Sunday, 31 January 2010

Procer Veneficus - Duskworlds. 80/100.

I said I’d only explore Procer Veneficus’ discography for the sake of the challenge and that is what I’m doing. Despite despising much of this one man bands material, I discovered ‘Duskworlds’ due to the additional information attached to the record, which comes supplied with every Procer Veneficus record that I’ve had the misfortunate of coming across (aside from ‘Ghostvoices’, of course). There was, as with every record from this troubled American band, apprehension attached to listening to them once again. I vow never to listen to most of their material again once the challenge is done and, though I hope this will not be the case, the band still has un-reviewed material ahead of the next challenge, which I suspect will be the case as they’ve gone untouched for several years now (and there’s a valid reason for that). The apprehension ahead of listening to this can be explained by the additional information, so here it is; “‘Duskworlds’ is the first earthly black metal recording. The album consists of psychedelic and harshly dissonant black metal designed to capture the fiery lustre of a summer sunset. Interspersed throughout the album are several pieces of murky, amnesic ambience. ‘Duskworlds’ is sister album to ‘Lunar Transit’, and is part of the Summerhaze box set.”

The key is in the phrase, “sister album”. As a firm believer of black metals ways, I was interested to see how Procer Veneficus would cope with concerning themselves with black metal once again since the band has not done since I heard ‘Ghostvoices’. Given the fact that this is the so-called sister record to the outrageously odious with the stench of crap all around it, and one half of the ‘Summerhaze’ box set, my dread was beginning to become somewhat delusional, causing me to become disillusioned with life. My fears weren’t met all the way, instead, they were met half way. Although this does contain a lot of ambient passages, most are actually well composed and compliment the bands black metal style which has ties to other, perhaps more notable bands. I was directed to this band because of my liking for dissonant black metal in the style of Velvet Cacoon. Since discovering Velvet Cacoon, one of the oddest bands in the history of music, I have gone on to scout out other familiar acts like the fellow Americans Wrath Of The Weak, whom are actually more accomplished at this style of fuzzy distorted black metal that outlines its themes with eerily hypnotic atmospherics, and an obscure Scottish ambient black metal band, whom are now defunct, In Vino Veritas.

‘Duskworlds’ is essentially a combination of those three bands, all playing their sounds simultaneously. The ambient and dissonant styles mesh together as one and combine well, which is something I could not say of most of Procer Veneficus’ material which has slowly drifted on by like a change of direction in the wind. A lot of the previous ambient material was lifeless. I’d go as far to say it was downright dull. Procer Veneficus have a habit of coming across as pretentious and arrogant, thinking that the band is creating something divine when its really just drivel. I can stand ambiance. In fact, I actively search for it in my metal, but in terms of this style of ambiance, it must be intermingled with the Velvet Cacoon style of dissonant black metal that uses eerie hissing vocals and repetitive soundscapes generated by the distortion of the guitars, the tremolo bass and the double bass percussion. These monotonous elements of music are vital to the inner workings of ‘Duskworlds’, and though normally most would shy away from this style, Night has made it work given the fact that he combines this style fluently with ambient material that actually does spark some life into the soundscapes.

Only when Night combines the two will he be greeted with open arms and I am pleasantly surprised to say that I do like this record, despite its familiar feel that I can also get elsewhere in the form of the aforementioned bands who play consistently within their structures and don’t mess around with needless styles that harm the opinion of their discography. This whirlwind style is inspired by nature and the forces that subtly rule the world. It reminds me of raging oceans, hazardous storms and nature standing above the Earth looking down on us with a gleaming smile that says, “I told you not to fuck with me.” Songs that pick up these images are amongst the most powerful on the record and include scarily depicted numbers like ‘Solarfall, Duskrise’. Taking a leaf out of Velvet Cacoon’s book, the originators of this style, Procer Veneficus have finally offered a follow up to the intriguing ‘Ghostvoices’. Without the black metal, the ambient would have no legs to stand on. Interspersed ambient tinges, mixed with a phenomenal style of draining distortion, Procer Veneficus have obscured the majority of their discography by shunting it into the shadows, never to be rediscovered again.

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