CD Review

Dissecting Table – “Memories”

By Ray Van Horn, Jr.

Collection III - The Black SummerIt'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, end 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 tendencies.

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