It should strike you as funny that humanity, Western Civilization, and metal face the same problem in parallel: steady decline from having lost of sense of goal because they lost a sense of the why behind the goal after the sense of the transcendent also eroded.
In all human interactions, we see the same pattern. A few creators start something, then in come people who want their “me too” share, and soon the creators are driven out and replaced by the parasites, who promptly run it into the ground.
With underground metal, the founding bands did what they could but most bands expire after three to five solid albums. When those had run out on them, these bands either self-destructed or started rehashing the past in decreasingly enthusiastic form as the band became more of a “job” and less of a “calling.”
In their place came two new movements, which we will call Republican Metal and Democrat Metal.
- Republican Metal: wants to relive the past, so it focuses on external form and produces emulations of past albums without understanding the why behind them and therefore how to construct them from root causes, simplifying them to make the message stronger (in theory).
- Democrat Metal: detests the past and wants to replace genre with self-expression, so incorporates anything in metal but metal, imitating its external form as needed to degrade it so that it can be replaced by “new ideas” like 1970s jazz fusion, 1980s emo, and 1990s shoegaze.
One wants to uphold the past by imitating its surface, and the other wants to erase that surface so that individuals can express themselves without having to pay attention to genre, effectively abolishing it and replacing itself with the same mix of styles that makes up just about everything else at this point.
Like the Republican Party, the “trve kvlt vndergrovnd” material tends to be droning three-chord hardcore dressed up in the trademark stylistic conventions and tropes of underground metal, effectively dumbing the music down so that people would not listen to it except to signal trveness.
This shows us why binaries become so destructive: they are comprised of human reactions to a situation, not inherent to the situation itself. If aliens land tomorrow, there will be a pro-alien group that wants to add them to the UN, and an anti-alien group that wants to murder them.
One group will be closer to sanity. If the aliens are murderous, the hateful group will be right even if their methods are wrong; people say that about the Jacobins, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, Franco, and Nixon all the time, and maybe there is some truth in what they say.
On the other hand, if the aliens are benevolent, the former group makes more sense, even if they have gone too far by confusing our self-interest with that of the aliens. No off-world species can rule us as well as we can rule ourselves, or at least understand us in our quest.
However, look at how this plays to a crowd. “Love aliens” and “kill aliens” are simple, transmissible arguments that are both explanation and purpose for those who buy into them. Any other view will be more complex and not gain as large of an audience, so will be eliminated by natural selection.
In politics today, one group screams “equality for everyone!” while the other howls “uphold tradition.” These are simple ideas that people can identify with, even if they shuttle between them depending on who won the election and therefore, who they are rebelling against to stand out in social situations.
When we turn to metal, it is clear that the “trve kvlt” types dumbed down the very music they wanted to protect, effectively opening the door for the “evolutionary” types who wanted metal to evolve forward into the past before metal and become normie music, just edgier with more individualism.
Metal is not a collection of techniques, aesthetics, imagery, and lyrical concepts; it is a spirit. The spirit begins before the music and is translated into the music by pure diligence and aggression from bands who insist that it must be just right to be cool and cannot be half-ass like normie music.
People forget that like most art, metal serves a role both for individuals and in pushing history forward, namely that it lets us confront what we fear both in our time and for all time. It can in fact save people from despair:
I spent a great deal of my adolescence in a state of fear. It’s hard to imagine, these days — given how beautifully the city has been restored, how lively its downtown is now, and how delighted everyone seems to be to live there — but Buffalo in the early ’80s was a bruised and gray and godforsaken place. I saw a kid beaten half to death by his best friend, out of his mind on Miller High Life and paint thinner, using the cast on his broken left hand as a weapon. I saw a flatscreen TV thrown out of a second-story window onto an idling ambulance. I had a front-row seat for sexual harassment and homophobia and racism in all their bewildering small-town American varieties — and I came from the quiet part of town. The unspoken collective assumption in the once-great “Queen City” seemed to be that our best days, to put it very gently, were behind us.
No one feels really good in Humanity Inc around now. The first world knows it is dying, and the third world knows that when the first world dies, the third world will go back to truly subsistence living where everyone spends most of their time on the basics like food, water, and open defecation.
Metal lets us confront this reality and, like most realities, accept what we were too panicked and anxious to see what evident, then calm our minds as we figure out what to do with this knowledge. Not every problem has a solution, but the solutions are rarely in the binaries of our reactions.
Interestingly, there is now a market for metal as normies look for something edgy that has not given in to the onslaught of both PC and organized internationalist moralist religion, leading to people identifying metal with — ironically — a safe space for real interactions, or at least beer:
The idea stuck with him for a few years and evolved into more of a restaurant. The Headless Bat will pair high-quality pizza and bar drinks with “cool” and “crazy” decorations and heavy metal music. (But the music won’t be played loud enough to disrupt conversation, he assured.)
No word on whether this is “metal” or metal, but it is a start. A place where one could listen to Incantation and Demigod roaring while one downs a pint of quality English ale would be most welcome, although knowing the UK these days it will require a loan to get more than one.
Obituary just launched their most recent album in a half-dozen interesting formats, but have sort of backdoored a lot of modern metal and punk into their primal death metal, although less than many of the older bands:
Perhaps the biggest sin in the review queue: unfinished songs. Ever since Grand Belial’s Key became popular enough to legitimize the practice, black metal bands have specialized in starting songs on a promising note but never bringing them to a conclusion, as if admitting that everything which can be said has been said and no one with a functional brain is left to listen, only protest brats who will make noise on the internet before getting corporate jobs just like Gen X did because there is no saving a falling civilization except re-orienting toward a real goal and that is unpopular, so bands are disincentivized to make songs with dynamics, conflict, and most importantly, a resolution toward anything other than circular thinking and looping undulations of life-pattern, sort of like daytime television or the constant flow of vacation pictures on social media.
Thoughts on the Bathory Bathory original mix LP: did Lars Ulrich mix this? Lots of bass and drum, guitars in the background, and vocals floating on top like an egg in your beer. Maybe he was experimenting with an ambient approach — Quorthon saw all — but I prefer the original mix or ideally, this remixed so that the guitars take center stage and the drums and vocals become the ambience. On the plus side, you can hear guitars more clearly if you turn the volume up all the way and ignore the tubthumping bass drum.
That is all for now; on to the reviews:
Mavorim – Ab Amitia Pulsae: this band is misunderstood as black metal and should be seen as the revival of 1980s power pop or 1950s daytime rock albeit shrouded in the type of vaguely “world music” melodies one might expect at a Disney ride for the Schwartzwald, with well-constructed songs using a central melodic principle around which complementary riffs are arrayed without enough conflict to make great music, but reviving Dimmu Borgir Stormblast sans keyboards or Empyrium with more uptempo aggression, basically a good party band for people outside the normie arc but still not interested in anything more than pretty and aerobic music.
Nattverd – I Helvetes Forakt: looks like the new Microsoft Office “Classic Norse Black Metal” Template 1.2 just dropped and bands are using it to graft the famous themes from Burzum, Emperor, Mayhem, Immortal, and Gorgoroth onto what would otherwise be Kiss and Judas Priest revival bands, creating a nice dinner theater music atmosphere of some old familiar with stuff with the slightly less old stuff grafted onto it, presumably to swamp us all in nostalgia with this well-produced, well-played, reasonably composed but derivative and meaningless sonic filler.
Ordinance – In Purge There is No Remission: more carnival music of random elements thrown around a central riff with a compelling rhythm but not much else to offer, dressed up in randomness to distract from the void within like our modern diversity of products and celebrities, then wrapped in a layer of pretense and darkly aggressive posturing, this release delivers almost nothing of what one might hope would be there.
Sarmat – Dubious Disk: in school, when you have no idea what you think about an assignment, you make a collage, and here this band has done the same by mixing together jazz fusion and occasional metal riffs, but without the grace of Kong or even Pan-Thy-Monium, instead you get an entirely solipsistic release that plays to itself for itself while hoping to fool you with aesthetics into thinking that you have found something deep when in fact you are rooting around in a dumpster filled with the remains of failed genres.
Tomb – The Dark Subconscious: at least this one-man band has his heart in the right place, creating high-speed high-energy music in the fusion between Blasphemy and Master, but it seems to be stranded in speed metal riff patterns that leave these songs little room to expand, meaning that the thrashing rage you get in minute one is the same sensation that occurs throughout the length of the disc.
Zom – Flesh Assimilation: one of the first of the Demoncy/Incantation clone bands demonstrates on this album the ability to set up a good riff but then have it lose momentum and fall into relatively obvious fills that kill momentum, meaning that this is full of promise that then commits suicide, sort of like the West died so retarded transgender mixed-race obese midgets could feel equal to Plato and Jefferson.
Ring of Gyges – Metamorphosis: this could have been a decent hard rock album but they mixed in Coldplay vocal melodies, tek-deaf jazz fusion riffing, nü-metal bounce riffs, and emo-styled vocals, then threw in some extreme metal and heavy rock riffs, making songs that are from the pop-rock textbook but are so similar to each other and everything on the radio that it is difficult to imagine why anyone would listen to this.
Sacrificial Blood / Traitor – Split: the combination of uptempo speed metal, NWOBHM, and death metal vocals occurs periodically when a band wants to be fun but sound morbid, and with Sacrifical Blood, you get classic heavy metal songs and solos under a horse-throated howl, so expect no surprises and enjoy the recombined tropes, where with Traitor expect more of a Slayer-styled ripping approach with power metal chanted vocals and melodic riffing.
Katatonia – Sky Void of Stars: it is always a good day when bands finally connect with what they always wanted to do, and in this case Katatonia forms a gothic band with more of a lounge rock vocal approach, mixing in contemporary pop melodies with occasional glam metal riffs and alternative rock styled riffing, making for something totally inoffensive that still lets you pretend to be the most misunderstood kid on the playground.
Nihilanth – Graceless Planet: charging angry death metal built around chanted vocals, this band manages some good forward moving riffs but nothing particularly compelling, then throws them into songs which consistent of connective tissue for the main riff and a series of distractions that create no contrary impression to the main riff, leading us back to the vocals and the chanting, at which point boredom sets in.
Nachtig – Eisig’ Romantik: droning sad music for lost people, this band uses minor key riffs like a comfort blanket, wrapping itself in them and then nestling into a comfortable verse-chorus structure which does not deepen mood but by repeating it, numbs the brain to anything else, so soon the catchy shuffle beat and the vocals which use diminished melodies to convey the same type of self-destructive self-pity that DSBM and amateur doom metal heaped on us years ago.
Black Eucharist – Inn of the Vaticide: this band comes to us from the style that uses two modes, driving two-riff choruses as a canvas for vocals, and up-and-down-the-stairs riffs that wander around in order to create a sense of mystery or being lost in Costco or something of that nature, and alternates between the two until the listener runs screaming from the room to do something more interesting like count deceptive political promises or watch a new Netflix show about disabled metrosexual midgets saving the world from a comic book supervillain who wants to make us all wear the same underwear.
Hexakosioihexekontahexaphilia – “Demo DCLXVI”: the gothic, emo, and post-metal fusion that no one asked for, this band uses single-plucked lead riffs to build up an atmosphere then bulldozes it with two-chord rhythm riffs, but fundamentally drops back into what is basically a delivery mechanism for vocals, lots of fragments of riffs that could work together but ultimately do not because the point is the vocal melody against that initial backdrop of lead rhythm playing.
Ebola – Reconstruction of Concept: this synthpop and black metal hybrid uses industrial rhythms and simplified black metal riffs to build songs around keyboard themes and vocal lines, and despite doing a good job, creates a hybrid form of music that takes after its pop side too much for the black metal part to be relevant, despite the fact that these songs although different on the surface are very similar internally.
Sentinel Sirens – Orbithon Wave: speed metal may be the ultimate consumerism and democracy because it allows bands to rehash the past so they each get their fifteen minutes of fame and then are forgotten because this stuff is relevant to nothing but nostalgia, mostly by Millennials and Zoomers who just realized they inherited a ruined world that they do not understand, so they listen to verse-chorus vocal-driven chanty Destruction and Fates Warning hybrids and hope for a better tomorrow, only to be denied.
Troller – Drain: check out the latest in hipster dream-pop/shoegaze crossover that sometimes uses metalcore-ish guitars like Eskimo Callboy or post-metal riffs like Russian Circles, a chorus from Pyogenesis, trippy ambient industrial sequenced keyboards like KMFDM, some tone stripes from Morgion and Origin, a little Baroness and Kyuss, the usual churn of My Bloody Valentine and Sisters of Mercy, some swipes from Cult of Luna, and then mix it into Pop Tart variety indie rock for a complete non-entity with nothing for its product status but novelty in production and imagery.
Sacriphyx – The Western Front: trudging death metal mixed with Iron Maiden melodic riffs, this band produces circular songs despite attempts to interrupt them, and not much changes over the course of the song, so you have to like these somewhat bouncy and happy uptempo rhythms and very simple riffs which alternate between two chords with no harmonic or melodic relationship to each other, sort of like a television show about having a vacation home and driving back and forth every weekend.
Blood Star – First Sighting: basically hard rock with glam touches and a small amount of the type of vocal-centric retro music that Jess and the Ancient Ones made rather popular for a time, this is a pleasant listen for metal fans on the rock side of the equation who want to hear more bluesy, pulsing honky-tonk style vocal-driven music that captures the good times of a Saturday night with a twelve pack and a third generation porn on VHS.
Organismos – Control de Miedo: dressed up in black metal aesthetics, this album comes to us from what in the late 1980s was called “metalcore,” namely late model hardcore with metal riffs, and true to form, this band sticks to verse-chorus with thick-voiced chanting of lyrics that must have some significance, but beyond fitting to a basic rhythm, these riffs barely relate to each other in songs and the album as a whole feels like spare parts stuck together with plasticine.
Atlases – Between The Day & I: post-metal is just emo reborn with shoegaze mixed in to make it seem more mysterious, but it misses on the mystery of original black metal and its naturalistic shapes, and loses out on the clarity of purpose that drove hardcore punk, so instead you get nü-metal without the bouncy riffs and jaunty jibbering half-rap lyrics, instead getting a terrible version of 1970s gospel rock with angry bursts of distortion ranting out Pantera-style drunk fratboy vocal patterns.
Specvlvm Aeternvm – Mors Debetvr: spirited garage rock and death metal crossover makes for some good speeding riffs but loses sight of making songs connect up internally, which results in a type of contrarian hardcore-style composition where each riff jars the previous, but then a third riff disrupts that, at which point one is simply following the rhythm and staying in key for coherence, which causes this to fail on repeated listens.
Radien – Unissa palaneet: sludge is just late hardcore with doom metal aesthetics applied, meaning that you get slow songs which like Millennial horror films focus on “building atmosphere” to shatter it in the end for a surprise turnaround that just ends up confirming where everything was going anyway but through an ironist or contrarian view that seems to be debunked but then turns out to be pluralistically compatible with inertia, which is basically what this release offers alongside repetition and thin drama.
Mare Cognitum – Luminiferous Aether: postmodernism means pluralism which means no central commonality therefore a focus on means/technique more than ends/intuitions, resulting in books and music which incorporate lots of disparate influences and possibilities but, in order to tie them together, must converge on a very simple actual theme, leading to repetitive and directionless sonic wallpaper like this release.
Gråande – Gråande: most recent black metal projects come from members of “forgotten” and “overlooked” bands which were warmed over 1980s heavy metal trying to jump on the coattails of the latest trend, and now are the same novelty enthusiasts mixing together the ruins of the genres that made money for guys on welfare with heroin problems in the last three decades, here exhibited in droning black metal with shapeless riffs, emo cadences, culty keyboards, and doom metal levels of tedium. Make it stop, make it stop.
Keitzer – Where the Light Ends: metalcore is nü-metal without the funk, so instead of bouncing rants about hating your dad, you get strident blarts of angry vocals like someone shouting into a microphone during a coup which will fail later when a small junta takes over and executes anyone over 105 IQ points, which is convenient because the lobotomized overdomesticated remnants might be able to actually enjoy this megaphone tantrum metal.
Sanity Control – War on Life: hardcore punk band of the shouted vocals and pulsing rhythmic riff types, this band uses metal riffing on the choruses but keeps everything else ultra-simple, fortunately discarding rock rhythms for something more Slayer or MOD influenced, resulting in a highly engaging presentation of these basic songs that does not fall into the emo trap like most hardcore, even if there are few surprises.
Eisenkult – Vulgäre, deutsche Hassmusik: building on the same foundation that powered later Absurd, the RAC/Oi hybrid with black metal and anthemic heavy metal in the Accept and Manowar vein, this band makes intriguing little songs that bounce along in the speed metal style with punk rhythms under the surface and vary themselves like death metal songs more in the style of introductions and transitions than thematic growth, but basically limits development and focuses on chanted, high-power choruses.
Noire – The Tracks of the Hunted: despite a couple lengthy introductions, this album lapses into bounce-rock styled heavy metal with death metal trimmings, mixing a little melodic Swedish death metal with Bay Area speed metal and Tampa death metal, essentially riding a single riff for most of the song but breaking it up with diversions like carnival music, using the main riff as a canvas for individual instrumentalists to self-express, resulting in a bloated nightmare that goes nowhere.
Ordem Satânica – Perpetuum Satanas: underneath the pumping bass drum like the heart of a small child trying to escape in the basement of a Roman Catholic church or Jeffrey Epstein’s intergenerational love island, this band write post-metal melodies but play them in as few notes as possible, allowing them to have an old school surface but be entirely caught up in the New Wave of Neurotic Black Metal (NWONBM) that started with the French and later Swedes, making music empty as the hope of Satan saving us from Jesus.
Nokturnal Mortum / Graveland – The Spirit Never Dies: a combination of hard rock and flowing black metal integrated almost in the RAC style of constant motion and sudden stops around the rhythm of a chanted theme, Nokturnal Mortum bores early and often, but Graveland shows an interesting insight into the continued convergence of Lord Wind and the older style sweeping black metal that made the band famous, working in non-guitar instruments where possible in these atmospheric nearly folk pieces.
Sporae Autem Yuggoth – However It Still Moves: this release sonically resembles a house under construction, where some rooms are fully made but others are studs with wires hanging from them, because it uses a lot of throwaway riffs and raw chromatic charges to unite some of its more interesting material, which tends oddly to be harmony based with three chords interacting to produce a wash of sound into which the howling old school doom-death vocals rise like the hands of a burning corpse as the sinews melt.
State of Mind – State of Mind: did you want alternative metal with more hardcore riffs? This delivers for the most part, but songs hang around a hook and then dawdle a bit before spinning into repetition, making for the same problem with all normie music, namely that it is designed for a lack of mental change in the listener and therefore like any product gets old quickly.
Irkallian Oracle – Apollyon: perhaps you wanted something ominous and rumbling like old Incantation or Demoncy, but with this band you get the same techniques applied to entirely linear riffs of almost exclusively chromatic intervals, resulting in an aesthetic experience that may be powerful on the surface but decays on repeated listens because it is only rhythm and very similar rhythms across the album.
Oscenrad – Beyond the Fells: remember when your parents took you on car trips and the car gently swayed back and forth at freeway speeds because Dad got a deal on tire alignment at the convenience store behind the proctologist and high colonic clinic, and you fell asleep gently dreaming of Viking metal with stadium hard rock solos? This band captures the swaying rhythm, turns into Def Leppard or a sixth-rate Necrophobic clone for thirty seconds, and then goes back to soporific droning.
Nefarious Mash – In Memory of Your Hopes: black metal by someone who has no idea what it is except a collection of techniques, this band feels like standard garage rock given a facelift with vocals, aesthetics, and a few riffs derived from the later Swedish and French pseudo-progressive school of the genre, leading to verse-chorus songs that vary their ingredients slightly but never produce atmosphere other than submergence into the mental chaos of this period of history.
Penumbra – Eden: Wacky Packages were those baseball card styled parodies that circulated and showed different human extremes as the grotesque hybrid of distraction and derangement that they were, and here you get wacky packages death metal: drums swatting away in speed metal style for the heavy riffs, which are formless rhythm-holders, female vocals grafted in from some Disney princess movie, and Destruction drumming making self-parodic these overly emotional but disconnected passages.
From the Ruins – Into Chaos: imaginative power metal in the Fates Warning and Queensryche style with more emphasis on contorted lead guitar riffs in the Obliveon style, this band makes music that almost rises above its format but is entrenched in NWOBHM verse-chorus so hard that really cannot help but be somewhat redundant by the second half of the song, which somewhat ruins the suspension of disbelief that this band attempts to create.
Nightside – Lions: charging black metal that uses wandering chromatic progressions with strong rhythmic conclusions to drive forward these looping songs, this band attempts to bring us back to the days when black metal and hardcore crossed over and the idiosyncratic, specific structures of the early Norse innovators were replaced with standard song formats importing the generic heavy metal from the previous two decades, which here makes something inoffensive but not worth a repeat listen.
Stillborn – Nocturnals: pretty good basic heavy metal done up with doom metal pacing and mortician vocals, creating a decent Sisters of Mercy style Gothic atmosphere, but beyond that nothing develops, leading to a sense of being trapped in an MTV video while natural disasters rage outside the window and the first colonists arrive on Mars, meaning that this album is not bad if you want a darker form of Soundgarden with an 80s edge, but for death metal fans it will seem repetitive.
Phobetor – When Life Falls Silent: modern metal is essentially an aggregate of everything that sold enough albums in the last generation, so emo and speed metal go in the blender with the more herd-friendly varieties of black metal and hardcore, leaving us with the usual vocal-driven music in which riffs are there to sort of cheer along, just like any good television show where in season three the management committee takes over and standardizes everything so the final episode involves all the characters singing a song together.
Suicide Circle – “Demo MMXX”: the Burzum beat, DSBM strobing strum riffs, and an emphasis on vocals straight out of sludge all unite to make a band that is pleasant to listen to but so limited that tedium sets in quickly, not so much from stylistic confusion as the usual culprit, namely songs do not go anywhere so they are repurposed as delivery mechanisms for the vocals much like Taco Bell uses tortillas to serve you up the main feature, cheese, hidden among healthy-looking beans and greens.
Inferion – Inequity: more ranting, emo-vocals metalcore with lots of galloping drums and Pantera-style bounce riffs which does not manage to connect up its parts because it seems to be based in the contrarian and ironist idea of song composition where interrupting continuity is more important than building a sense of location in an evolving piece which can then tell its tale through internal variation, something that happens very rarely here.
Trespasser – ἈΠΟΚΆΛΥΨΙΣ: if you missed the failure of late hardcore music, you can relive it with this black metal themed version, which features verse-chorus composition built around vocals, droning riffs derivative of Discharge and The Germs, plus additional black metal vocals that have a vocal fry at the end, an absolute lack of internal song dialogue, and some kind of pretensions designed to make you think this is deep despite being fundamentally rather boring.
Nuclear Revenge – Dawn of the Primitive Age: if you miss Nifelheim, this punk-tinged heavy metal band with black metal surfacing might deliver the need for anthemic verse-chorus songs that do not so much develop as iterate different forms of the theme, providing some speed thrills and catchy choruses but basically falling back into 1980s style unison of guitar and vocals, making for a painful listen.
Sarcofagus – Envoy of Death: energetic NWOBHM with macabre organs, this band likes more complex phrasing than most, and its riffs although cut from type seem to be its own, although happier owing to an almost disco-influenced rhythm, but makes it work with emphatic vocals and songs which hold together better than the average and do their best to avoid the morass of narcissistic bombast that characterized so much heavy metal, feels more like a 1960s occult project trying to join a street gang.
Miasmal Sabbath – Omnious Radiance: post-metal and modern metal simply collect everything from the past and aggregate it based on the simplest elements, which delivers this fusion between Pantera, Deathspell Omega, and the Dead Kennedys that parades a collection of barely-related riffs and tries to tie it all together with an ambience of anger and darkness, but the lack of a clear statement makes this a miserable repeat listen.
Sulpur – Embracing Hatred and Beckoning Darkness: Johnny came home from school with an A on his report card in melodic black metal education, since schools reward form over content because they are there to teach conformity of method to that which the “experts” deem wise, not teach you to derive those methods or know why, which is why we get all of these careerist bands who are great instrumentalists, have great aesthetics, and know how to present themselves, but with no core to tie it together, it is empty and false meaning, worse than meaningless.
Sumerlands – Sumerlands: if you threw Ozzy, Queensrÿche, and Scorpions into a blender you might get something like this, giving heed to the idea that humanity operates in dual poles of egotism, one side wanting satisfaction and the other comfort, and now that the satisfaction side took over and revealed its emptiness, people want comfort again so they are turning to the proven, which is why industry combined genres to produce the Christian glam metal speed metal that is power metal, get it away from me.
Valgrind – Millennium of Night Bliss: remember those old contests where they gave you a minute to grab as many items as possible to stuff a shopping cart, and whoever had the most won? This band sounds like: frenetic reaching of riffs for a direction, then returning to the beer aisle for some of that great Negra Modelo before racing off to aisle twelve for some canned goods, bouncing off people and dancing around, but never gaining a point of focus except accumulation.