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Another Great Lie From Velvet Cacoon - 33%

GuntherTheUndying, April 12th, 2009

Velvet Cacoon is stuck in the center of America’s controversial black metal scene. Some have called them riders of a new land, others label Portland’s duo burnt-out druggies, and Korouva once said dazzling things about Velvet Cacoon’s originality, haha. So here’s “Genevieve,” a praised full-length from these strange individuals that everyone seems to embrace for its damaging minimalism, low-grade instrumentation, and repetition so vague you could face a lobotomy via music if you’re not careful when handling. But you know, the status quo says it’s good, even though the status quo claims something with damaging minimalism, low-grade instrumentation, and repetition so vague you could face a lobotomy via music if you’re not careful when handling is grasping the finest hour of black metal. I’m not trying to be a bastard, but let’s get real: “Genevieve” is paralyzed, drugged, and intentionally catatonic; dead to the Earth, it has the might of damp soil.

The actual response to the claims of eco-terrorism, diesel-based guitars recorded underwater, and some new, fresh age of anarchistic black metal is ironically the sole truth behind Velvet Cacoon: it’s all just a big lie. The music itself is layered down to a few steps, including playing extremely simplistic riffs smothered over transparent percussion that really requires no skill to perform; now just picture a few chords per songs plucked upon predictable drums, and then echoing…and echoing….and echoing...and that’s it until the track-number on your CD player roles over. Once that happens, expect the same talentless texture to overcome the remaining slabs found throughout “Genevieve.” The album itself is shamefully asinine, both inside and out, but that’s precisely the point, as sad as it sounds.

From here on out, the base of Velvet Cacoon’s stability lies in repetition of said formula, circling again and again and again. Pretty tiring as you could imagine, not to mention the production is so unclear – intentionally, of course – that the music almost feels lucid in its own right; clever concept, yet just too guileless for enjoyment. Ambient influence? Yea, but you’ll quickly detect the calm parts of “Genevieve” are thoughtless pieces of rehashed droning waves that are, you guessed it, sapless. Fluffy passages and seventeen minutes of ambient blandness can’t maneuver into anything remotely artistically motivating; it’s just predictable and empty throughout. Gas-powered guitar or not, “Genevieve” successfully attracts the droning, hypnotic atmosphere this ambient-influenced faction strived for, albeit causing sleepiness from its burdensome redundancy while Velvet Cacoon continues throughout their little observation. Shit, the vocals sound like frail whispers in this stormy sea of scalding rain and gloomy fog, only to appear like high-pitched slurps. So, if you aren’t catching on already, here’s a boost: Velvet Cacoon is no different from stereotypical black metal bands. Just add the typical black metal norm, and squeeze it out for six or seven minutes; DNA entwines, and “Genevieve” hath been vomited forth. It chugs. It continues. It bores, and then, you snore.

Perhaps there’s more to the story that I’m just not seeing when sitting eye-to-eye with Velvet Cacoon, yet on a musical platform, there’s no doubt “Genevieve” plods around aimlessly, using minimal substance and really nothing dangerously original to aid this strange projection, apparently trying to add a trippy edge to black metal. At day’s end, I can’t say it’s anything else than soulless and zombie-like, so much so that there’s literally no spine to the band, and that’s not what metal of this magnitude is about. Overall, Velvet Cacoon has failed, and I’m still certain “Genevieve” is an ocean away from mastering any aspect black metal could ever materialize. Time to be a realist: this one ain’t revolutionary.

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