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Dissonance Causes Acute Animal Magnetism - 87%

bayern, March 25th, 2017

One only needs to see the alias Plenum (aka Petter Berntsen) in the band’s line-up to know what to expect. The man is the mastermind behind two of Norway’s most inventive left-hand-path acts, Ved Buens Ende and Virus. This is actually his first project started in the distant 1996 under the name Taarenes Vaar. Back then the style was black metal with less ordinary avantgarde flourishes the guys releasing two demos before splitting up.

The material presented here was written as an immediate follow-up to those demos, but one only needs a minute into “Demons in Tuxedos” to realize that this recording would be as far from black metal as Voivod or Fates Warning; yes, that far. So the fan’s ears will be reached by quasi-doomy dissonant rhythms which leisurely creep forward unerringly followed by insistent burpy bass and deep soulful clean vocals. Style-wise this can be classified as operatic progressive doom metal, a style which Arcturus started playing on “The Sham Mirrors”, and My Dying Bride nicely touched on their experimental masterpiece “34.788%... Complete”. That’s the reason why it breaks one’s heart that this grand effort wasn’t released at the time when it was conceived; when it was going to be a truly pioneering work…

We take a few minutes to overcome the grief and sorrow that rushed over due to this injustice, whatever the causes were for it, and carry on with “Carnal Catering Service”, a dark doomster with heavy jarring riffage also recalling the more experimental spirit of the Swedes Abstrakt Algebra; and with “The Gentleman Is in the Details” which is an atmospheric dissonant semi-ballad with abrupt jumpy strokes that will keep the listener constantly on his/her toes due to their unexpected application. “Romance” will bring a lot of “romance” in your house with a portion of elegiac progressive doomisms that don’t stray too far from the balladic parametres, and “The Dandified and the Devilish” is another nod to our holy dissonance also speeding up with sharp dramatic riff-patterns, but don’t expect those to develop towards any musical extremities. “The Crooner” is an unnerving doom metal hymn with some operatic singing also involved to heighten the pathos; more vivid riffs emerge in the second half to stir the thickening dissonant clouds only for the latter to gather again for the next in line “party” “The Cocktail Party to End Them All” that indeed “ends them all” being the closer, a dreamy spacey doomy ballad which strangely reminds of the soundtrack to Herk Harvey’s horror cult masterpiece “Carnival of Souls” (1961).

Listening to this, one wouldn’t be surprised at the weird eccentric nature of the Ved Buens Ende recordings; I personally find this album a more coherent and consequently a more alluring listen which again for the time of conception was pretty much one-of-a-kind. The earlier mentioned Canadian innovators Voivod would be quite happy to lend this saga an ear, too; this was arguably the first genuine take on their dissonant “lectures”, and quite well polished and appropriately extended at that. The Virus chronicles are a further elaboration on that approach, but that outfit’s music doesn’t have too many ties to metal, and branches too far into psychedelic, hallucinogenic territories. The other project with Manimalism band members worth mentioning is the black metal formation Delirium Bound where dissonance is also provided in large amounts, and that act’s only album so far, the very aptly-titled “Delirium, Dissonance, and Death” (2008), can be considered a partial return to the guys’ roots under the Taarenes Vaar moniker.

There’s definitely more ground to be explored, and hopefully the band will carry on from here to compensate for those lost tapes… sorry, times. Now that the scientists have discovered that dissonance used as a tool in music improves the animalistic segment of the magnetic aura around the human body, there will be hordes of fans who will be only too glad to use those sounds to enhance this aspect of their (non)human nature.