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Unique, Beautiful - A Masterpiece - 99%

bimu, December 23rd, 2006

Weakling's only full-length is one of my favourite albums, in any genre.

This said, on to the review. With five lengthy tracks, "Dead As Dreams" is a truly unique and impressive album that sucks the listener in and never lets go. Its style is mostly black metal but there are elements of other genres present, which should not be overlooked as they make this album unlike quite anything in the genre.

Despite some similarities to Burzum, Shining or USBM bands such as Xasthur, Weakling strays significantly from the style of these bands. The two main similarities between Weakling and, e.g. Burzum are the vocals and the layered guitars. Weakling's vocals are indeed similar to Varg's screams, but while Varg's vocals were filled with anger, John Gossard's voice - technically terrible but very effective - expresses mainly despair. Also, it is used more chaotically which adds to the overall feel of the music, which is that of being traped in the midst of a battlefield with no possibility of escape, chaos all around, thoughts filled with death, despair, hatred.

Guitars on "Dead As Dreams" are truly amazing. To be precise, their layering is absolutely outrageous. You may not hear it at first but when listening carefully, you'll notice that the guitar tracks are composed of countless layers, some of which playing exactly the same riff. This is used most effectively in the title track, whose last 7-or-so minutes begin with a single guitar track and progressively, as the motif evolves, new layers are added (+other instruments), which results in an incredibly thick and mesmerizing wall of guitar sound at the end of the track. This MUST be heard as it's truly magnificient.

I also enjoy the drumming, which is varied enough and sounds especially dynamic during blast-beats - the fact that the drums are not triggered and organic-sounding very helps this a lot. Also, keyboards are used very subtly but add to the atmosphere.

In general, apart from black metal, Weakling incorporate elements of viking metal (the title track reminds me a bit of Sólstafir), post-rock, and even progressive rock, but they are twisted and re-interpreted, melting into something of its own kind.

There are certain albums that are not only excellent as a whole but also have moments of pure genius (even if only a few seconds) - "Dead As Dreams" has two such moments. The first one is the wall-of-guitars ending of the title track mentioned before. The other one can be found in "The Entire Fucking Battlefield", it comes at about 6 minutes into the song, when a calm clean guitar part turns into an extremely dynamic black metal blast. It's one of those moments when you actually expect that an outburst of noise will be thrown at you any second but despite the anticipation, when it actually comes, it destroys you with its ferocity and sheer power. Really really powerful.

Bottom-line: Absolutely recommended.