Dissecting Table Memories
By Ray Van Horn, Jr.
It's sometimes difficult to review material recorded a number of
years ago, but let's face it; between 1997 and now, a lot of stuff was
recorded, particularly in the coldwave genre. Call it a post-industrial
movement if you will, but here is yet another bleak-hearted serving of coldwave
brutality recorded between 1999 and 2000, Veinke's The Black Summer.
Similar in theory and execution to other purveyors of this perverted genre, the
compositions offered on this disc are chaotic tortures of the damned. In fact,
D. Marvin of Veinke writes in his liner notes: "Knowledge alone is meaningless.
Knowledge and Ability are the means of power. Chaos is the only truth." Point
taken, but is chaos the absolute truth? According the rambunctious
discomfitures found on The Black Summer, chaos is simply, the be all,
The tracks are listed in lowercase Roman numerals, going
against the grain, which supports D. Marvin's dictum to "Strive. Achieve.
Conquer. Destroy. Create." In short, the rules are his to bend and manipulate
to his sadistic whims. Consider his parting shot: "Conquest is never complete.
Conquest is never done." So let it be written, and so let it serve as warning
to the listener.
Track i is unnerving sonic emptiness, a contradiction
to be sure, but nevertheless its cryptic onslaught is felt even more abruptly
on ii, with its screeching, pounding call to war, a war upon construct,
a war upon conventionality. The spirit is admirable, but unless one embraces
the malevolent clatter of this style of music, the manic destruction is taken
personally after awhile. iii features a lengthy vibration hum amidst the
clashing cymbal samples and a peculiar sound like a demonic wind chime. The
subtle flogging of the track is almost interesting but for the monotonous
humming and assorted hellish noises and voice scrapes one comes to associate
with this genre. Recorded back in 1999 it's radical, though unpleasant stuff.
In 2004, it's flat-out redundant.
iv is the most listenable track with its tonal
industrial kitsch. Checking in at a merciful four minutes, this Skinny Puppy
ala carte is nowhere near as abysmal as its predecessors despite the punishing
beat and howling protests through the subversive death samples. Moving on to
v, the best way to summarize it is this: As is the pattern with other
artists in this genre, every time a coherent near-song materializes, it must be
immediately pulverized and pulped by a hideous flotsam of audio commotion, a
shitzilla of pain-wracked fury with no purpose save to antagonize. Coldwave is
most assuredly a weapon, and thankfully, the death stroke on v comes pretty
quickly. Already deadened to the disc by this time, D. Marvin opts to stamp on
the listener's remains on the last two tracks, amongst the most primitive and
vile I've ever heard.
vi is an amped recording of wrapper crinkling with
hidden gags and chokes, asphyxiating itself and the listener, as if to make
sure we're all dead in Jim Jones mass suicide fashion. Lit up by electronic
exploitation, the track is ghastly and unbearable. vii is a fiendish
extension of its leader, chocked with static and a groaning hum that calls to
mind D. Marvin's decree: "Those who are blind shall remain blind." I personally
can only hope the light remains obscure to me.
The Black Summer is all it advertises. Not since I've
left college have I hated summer so much. Thanks, I'll settle for Danzig's
Dirty Black Summer. That, at least, has character amidst its evil
Post: P.O. Box 6254, South Bend, IN, 46660, USA