it are not.

Burying The Equilibrium is like listening to an angst-ridden Limp Bizkit(1) song, complete with irate lyrics and poor rapping. While the mixture of techno and rock is clever, the forced and almost cheesy nature of this song makes this a track worth skipping. Similarly, track ten, entitled Rattle, is interesting in musical form, especially with the layered voice effects during the chorus; but the repetition of the words “Rattle, Rattle,” is again forced, unnatural and just downright silly.

My main issue of contention with High Idol Pulsation is track four, Bring In The Witches (which is actually listed as track five on the back cover and inside the booklet – someone made a huge editing and printing error before this CD was released, and though that is not the fault of The Thessalonian Dope Gods specifically, it does distract the listener from the music). Editing errors aside, Bring In The Witches has an enormous flaw – it sounds EXACTLY (and I do mean exactly) like White Zombie’s Thunderkiss ’65. That’s great if you like White Zombie – and I do – but it’s eerie how similar the two songs sound. Even the lyrics bear a striking resemblance to something White Zombie would write. I can’t say I didn’t like this song, but I think the only reason I DID like it is because it oddly mimics the head-banging intensity of another band. I’m sure it wasn’t intentional, but that parallel makes this track too freaky to enjoy.

Luckily, there is another winner of a track halfway through the album. Licking The Stitches, Loving The Bone is a sexual, humorous song, with exceptional screaming and a few amazing guitar riffs. Though the lyrics are a bit hard to catch, they are worth tuning in for: “Her womanhood – misunderstood; she loves her job, she does it good. She starts to moan, lets out a groan – she licks the stitches, she loves the bone.” The clever lyrics and high-energy rhythms pack one hell of a punch, and that’s what makes this track great from start to finish.

When I said this album was hit or miss, I truly meant it. Where the lyrics are creative, the vocals are livid. Where the instrumentation is pleasurable, the unfitting rhythms and beats are distasteful. The Thessalonian Dope Gods know how to mix things up and produce an unusual sound, but sometimes that sound is just not worth listening to. And with a CD so hit or miss, I have an extremely hard time determining if I should recommend it for your listening pleasure. But in this case, regardless of the negatives, I’d have to say that High Idol Pulsation is worth hearing for its’ few shining moments. If nothing else, the back cover art is a hit – it’s a convincing parody of the surreal cover from Led Zeppelin’s 1973 release, Houses of the Holy.

I guess what I’m saying is, don’t be a dope – check it out. I liked and disliked this CD, sometimes both at the same time, but at least it made me feel something – and really, isn’t that the purpose of music in the first place?

(1) Strangely enough, Limp Bizkit’s Three Dollar Bill Y’all was reviewed by good ol’ Dan back in Legends #87.
Contact Information:
Sin Klub Entertainment
Post: P.O. Box 2507, Toledo, OH, 43606, USA
Phone: (419) 537-9293

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