Friday, January 21, 2011

G&P Review: Smoke

Hair on My Food
Smoke may need to reconsider this whole grindcore black metal [thanks, anon] thing because the best parts of their woefully unGoogleable album Haze are when the band backs off and just lets the drummer kick out the jams, motherfucker, like in the better parts of the interminable, nine minute “VI.” And that right there will likely be the biggest problem most of you will have with this album: Trying to ape the grind’n’roll experiments of CSSO, Smoke’s songs are just too goddamned long. The tidiest tune on this 10 song collection still weighs in at a hefty two minutes, but the bulk of the material is patience testing three to six minutes. I’m just not sure the band’s musical ideas are strong enough to warrant that kind of girth.

Smoke – “II”

Largely instrumental , all you’ve really got to work with is Smoke’s endlessly repeating musical movements. Some bands, like Orthrelm, can turn repetition into something hypnotic and psychedelic, but even they can make a misstep (I own OV but it’s not exactly an everyday kinda listen). In Smoke’s hands, it’s just monotonous. The songs blur together and when they do find a hook, they ride it into the ground. At about 40 minutes for the album, Haze just becomes excruciating to the point that even highlights, like some pretty sweet garage rock drumming, can’t hold your attention very long.

[Full disclosure: the label sent me a download.]


Anonymous said...

Smoke doesn't claim to be grindcore. They are raw black metal.

Andrew Childers said...

hmmm interesting. thanks for that. the label pitched it to me as grind. either way, this just didn't jazz me.

Luke Oram said...

I'm listening to the myspace tracks now...

Hmmm. Strikes me that this kind of idea could be quite successful if better produced- I don't mean overproduced I understand this is BM- but what could be loads of interesting rhythmic variations on the guitars is lost in the very muddy mix.
As it is they sound very samey.

Oh, and thanks for the plug there :)

Andrew Childers said...

i agree that this seems like the kinda music where there's a very fine margin for success. if some of these songs were cut in half and spiffed up a bit, this may have worked a lot better.

Zmaj said...

It's black metal. It would lose its intended occult, ritualistic quality (i.e. its whole charm) with better production. Still doesn't do much for me, though; not with bands like Fell Voices.

Ryan Page said...

I feel like a distinction should be made between better production and cleaner production. I think I think in this case, better production would have been turning up the guitars slightly. It could still be awesome and necro with loud guitars. I could see how this black metal. Actually, I kind of like the vocals, and music, but I just wish i could hear the guitars and bass a little better.

Zmaj said...


Wolv said...

Why would you post a review of a tape if you don't even know which genre the band plays?

I don't think they try to "ape" a grindcore band.. they probably don't even know that band.

If you are into extremely raw black metal, get this..
if you're not, back off, this probably isn't for you..