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Split review #3 - 25%

UCTYKAH, August 16th, 2009

In one word: redundant. Sure, on the one hand you can turn almost anything into one long piece of droning doom, but so what? You gotta have a real aptitude for this sort of thing, for it is too easy to turn up distortion and play the same riff or two for fifteen minutes. In addition, drone doom is not necessarily the best genre to employ when it comes to covering other people's music. Putting the drone doom robe on someone else's material is more likely to erode original feel and whatever intricacies there are while adding little of its own other than turning it into another dime-a-dozen drone doom piece. And that's what was done here. Either of the covers totally and completely pale in comparison to the originals and fail to give even a remote hint of what the source material is all about. Not only that, but as drone doom pieces they face the same problem - blandness.

Band #1: BUNKUR, methinks, had a slightly easier task with their BURZUM cover due to the original's distinctive riffs, which in BUNKUR's hands were simply slowed down, stretched and washed-out with pools of distortion. Obviously, the transcendental atmosphere of BURZUM's monumental piece is nowhere to be found, vocals are buried, and the band merely go though the motions of playing the riffs. And still they have to take forever to even get started, unnecessarily fooling around with droning static for almost six minutes before producing the first riff cycle. Utterly and inveterately unremarkable it is.

Band #2: MOSS do not fair much better. Early SWANS had a particular sound, which one would think could theoretically work in a doom/sludge setting. Very rhythmic, percussive and, yes!, doom-like, with bass/drum/vocals carrying most of the weight, while guitars added supplemental textures to the palette. In fact, if one were to call them a proto-doom band, I would not object. Members of MOSS must have felt similarly. Otherwise, they would not have picked this band as their cover choice. But of course SWANS were so much more than that. You could just as well call them industrial and have a point. In addition, Michael Gira's hell-bent vocals were another major ingredient for the SWANS sound back in a day. Spoken or enunciated, often howled and even yelled sometimes, yet they never reverted to screaming. Gira simply did not have to, his delivery was powerful enough. MOSS decided to take a chance with a sludge/drone cover of "Cop" and unfortunately ended up turning it into a turbid, soupy slush with their combination of bloated, hollow, drawn-out sludge riff, screeching and shrieking vocals and a usual drag of a running time. That's it. I would never guess what the band were trying to do if I did not know better. You could tell with BUNKUR, but that's only due to their cover choice. As a self-sufficient piece of work, MOSS track ends up being just another piece of sludgy goo.

Closing statement/final thoughts: the question this release posed and tried to answer is whether drone-doom is good for something other than drone doom. Does that make sense? So far the answer is no. Anyone wants to take another shot?