One of the hardest things about reviewing the music of others is being as brutally honest as one needs to be, even in the face of obvious and good intentions.
There's also (if, like me, one produces music one's self) the underlying "do as you'd have done unto yourself" theme. I can evade that by stating that I'd rather someone be utterly straight about my music, instead of dancing around their imaginary handbag in order not to be too ruthless in their critique of my output.
Which is how, dear reader, I'm going to approach the album I have playing as I type, namely the rather snappily titled A Parable On The Aporia Of Vengeance And The Beauty Of Impenetrable Sadness (what was that, gentle soul? Oh...yes...well, me neither, but let's stick together through this regardless) by A Death Cinematic. ADC is, I believe, a one-man operation...and it shows.
The cover and artwork for this double CD album is extraordinary in its construction and execution: chipboard outer packaging is adorned with heat transferred images, housing an inner gatefold sleeve for the discs made from western red cedar veneer, all hand-bound, hand-stamped and hand-printed. (Brendan's Note: Searching the internet leads from the music produced by ADC directly to Simple Box Construction, the company that makes this packaging. It might all be the same person, in which case, what was he attempting to showcase here?)
Listening to the musical content of the album, with such a painstakingly produced package, it would be easy to judge the music as a cohesive, symbiotic whole with the cover.
But I need to be brutally honest; I have to critique this as if this had been a CD-R I'd received – it had to stand up on the strength of the music.
Sadly, A Parable On… (I'm not going to keep typing out that title, or even cutting and pasting it) is a rather forlorn attempt at post-rock (hate that term, but I'm stuck with it as a frame of reference) minimalism which merely serves to illustrate that it's not as easy as it sounds to make a good album in the genre.
Much electronic bleeping and tortured guitar work, but nothing of any real substance here. This is something produced (according to the note from the artist included with the promo) on a four-track cassette in a bedroom. And it sounds like it.
I hate writing short reviews. This normally means I hate the album in hand, and I hate to hate music. But I can find nothing here, not even with my love of the weird, to be enthralled or even mildly interested in.
To paraphrase myself paraphrasing Dorothy Parker, I found myself listening to A Parable On… and then whistling the cover.