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Saturday, August 7, 2010

The High Confessions - Turning Lead Into Gold With The High Confessions

It's That Time.

The High Confessions is an post-art rock/metal collaboration project between several well-known artists in various experimental musical scenes. Members include Steve Shelly (Sonic Youth), Sanford Parker (Nachtmystium, Minsk), Chris Connelly (Ministy, Revolting Cocks), and Jeremy Lemos (White/Light). This project really does explore a unique sort of sound that is not that far from what you might imagine from these artists working together.
Right off the bat, this project hits you in the head with a song that completely is not what the rest of the album really is. Mistaken For Cops is a post-punk/art rock sort of song that is not that far from what Sonic Youth have done with their sound, but it has a building sensation that brings to mind post-rock, as well as elements of industrial as well. This song it also very concise, being just over four minutes, there is no other song on this album that is anywhere near that short.
The next track, Along Come The Dogs, is almost the complete opposite of the track that came before it. This track is very subtle, using long drones, marching style drumming, and vocals that do give the image of people being hunted down. Being the longest on the album, going just over seventeen minutes, if you're not a fan of very atmospheric and experimental music, this is not what you want to hear. The use of slow progressions throughout the track do continue to make it worth listening to though, as siren-like keyboards, this is just a thought of what this sound could be, and chanting vocals moving into the forefront of the sound.
This next songs are a bit more "active" compared to the last track, but even that's a exaggerating a bit. The next two tracks are in the eleven minute range and both have a sound that is experimental from start-to-finish, but eerie and disturbing in presence and lyrics. The Listener is possibly one of the most disturbing songs I've had the opportunity to listen to all year. This track in particular is perhaps what Massive Attack would sound like if they were ever on a bad acid trip, to kind of put it into a form that is slightly understandable. The very precise drumming, the odd drones that echo in the background, the low piano chords that haunt the track, and the extremely trippy vocals all make this track unique as well as emotionally haunting.
Perhaps for those that want a song that actually harnesses the punk edge that song of some of the members, Dead Tenements was crafted. This track is definitely much more up-tempo and more along the lines of the opener, but builds a lot more. To consider that means you might have to fess up to the album closer, Chlorine & Crystal, being what could be a pop song compared to the rest of the album. Though that track in particular is over nine minutes, it has some more noticeable guitar work as well as vocal lines that stick in your head rather easily.
Overall, this is an album that is really one you have to invest yourself into to kind of get something worthwhile back from it. The vocals themselves, and the occasional bass lines may grab some, but aren't enough for me personally to say that this wowed me right away. If you like experimental post-art rock stuff, this is something you're gonna wanna check out for sure.
Overall Score: 8
Highlights: The Listener, Chlorine & Crystal

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