I read somewhere once that Kim Gordon from Sonic Youth is big into black metal. This didn’t make me believe the genre had instantly achieved a certain degree of legitimacy, it just made me fear, for about 1/15 of a second, that I was a doofus for not being into black metal myself (aside from Bathory, and by the way, all I really get out of liking Bathory is certain people calling me a doofus for liking black metal). So anyway, this album from The Famine is being shoved up my nostrils by like 70 PR people, so rather than risk making this fine newspaper look like a doofus for not knowing about this black metal band, I shall now discuss The Famine. They’re from Texas and their studio was burnt down, cue cheesy eerie synth music from a 1980s Linnea Quigley horror flick. But so ends the snark, because for a black metal band it’s, you know, good, very tight, almost commercially friendly in a bizarre way. Nowhere near as doomy as Bathory, no, and I suppose this stuff is actually considered “extreme” metal, which is another way of saying “death-metal played without a huge surplus of technical ability,” in other words “something essentially Meshuggah-like, but Meshuggah mops the floor with this band.” But it’s mixed and engineered nicely, this particular collection of banshee shrieking and wayward not-quite-mathrock, just the same, sure. Can we talk about something else now?
B- — Eric W. Saeger