Thursday, June 13, 2013

Author & Punisher: Women & Children (2013)

What Is This? Does It Matter

Review by joanismylover, the third metal attorney.

I like the Crystal Method. I can shake my ass and nod my head to it. It’s electronic, but it’s large. It’s dance music but it’s excessive. It’s also kind of heavy. It’s got atmosphere – maybe not a metal type of atmosphere, but there’s a presence to the music that gets my attention. Maybe there’s not a lot of substance to it but there’s good songs there. I’m not really sure what type of music it is, but that doesn’t matter. It’s good and I want to listen to it.

I’m not really sure what kind of music Author & Punisher is, but I’m also not really sure it matters. The question is whether it’s any good and do I want to listen to it. At first I didn’t. I gave it a once-through and wasn’t really captivated or even interested. But then I played it again. And I got a bit more interested.

What gets me interested about this is the atmosphere and the heavy electronic presence. I can see there is metal about this release but it's not necessarily a metal release. There are death metal growls, a couple of impliedly metal song titles (“Melee” and “Fearce”), and I guess some doom song structure. The rest is electronics, and that is not “metal.”

But this is electronic music that is heavy. The electronics would appear to break the rule of no keyboards in metal, to which there are only certain nonapplicable exceptions – e.g. the Hammond Organ exception. But does that really matter? Not on the spiraling winding descent of “Tame as a Lion”, with its horror tinged atmospherics, and pounding presence that crescendos to a terrifying conclusion. Not on “Fearce” where the listener is doomed by electronic riffs and more of the chilling atmosphere. Is there a difference between the keyboard “breakdown” at the 3:30 minute mark and a traditional acoustic interlude? Not when they are both followed by the hammer of doom.

If there’s complaints, they are few. The hammer doesn’t feel heavy enough, for starters. To the extent that the readers of this blog are fans of metal – this will be the deficit of “Women & Children”. Bring the heavy if you're going to do it. Although atmospheric, sometimes it's too understated. It has some slow moments but so does Reverend Bizzarre. And we all like RB, don’t we? If I’m waffling a bit it's because I am a bit of a traditionalist. But to fans of music, and just metal, this is a new experience in a familiar metal framework. It thus passes the Crystal Method rule - "I’m not really sure what type of music it is, but that doesn’t matter. It’s good and I want to listen to it."

3.5 out of 5 stars.

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