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Listening to your refrigerator with a stethoscope - 10%

Zodijackyl, October 22nd, 2011

I heard of Bunkur when I read an interview in which Martin van Drunen complimented them, and a few years ago (a few years after this album), he joined the band. That merited a listen, because he has managed to surround himself with quite an arsenal of talented musicians and produce some great albums. Naturally, the place to start was their first full-length album.

Around seven minutes in, I was wondering if anything was going to happen. Several times throughout the extensive duration of the album, I wondered why it wasn't over yet. It seems they heard Sleep's "Dopesmoker" and decided to record a single song over an hour in length with only one riff, except in this case they didn't really have a riff. The riffing is all really low tones, apparently only bass guitars and no regular guitars, though with levels of distortion normally associated with detuned guitars and extreme metal. It's no surprise I heard of this band because of a guy known for playing the open E string after being handed a bass when he joined Pestilence as a vocalist. The basses drone and the drums take slow, simple fills and drag them out endlessly - the drums parts might as well be three minutes of drum solos from The Melvins stretched out across 65 minutes. The vocals are dragged out, tormented, and incoherent, much like the album itself.

The production sounds like a precise replication of an old school death metal sound check. The drums carry the atmosphere, the distorted tones are dreary, the vocals piercing. It pretty much sounds like a rehearsal tape with balanced volume. The whole album sounds like an hour of the band standing around while the bassists struggle to play more than one note at a time, the drummer periodically practices slow fills, and the vocalists takes so long to sing that he could have written the lyrics as he went along with time to spare. The music isn't atmospheric, the production is somewhat so, but it goes absolutely nowhere and the band does nothing to further the song, the sounds, the textures, or anything else. It feels like they were distracted, watching a soccer game or something, forgetting that they were recording an album most of the time except occasionally forcing out a few notes or a drum part because they happened to have instruments in front of them.

Listen to five minutes and you've heard the whole album, nothing happens. Completely unconventional, experimental, and a testament to how that can fail to be listenable. This album is like listening to your refrigerator with a stethoscope, but you won't find anything substantial inside.