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Asking for some honest, non-bullshit replies here

Asking for some honest, non-bullshit replies here
December 28, 2005, 08:54:02 PM
What is the big fucking deal about Crimson Massacre? I've never heard a band more self-aware of their own "ability" (such as it is) as this band. They're as bad as later-years-Yes for sheer pretense of relevance to anything remotely worth paying attention to.

Someone help me out - part of me wants to like this band, but their predictability is verging on nauseous. You want to be "progressive"? Don't fall into the trap of "being progressive". Your instrumental prowess isn't important - what's important is how well you can tell a story that matters. All I can hear is story-telling techniques, which does not a great band or album make.

EDIT: I suppose I should add that I'm very aware of how well they can play their instruments. However, this means absolutely nothing in the long run, if all they're doing with all this raw talent of theirs is to over-cerebrate the process of creating "extremity" in metal. I like the fact that they don't pay particular attention to stopping a riff at the bar lines, and that they write in a somewhat structurally narrative manner, but come on man, they aren't saying a damn thing other than "Look at us!!" It's pathetic, transparent and redundant; the fact that they can only shift between extremes in a light-switch fashion is so contemptible and expected that I want to scream. There's no use of subtlety or dynamic AT ALL. How necessary is any of this? So we can pacify our need to have "new" music and appease our consuming instincts?

"Damn Blaph, you're just jealous."


I agree. Crimson Massacre are awful.


I've only heard the extremely lauded "The Luster of Pandemonium", but I too agree. Crimson Massacre fucking suck. Like you said, their songs have narrative structures without actually having anything to say, which defeats the purpose of narration altogether. I don't see why everyone (pretends to) wet their pants over this band.

It's ambitious, but flawed. In its defense, people seem too easily befuddled by albums with even remotely technical aspirations. Luster of Pandemonium isn't 52 minutes of dissociated rambling though it could stand some redaction here and there.

My main complaint is the music was left sorely wanting in the dynamics department. If Crimson Massacre were trying to push the envelope, they forgot about doing anything with one of the most important facets of musical articulation and opted more for pushing the envelope in XTREEM MUSIC.
and no, dynamics does not mean some bullshit 11-minute acoustic non sequitur.

Drums are of the "blast or hammer 32nds on the bass drums while randomly smacking surrounding cymbals to taste" variety and internal melody notwithstanding, harmony and counterpoint aren't quite as fully integrated and intuitive as I'd like- "unison lines... disengage!" Still though, texturally, this is a step forward. Now if only the bass was something more than just a name in the liner notes...

I'd also like to mention that their instrumental prowess is overblown. you can hear them struggle with - and straight out flub - several lines throughout the record. Speaking for myself, it's a nice touch hearing the musicians frantically struggle to keep up with their own music. Maybe I'm just a sucker for masochistic enterprises.

I always have a hard time trusting Metal-Archives ratings, more often then not I just go with albums that have the most reviews rather than rating.

Sacraphobic raves about them quite a bit, but i myself have only heard the album once a while back


No MP3s yet, but I've seen them on the hub. I haven't heard the band and am skeptical of most reviews because I'm an asshole ;)

I found The Luster of Pandemonium to be a difficult album to appreciate on initial listens because the technicality does seem, on the surface, to be a distraction.  Then again, I felt the same way about Obscura.  But on repeated exposure, I find both albums to be utterly brilliant.

I think a big part of what tends to put people off about albums like these is that they aren't intuitive in any way, structurally, harmonically, melodically etc.  Most albums within a given genre, no matter how innovative or interesting internally operate within a broadly understood musical idiom, so it becomes easier to hear what they're doing, at least initially.  Because they operate in a manner intuitively familiar to listeners, their own variations on the common idiom become immediately apparent.  When artists (or authors) break outside of an inherited idiom, we tend to process things initially as undifferentiated "noise" or "pretense," a reaction made even easier by the tendency innovators of this sort to be quite self-aware in stepping outside the received tradition.

All I can say is that it took me probably 20 or 30 listens before I really began to enjoy The Luster of Pandemonium or appreciate it's own internal logic and language for what it is.  The pyrotechnics do have a point, but ambiguity is what the album aims at in the first place, so it's not a "point" that resolves itself.

What is the big fucking deal about Crimson Massacre?

Aesthetics: they make prog-metal in the death style and absolutely nail it. Not much if any "metalcore" and I sense these guys aren't going emo for awhile, with plenty of nods to the past greats of metal. On Aesthetics, I give them an A+.

Content: I'm listening to this now, so this is an unformed and not official opinion, but:

1) It's very fill-y. Phrase, counterphrase, and both are filled with lead guitar fills that do not contribute much artistically.

2) It's extremely busy, including drums.

3) Whither longer melodies? These guys have the talent; write something like At the Gates "The Burning Darkness." That's how you make something eternal.

I'm still listening -- a very good sign -- but I can see why some would find this empty and others praise it. I encourage it - I think what I'm hearing now resembles a demo-stage more than album stage, but if they keep developing, they'll get over how powerful they are with their instruments and focus more on the timeless aspects of composition. I like the violence of the drums and the use of differing strum speeds as textures to stop phrase in guitar - there's a lot of promise here.

Blaphbee, I'm sure they would benefit from some of your advice. I'm tempted to keep mailing them At the Gates and Burzum CDs until they see my point of view, which, probably they do not.

N.B.: I'm taking a leap of faith here that the Crimson Massacre guys handle criticism as well as Clayton and Harkonin did, and better than the guys from Adumus do. It's rare in this scene to have people greet anything less than total adulation with positive remarks or a lack of interpersonal recrimination (sounds like a Suffocation title).

Second side is better; "Epoch" is a standout track. Do I detect a Kataklysm influence? Some of the cleaner tracks that showcase more traditional material are actually their best.

Tracks: Of Perverted Hope and Fragment, The Luster of Pandemonium, Sacrifice, Epoch.

I guess I'm somewhere in the middle re: the opinions on this one, but it will take time to see how long it lasts. I think one reason people talk about this in such weird praiseful terms is that metal is sucking ass right now, and this represents hope. If I could send a wish to this band, it would be thus: explore nonconventional, longer melodies, and writer purposefully. Better to be the Misfits than a wanky jazz band, if you have to find a side on which to err, but that being said, never give up the dream of technical metal that is also as soulful as Enslaved's Vikinglgr Veldi, Atheist's Unquestionable Presence, or Morbid Angel's Blessed are the Sick.

Two of the songs you noted above were from the demo.  IMO, the full-length is a step back in some ways (although the full-length version of Epoch is better- the demo version got a little sacharine during the riff at about the 1 minute mark)- the demo had a more varied sense of dynamics (this particularly shows between the two versions of "Conquest", better vocals, less intrusive drum work, less of an empahsis on "brutality", and much better vocals.


Part of it, as admin noted, is that technical metal is a dead end lately. "Luster" displays a passion absent for too long and that's finally beginning to wear on my end as even respected acts like Deeds of Flesh finally appear as a stolid, static bore. This album's messy in execution but the language is not entirely self-serving and capable of rendering potent ideas to sound. I would hope though, that whatever they try next will bare little resemblance to this -- the mistake of most promising groups of late.  

Interview below that discusses a few aspects of writing the album.


I think metal has been suffering from a lack of dynamics, at least when it comes to technical metal. Deathgrind suffers from this a lot.

I've always wondered how metal would sound if the volume and high/low notes were extremely opposed. Similiar to Classical music, where at one instant, the music is very low. Then a second later, it's incredible high.

Metal is way too streamlined. It needs that kind of contrast. It works extremely well for Classical music, why not metal? Just a though.

I think metal has been suffering from a lack of dynamics, at least when it comes to technical metal.  

I agree. Tangerine Dream is another example to strive for. Black metal is generally "softer" than death - I'm thinking first albums from Darkthrone, Enslaved, Immortal here - and could be fused with technical death, noise and some classically-inspired guitar playing to make a nifty hybrid.