Monday, June 28, 2010

G&P Review: Circle of Dead Children

Circle of Dead Children
Psalm of the Grand Destroyer


An open letter to Scott Hull:

Dear Mr. Hull,
We’ve never spoken, but I just had to take a brief moment to thank you for not being Steve Austin.
To the best of my knowledge, sir, you have neither stolen a drummer from Circle of Dead Children to further your own musical aims nor have you hellaciously fucked up the band’s sound on an album from the producer’s chair, rendering it flat, stale, lifeless and a groaning diarrheal disappointment (see also, Comfort Margin, Zero). No, Mr. Hull, I just wanted to thank you for the thunderfucking crack of doom bass that dredges through Psalm of the Grand Destroyer opener “Avatar of Innocence.” While the Pittsburgh band’s last couple of albums have been serviceable, even fleetingly enjoyable amalgams of death metal brute and grindcore windshear, Psalm of the Grand Destroyer played to Circle of Dead Children’s strengths as the last men standing of the Steeltown scene, an incestuous merry go round of characters who would man CoDC, Fate of Icarus, Creation is Crucifixion and Sadis Euphoria in the name of brutal fucking noise. And given frontman Joe Hovarth’s mano a mano bout with a near fatal staph infection, just seeing a new album from the band is reward enough for now, Mr. Hull.
Though the band proudly proclaims they “Refuse to Kill the Same Way Twice,” Psalm will be comfortably familiar to anyone who flipped their shit over The Genocide Machine. Revisiting “Ursa Major” from debut album Starving the Vultures, likewise, adds nothing new, but that’s kind of the point, isn’t it, sir? Mr. Hull, you’ve cleverly just let the band do what they do best with minimal interference as they ravage songs like “Obsidian Flakes,” letting the tinkling, almost subliminal introduction build until a photonegative storm front rains a black-flaked blizzard of ravaged death metal over a grim, lightless underworld.

Circle of Dead Children – “Obsidian Flakes”

No, Mr. Hull, you’ve simply primed the canvas for Circle of Dead Children, whether it’s deft touches like the funeral march lament of the grave weary “Germinate the Reaper” or allowing Hovarth’s multiple personality vocals – a veritable galaxy of death rattle gargles, bone gnawing rasps and hellacious underworld groans – to take their rightful place in front of “Last Words and Warning Signs.”
So, in closing, Mr. Hull, again I wish to thank you for not being Steve Austin.

Yr obt. and faithful svt.,
Etc. etc. etc.

[Full disclosure: Willowtip sent me a review copy.]


Zmaj said...

Well I'll be... That's one funky ass review.

Always kinda liked CoDC, so I probably ought to get this one. "Silence is as golden as piss," you know.

Andrew Childers said...

i've always enjoyed codc too, so it was nice to see a decent sounding album from them for a change. i think the steve austin production is what really crippled their last several albums.

Wooderson said...

Excellent writing but I don't share the same view as you on this album at all. I've never been a CODC children fan so that most likely has something to do with it. However, based on your review, I'm more than willing to give it another go.


Andrew Childers said...

wooderson: i enjoyed it but it's very much more of the same from codc, only it sounds better. so if their past work hasn't been your thing, caveat emptor.

Ryan Page said...

Steve austin should probably be barred from producing. I like a lot of the TITD albums, and sometimes interesting results can occur from him being involved, but most people who work with him think his production sucks...

I still don't know what to make of the guy.

That said, scott hull production is always tops.

Bill Willingham IV, Esquire said...

I've always been interested in CoDC, but never really bit into them. How much pig squealing is going on?

Also, Wooderson: are you Wooderson from GD? This is LJ!

Andrew Childers said...

ryan: that's what's so fascinating about austin. today is the day can churn out some awesome sounding records but when he produces someone else it turns to crap. i absolutely loathe the converge album he produced with the hatred of 100 hellfires.

bill: there's this weird pig squeal parabola with codc. started off with very few on starving the vultures, exotic sense decay, peaked with the genocide machine and human harvest (particularly human harvest) but have faded more with zero comfort margin and the new album. but hovarth mixes up his style enough, particularly on recent years, that the pigs don't get much space.

Unknown said...

I've always been a fan, pig squeels and all and I can't wait to listen to this. Whenever that will be.
Oh also, Steve Austin has never impressed me. Just saying.