by Jason Stys
You probably have some kind of idea who Klingons are.You are aware that they are from the Star Trek universe and you are at least vaguely familiar with their character attributes: the significance of honor and bravery as integral aspects of their war-faring culture, the ubiquity of blood and death, the utter lack of irony, and the unawareness of hyperbolic expression.It occurred to me as I was listening to This Present Darkness that this music, whatever you want to call it, extreme metal, death metal, can be placed under a more appropriate banner: Klingon Metal.This will be referred to in future reviews as the Klingon Hypothesis (or the Klingon Fact). You know that if it weren't for Klingon Empire regulations, they'd probably be playing this music on the bridge of a Battle Cruiser as they're decloaking off the starboard bow of a Romulan Warbird, whose fully-charged disruptors are waiting for the right moment to ejaculate their fury.The music is relentless and unabashedly barbaric.The vocals bark about 'shattered trust' one moment while evoking brooding and bloody imagery the next, as in 'Staring Through Crimson,' referring to some ambiguous 'anguish that makes you want to die.'In one sense the grandiose nature of these lyrics combined with this kind of music (which generally revolves around rapid kick/snare or double-bass beats with the swift guitar picking that would be expected, with obligatory breakdowns) makes perfect sense.But it would be more effective if the music was actually as brutal as the first listen leads you to believe. After a few more listens the music falls short, it fails to retain its impact, and the music leaves your head the second it stops.However, This Present Darkness does manage to change gears on occasion, throwing in some melodic hooks and shining moments, set up by clean guitar runs, most notably on the intro to 'Even Angels Are Outcast,' and the breaks in 'Don't Forget to Write.'But these parts are eventually ruined by the woofing of vocalist Tim Harris, and the entirely unforgivable and alien presence of bass rolls by drummer, Richard Gibson.Bassist, Garrett Corbin executes without being too conspicuous, while guitarists Myke Terry and Ben Diller work well together, as in the intro to 'As Late November Leaves Fall' which is one of the finer examples of how the fast-picking style can indeed be used successfully in terms of harmony and originality. Vocally and lyrically, this record mostly makes me want to stick my head through drywall and spackle all around it.While I have no doubt in the sincerity and effort involved here, the end result is still frustrating, and at times, infuriating.In terms of lyrics, the best example This Present Darkness has to offer is again in the standout, title track.Here, the lyrics are subtle and pointed, and are the most effective out of these four songs.They deal with the subject of death in a way both profound and dignified, creating some vivid imagery that works without trying too hard to be disturbing.But elsewhere on the record, they are overwrought with fear and pain, as in 'Even Angels Are Outcast': 'Open cuts bleed…Falling angels finally his (sic) the ground with the relief of years of torment.My pedestal has collapsed.'It also doesn't help that the insert layout for this particular song is on loose-leaf paper, a device co-opted by that guy from Staind, which pretty much ruins it for at least a few years, the device.The vocals are executed without a trace of modulation in pitch, thought to melody, or even, at times, compliance with rhythm.It's essentially one visceral burst after another. The most decisive flaw in this record (as far as determining the overall rating-it knocked off about 30 points) is that some of the takes are marred by technical mistakes.There are some obvious mishaps in performance where the instruments fail to simultaneously hit beats as they should.They're not very tight, which, given the velocity of the music is understandable, but nevertheless, these matters should have been rectified.Whoever invested in this project should've held it hostage and prevented it from seeing daylight until the botched downbeats and occasional disruptions in tempo were mended.While these technical imperfections are few and far between, they wreak bloody havoc on the overall product. Bottom Line: Aside from the occasional technical flaws, fans of this kind of metal will probably enjoy this record.But I would be remiss if I didn't recommend an At the Gates or Darkest Hour record, or better yet, something early-era Kreator or Death, all of which, including This Present Darkness, are best enjoyed with a goblet of blood wine. Q'Plah! Track Listing: 01. Staring Through Crimson 02. As Late November Leaves Fall 03. Even Angels Are Outcast 04. Don't Forget to Write
1 commentPost Comment
beckluvyaxo_ 7/19/2006 1:48:01 PM
I think he is being very negative about the album...