Music Reviews
Dark Meat

Dark Meat

Truce Opium

Emergency Umbrella

Beginning with an explosion of energy that sounds like the seemingly impossible combination of the Stooges and Jethro Tull, Dark Meat’s Truce Opium is an album that will appeal to those who like their rock ‘n’ roll to approach the esoteric and attempt the impossible.

The spirit of community exists in the sound of Dark Meat, something that is essential for the success of a band that at some points featured nearly 30 members. It’s probably because of this communal spirit that the band is able to assimilate as many influences as it does and still sound compact instead of cluttered. Instead of relying on the dogmatic leadership of a single member with overly ambitious goals, one can imagine that the songs of Truce Opium are the result of every member putting forth their own personal idea and influences with no one member having authority on what sounds are more worthwhile than others.

In Truce Opium, sprawling free-form improvisation takes hold over structured songwriting. This approach often leads to dead-end jamming that wastes the listener’s time, but from the beginning a certain primal excitement is sustained. Punk rock seems to be an influence as much as the Grateful Dead.

Some may find it difficult to get absorbed in Dark Meat’s ramshackle jams. Jumping from style to style without second-guessing, the effect of the music is disorienting. While Dark Meat certainly do not completely lack melody, the focus of their music is definitely the ritualistic energy and chaos they create. The feeling is similar to the Boredoms albums Vision Creation Newsun and Super Ae, with the relentless trance-inducing energy they express.

One can also hear a strong influence from free jazz. Albert Ayler is cited as an influence by the band in interviews, as well as Ornette Coleman’s work with electric bands. Wailing saxophones are all over place and the overall feel is that of a band that favors pure energy and expression over structure.

Those who appreciate music that isn’t afraid to sound a little insane and ridiculous in its attempt to escape the slavery of tradition will find Truce Opium to be an album that’s at least worth looking into. While Dark Meat certainly aren’t the only practitioners of wild freak-out music operating today, they certainly are among the most talented.

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