Album Name/Year Released: Inure (2004)
Genre: Black Metal/Death Metal/Hardcore Punk
Country: The United States of America
Bring your mind back a couple of Fridays ago to the morning of the 23rd of October. Depending on where you live, you could have been doing anything- You might have been sleeping, prepping for work, or on a commute to college. I found myself embarking on a long trek on foot across my Northern Minnesotan city.
But for the mechanical bustle of morning traffic, the streets were largely devoid of any sort of life, the skies were overcast with a pallor of opressive gray clouds all too commonly cast upon the firmament here in late fall.
I was kept warm only by my thin WitTR shirt, some khaki pants, and a pair of headphones I was using as an improvised set of earmuffs- through which was playing whatever I'd hastily thrown on my tiny 1gb iPod the previous evening before heading out to hang out with my friends. I hadn't slept a wink since then, but a mixture of the gripping cold, and the loud music I was listening to kept me quite alert. Uncommonly alert.
I continued winding on foot through the veritable maze of largely unnecessary pre-winter road-construction (your tax dollars at work, go stimulus!), eventually dropping in and out of a library to warm myself. I passed leaf-shorn trees dotting the corners of sidewalks, people with glazed eyes, long cast in the molds of weary working lives. Kindness made tedium.
Strange waves of lucid introspection.
The music I was listening to wasn't distracting me from the world, it was allowing me to focus on it. On myself. Away from the grey, meaninglessness of these concrete labyrinths, away from this substantially inert city. This constant slog. This generality.
Not worth attention. Not worth concern...
Dropped into a local organic foods shop, grabbed an application. Worth a shot, even if I'm tired of shooting. Gotta get off the cycle somehow.
Crossing the mainstreet, I found myself walking about with a sense of purpose, so uncommon for me these days.
As I began traversing the bridge connecting downtown Bemidji to the pseudo-suburb of Nymore, my home, and stared out into the brooding, angry, royal blue of Lake Bemidji, the music I was listening to started truly grabbing me, started making me think even more. The album that was by a band from Baltimore, MD. Likely no-one in a hundred mile radius in relation to where I stood had heard of them. And there I was, connecting with their material at the most sincere level. Pounding drumwork offset by mellow acoustics, standout basswork, and multi-person harsh vocals.
Coming to the next song, I instantly recognized the soul-sheering voice of Mis, who after recording with Inure would branch off to front sludge doomsters Moonshine and lend her abilities to the great Wake Up On Fire. There was her characteristic high alto clean voice too...
I was passing the construction sight of the new Bemidji Event's Center to my left, the great hulking skeleton of the thing cutting a huge swath of imposing iron framework into the sky and across the landscape. A monument to fatheaded human impetuousness and indolent, corporate greed. It was an eyesore.
And yet, staring at the glaring visage of the thing I laughed, heartily, and as I did, I was caught by one of the most gorgeous tremelo melodies I'd heard in ages (see the end of "Dos"). I moved on. Pushing forward, through the cold air and empty walkways, accompanied by somber, sober, acoustics, striking vocals, and gripping, layered riffwork; wondering at how odd an occurrence it was that I am so drawn to music like this, how easily I can connect to it, and why it gets through to me.
Enter punkish rhythms, more gorgeous tremelos.
"There's something about underground music, underground extreme music in particular, like this that I just can't help but like. I find it in my tiny local scene too- a mix of artistic integrity, talent, and sincerity. The Baltimore scene has quite apparently had a bigger chance to flourish, and mature, and I see it in the material of bands like these. I love it, and I hope the Bemidji scene someday gets the chance to to progress as much. We're working on setting up the framework. I'll do what I can to make sure it pans out."
Enter more extended acoustics and alto vocals, quick change to furious tremelos...
I was finally passing the last winding stretch of houses before I would reach my own.
A last incredible tremelo, strong riffwork, more vicious vocals...
I found myself within sight of my doorstep. Just as I walked up to it, the album ended. I laughed a last time and walked in, wishing only for the warmth of that house of respite to chase the feeling back into my limbs.
Apostate (Fin) - Flight Of The Halcyon (1999)
5 years ago