Sunday, 31 January 2010

Pek - Preaching Evil. 60/100.

Well, this is surprising. Everything about Pek seems to scream, “We’re a black metal band, look at us!” -- but alas, no, this is a “dark blasphemic death metal” band, according to the musicians themselves. When I initially discovered Pek, as I said, I thought they were a typical black metal band who belonged to the “raw” sub-genre that I have little interest in. Nevertheless, I decided I’d give them a chance to impress me and in many ways, they have, but probably not in the ways they’d wish to leave an impression upon someone. Pek, a two piece death metal band from Belgium are like a misguided male in the midst of his sexual prime who is confused by his sexuality. He thinks he’s heterosexual, he’d love to be, but deep down he’s homosexual and fears this fact will disappoint his deeply religious parents, so he hides his true desires behind a serious of rebellious acts that lead his parents to question the motives of his behaviour. The young man is desperate for his parents to never discover the truth behind his actions, so he tries to offend them in every way possible -- even taking to Satanism to disguise his sexuality that his parents will obviously think of as a “personality defect” given their strong traditional Christian beliefs. Pek are suffering from their rudimentary style that pushes the listener away, rather than entrancing them into the midst of the soundscapes, which are littered with too many clichés and abhorrent feelings.

Pek, whilst screaming about their ties to black metal, also find the time to scream about their identity crisis that confuses both themselves and the rest of us. Given the bands themes of anti-Christian lyrics, band picture and even the titles for their songs, I could have sworn this was a black metal band in disguise. Maybe the bands members, who go by the names of Pek and Nefasto (I swear the latter is a common pseudonym in black metal), are trying to deceive us listeners and in turn, come across as more experimental than they actually are? Its a long shot, but conceivable if you have an imagination that likes to run away with itself when it comes to inane ideas. So, take a look at those song titles for this short full-length. Songs like the ridiculously titled, ‘S.A.T.A.N. Sanctity Exiled By Abhorrent Legions Triumphant Anti-Christ Nemesis’ and ‘Funeral Orations For The Detoriated Corpse Of A Metal Deficient God’ scream childish black metal band at me with a harshly distorted voice. Death metal in this style usually makes me feel uncomfortable and Pek are no different. I’m not overly fond of the fast paced guitars when placed ever-so-lovingly alongside the gargled and grunted vocals of the lead vocalist, who’s portrayal of the lyrical themes is exemplary of the problems I face when it comes to listening to death metal. No area seems significant enough to warrant special praise, not even the guitars which can produce the best moments at times. Lately I’ve been discovering too many throwbacks to the old days and this seems to be another one of that sort bringing back memories of Incantation.

I don’t find these vocals accessible and they’re so hollow that no emotions creeps out into the atmospherics that makes any of the songs sound even vaguely different from the previous. At least with typical black metal rasps I can feel the genuine emotion of the vocalist, who’s lyrical themes seem apt, rather than sprayed across the soundscapes without any thought as to how it would sound. This happens to be the first death metal record I’ve reviewed for the challenge and considering I’m on my 66th review, this speaks volumes. I have a lot of trouble describing death metal records because A) I generally dislike death metal and B) It seems to have a lot of shortcomings in the short spaces of the songs that are too fast for me to contend with describing accurately and with an accomplished style of writing. My level of coherency seems to drop drastically when I review death metal bands, unless they incorporate other genres into the mixture, which this does not do and unless the band are structured into slower movements because the chaos of fast paced music usually makes me nauseous. This style is very primitive and raw. It doesn’t allow the instrumentation to affect the soundscapes often as the vocals are ever present. When you take away the vocals, Pek are capable of producing some accessible instrumentation on guitars, as sparsely shown on songs like ‘Blessing The Blackness’. This mixed up record doesn’t defy my beliefs that death metal is often too raw and neglecting of its audience. Its as if this was created with no one else in mind, but the musicians themselves. I imagine old school fans with love the brutality of this record and seeing as I'm not a death metal fan, for the most part anyway, this will never appeal to me unless I'm in a murderous mood. Incantation fans look no further than Belgium's Pek.

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