Music Reviews


The Yawn of the New Age

Vendlus Records

I should have seen this coming a mile away, but I’m still fucking surprised. Zweizz is what happens when the twin poles of insular creativity and radical individualized isolationism that have been growing and growing in black metal (Xasthur, Sunn 0))), Bergraven, Thorns) reach their logical conclusion. At some point, when you reach the limits of tolerance and free expression in a genre that is supposedly built around rejection of most societal mores and any conceptions of authority – you are going to want to go beyond even that, rejecting everything, all standards of rational thought, linear creation, and acceptable aesthetic standards. Zweizz is the sound of that freedom.

The Yawn of the New Age is not metal. It doesn’t owe anything to anybody. You want your Crowleyan freedom? Here it is, and it’s already set your house on fire and stolen your car keys and your Tamagotchis while you weren’t paying attention. You can’t even call Yawn noise music, that’s way too restrictive and regressively macho for the mischievous sonic riddles and puzzle boxes that former DHG keyboardist and black metal musician Svein Egil Hatlevik have painstakingly constructed. It belongs in that elusive pop malcontent category, alongside Third Eye Foundation, Dead Voices on Air, Kevin Blechdom, Kid 606, Coleco games, Non, and Aphex Twin.

Naive glitches, bouncy pings, pongs, and squiggles all rub elbows uneasily with skeletal dancey percussion that will quickly go into overloaded sugar fix at the slightest press of the Pentagram button (never noticed that on the console before). Random electronic constructs occasionally coalesce into dancey patterns or post-apocalyptic carnival music or Ed Wood soundtracks (“Hommage a Knutsen & Ludvigsen”), but usually move according to a more randomized and nihilistic internal logic – CHAOS baby! – with everything becoming drenched in distortion as the need calls for it. Strange vocal incursions are generally of a harsher and more traditionally extreme metal variety, but they seem like transmissions beamed in from some Norwegian radio station, once removed. Just another element of an extremely schizophrenic palette. And then Zweizz goes all baroque for the piano-riffic closer “Amateurs.”

It’s not particularly thunderous or grandiose; everything seems to be on a more purposely miniaturized and bizarro scale. Much more space and silence than you would expect. So much more effective.

Just so you know, there’s an Atari-fied cover of “Blacker Than Darkness,” stripped bare of… everything except for a delightful miniature Casio swing. Infernally catchy! With a twenty-second screaming portion at the end! And cute, I’m sorry, it has to be said.

None more black, fuckers!


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