“To me, harmony means forgiving and embracing everybody, and I don’t want anyone to suffer anymore. And if the suffering of little children is needed to complete the sum total of suffering required to pay for the truth, I don’t want that truth, and I declare in advance that all the truth in the world is not worth the price! And finally, I don’t really want to see the mother of the little boy embrace the man who set the hounds on him to tear him apart! She won’t be able to forgive him. If she wants to, she may forgive him for herself, for having caused her, the mother, infinite suffering. But she has no right to forgive him, even if the child chooses to forgive him himself. And if I am right, if they cannot forgive, what harmony can there be? Is there one single creature in the whole world who could forgive or would have the right to do so? No, I want no part of any harmony; I don’t want it, out of love for mankind. I prefer to remain with my unavenged suffering and my unappeased anger – even if I happen to be wrong. I feel, moreover, that such harmony is rather overpriced. We cannot afford to pay so much for a ticket. And so I hasten to return the ticket I’ve been sent. If I’m honest, it is my duty to return it as long as possible before the show. And that’s just what I’m trying to do, Alyosha. It isn’t that I reject God; I am simply returning Him most respectfully the ticket that would entitle me to a seat,” [Ivan Karamazov said.]
“That’s rebellion,” Alyosha said softly, lowering his eyes.
The Brothers Karamazov
Despite – or maybe because of – his reactionary embrace of the Eastern Orthodox church, Fyodor Dostoevsky is the second greatest humanist to ever set pen to paper. (For those of you keeping score at home, Kurt Vonnegut is number one.) Dostoevsky was obsessed with the human condition, particularly the need for mankind to suffer. While his existentialist descendents would shrug off human misery as one more symptom of an indifferent, absurd universe, Dostoevsky’s solution was to embrace suffering, seek it out. Suffering was the penance paid in this life to reap God’s rewards in the next. He developed that religious fervor and obsession with suffering during his four year sentence to hard labor in Siberia for revolutionary activities. Staring down a firing squad will probably force you to drastically reconsider your life like that.
While they would likely approve of Dostoevsky’s devotion to God, band name aside, I’m pretty sure Rehumanize would consider his humanism to be another symptom of a fallen, sinful universe. That’s right, Rehumanize proselytize via grindcore for a stringent, inflexible, reactionary take on Christianity that revolts against megachurches (the relentlessly blasting “Supersized Megachruch”), the liberal left (“Moonbat Invasion”), porn (“Demise of the Adult Industry”) and … ummm … Unitarians (“Unitarian Universalist Ungodly,” which boasts a bass like the war trumpets of a righteously pissed Old Testament war god). Seriously, dude? Unitarians?
But here’s the thing, Resident Apostasy is a damn good album even if their theology makes me look over my shoulder for the Spanish Inquisition. But if I’m to be intellectually honest, myself, I’m forced to credit the honesty of their convictions as they rage against prosperity gospel hucksters Creflo Dollar (“Creflo $”) and Rick Warren (“Rick Warning”), an area, should they be willing, where they could make common cause with a New Atheist like me.
And theology aside, Resident Apostasy rages no matter which side you’ll take come Armageddon.
The guitars could use a tad more depth and definition, often whirling into a white sheet of noise on the faster songs but the galloping angel horde drums of “Psychopharmacologist” are spectacular. Ditto the doomridden “Planet Laodicea,” which drops the BPMs just enough to be ear candy without throttling all the way down to monotony. Album standout, the apocalyptic wrath of “La Ira de Dios se Manifesta,” cycles through the seventh seal of grind, hardcore and thrash.
Rehumanize are impressive because I’m pre-programmed to reflexively hate everything they stand for, but Resident Apostasy obliterated any objections I may have had, demanding repeated listens and forcing me to assess just how broadminded and honest I can be with myself. And my reward for that introspection is one of the most complete and well written albums of the year.