September 26, 2006
Wolf Eyes "Human Animal"
Okay, let's just get it out of the way: Human Animal scares the crap out of me. Looking at the artwork, it's going for that whole "black" motif, and, as you'd expect, it fits quite well. That thing on the cover---I have no idea what it is, but last night, as I was looking at it, I turned away for a second...it moved! I swear it did! It's going for that death metal sound, and by "death metal," I don't mean melodramatic songs about death; I mean beating you to death with a piece of metal. They aren't trying to glorify death; they're trying to be death.
But this is Wolf Eyes, after all, and for them, this sludge and drudge and violence and noise is not only par for the course, it's an art. And even for all of the scary moments and the general freakiness of the Wolf Eyes concept, it's hard to deny that theirs is not compelling music. It's like watching a head-on collision….from the point of view of the front headlight of one of the cars.
Enough about all of those things, though. Human Animal, for those who have no idea what Wolf Eyes sounds like, mixes the sound of percussion, sonic manipulation, guitar, and a ton of other things that I don't know how to describe (simply because I don't know what they ARE), and they throw these things together with lyrics that are disturbing, and they blend it all together in a way that results in very sick, very twisted, and very haunting music. Sometimes, they sound like Hell. Dante's Hell. Cacodemon Hell. Here, let's let you listen to one of their songs, and tell me if such statements are not without merit:
Pretty scary, isn't it? Well, throw in seven more songs with such wonderful titles as "Rationed Rot" (which contains some pretty interesting poetry, truth be told), "Rusted Mange" (which sounds like Trent Reznor-in-real-Hell), and "Leper War" (which is just downright scary). For a kid who was freaked out in first grade when teacher played a "Sounds of Halloween" record, you can only imagine how I might take something like this. (I think I made a mistake when I listened to it at night, yet for some reason I think it might be even scarier when played during the day.)
Human Animal is a very disturbing record, and even if you have a tolerance for music that is scary and disturbing, this record still might be too much to bear. But for what they do, they do well, and it's hard for me to find fault with it. I'll just admit that this isn't something I can handle much of the time—and by "much of the time," I mean "ever."
Yet…yet…yet…I can't explain it, but I kind of dug Human Animal. Okay, so it scared the everlovin' crap outta me, but sometimes, you gotta be afraid. And Nate Young, man, more power to him for making this kind of music. How he does it, I don't know. Wait. Scratch that. I don't WANT to know. When it comes to freaky, demonic music that encapsulates the dark side, there's none more black.
The best part about it, though, is that being on Sub Pop, one secretly wishes that Wolf Parade fans might think this is a new record....