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ANOTHER single that I can't believe costs money!! - 0%

Cat III, January 10th, 2019

I chose to listen to Another Dude!! instead of the legions of other releases on Sloth's Bandcamp for reasons which are entirely normal. Banish any contrary thoughts from your mind. I assure you it was not because I recognized the actress getting sodomized on the cover. How did that idea get in your head? Hell, I don't even know who Nyxi Leon is, let alone have the ability to identify her.

Anyhow, Sloth sucks. This is not a secret, but until recently I had not verified the fact for myself. Things weren't always this way. From what I gather (it's difficult finding their music from before 2012) early on, Sloth made sludge metal and did a respectable job of it—nothing essential, but their off-kilter sensibilities made it unique. At some point they changed to a less heavy, more rock-based sound while turning up the weirdness. Two constants through both these periods were a dippy sense of humor and dalliances with the avant garde. In the music world, these two things often go together. Frank Zappa and Kool Keith had childish senses of humor that would never have been tolerated outside of music as experimental and boundary-pushing as theirs. In addition to the quality of their output, Sloth differs from those two in the sounds they experimented with, preferring to play around with the noisier, more abrasive side of things.

Playground wit and harsh noise were the only things to carry over into Sloth's latest phase; the one which has thrown them into disrepute. All elements of rock have been thrown out, in favor of noisescapes. I hesitate to keep using plural pronouns in reference to the band's activities, because though the lineup has been whittled down to Dom Kaveliski and his wife Denise, it appears Sloth is now Dom's baby (if not, this is a case in which a band member should be glad their contributions aren't being acknowledged). For some years, Sloth has been part of the harsh noise wall genre. That's an interesting name. Genre names, excepting those which just append “post” to an existing genre, are evocative. Those unfamiliar wouldn't know what doom metal, punk rock, blues, sludge or pop sound like, but after hearing the genres, it's clear why the names were chosen. Harsh noise wall is not only descriptive, but comprehensive. The name tells you all you need to know. Case in point: Another Dude!! An unchanging, rumbling drone overlaid with the slight fuzz of static comprises the entirety of its 23:59 running time, and yes I listened to every second of it. To put it in poetic terms it's like if you were in a windstorm, your shortwave radio was on the fritz and you were able to pluck from the air all the sounds from that second and stretch them to cover the length of a prog rock song. Constructing that simile probably took more time than Dom took to make this.

Not requiring lots of work doesn't necessarily make a piece of art bad, as any connoisseur of punk will tell you. The problem with Another Dude!! and literally thousands of other Sloth releases is that they're bland. I like Jackson Pollock paintings because they burst and writhe; there are details to be found, action to be followed. Sloth's music is like Mark Rothko paintings: boring slabs of nothing. This isn't coming from someone who hates challenging or unusual music and certainly not someone who dislikes the noise genre on principle. I've positively reviewed Tetragrammacide, Placenta and Satanic Warmaster and I like Pure Fucking Armageddon, Deiphago, Throbbing Gristle and Merzbeat, but these are examples of noise being utilized in an interesting way. There was a time Sloth didn't view noise as an end in itself. They made their side of the split with Fleshpress after they'd abandoned rock, yet it has dynamics; it demands the listener's attention.

Were the harsh noise walls limited to a song or two; maybe an occasional release, it would be easy to leave it be as something that doesn't appeal to me. I may even be inclined to try harder to appreciate what others find appealing about this subgenre. Because these releases are churned out with such regularity (sometimes on a daily basis) the only conclusion is that Dom either suffers from a compulsion so bizarre he ought to be on one of those sleazy daytime talk shows, or this is all a lame joke. The covers accompanying the singles, with their poop, ass and sex jokes, point to the latter. Juvenile as it was, Sloth's humor was, at one time, refreshing in genre that could be pointedly po-faced. Like the music, the jokes have devolved too. Providing yet another reason not to release thousands of tracks, Dom has about three jokes he cycles through endlessly. If Hans Moleman saying, “That's too big,” next to an Instagram ho's giant ass was ever funny, Dom has made it his mission to change that irrevocably. Really, must you besmirch the name of The Simpsons best side character (Groundskeeper Willie fanboys FOAD!)? As for the cover of this particular single—if you have Xvideos bookmarked so you can periodically search for “chicks with dicks” and then bowl over laughing because the chicks in the results indeed have dicks, then even you are probably too bright to get any enjoyment out of Sloth's schtick.