As a reviewer of music, it is important to have a solid attention span and to be able to really absorb the feeling of the music which is being heard. I'm a firm believer in actually listening to music, rather than just hearing it. After all, there could be something that one would really love which takes a few listens to crack. Those with no attention span would truly miss out, and ones with patience are rewarded with music which stays with them for years.
Perhaps one of the greatest tests of my reviewing patience is this massive album by Japan's CORRUPTED. At over an hour long, and consisting of only one track, this is anything but a casual listen. For those who are not aware, CORRUPTED are one of the most vehemently underground bands I have ever come across. They do not give interviews, and do not do any sort of promotion (like band photos). Instead, it seems they choose to let the music do the talking. Interestingly, despite being from Japan, most CORRUPTED lyrics are in Spanish (though occasionally they do write English and Japanese lyrics).
"El Mundo Frio" (which is Spanish for The Cold Planet) is a trudging, creeping, enveloping monster of a track, with just enough variation to ensure that the listener is never bored. By the album/track title, I can surmise that the lyrics concern humanity, and the many awful things humans do to each other and the world they inhabit. If my guess is correct, then CORRUPTED have indeed composed an audial soundtrack of the last days of Earth leading to the apocalypse.
Beginning with several minutes of quiet clean picked guitars, soothing ambience, and a bit of drum work (relegated to mostly cymbals), the first part of the song conjures up timelapse images of busy urban centers, rousing with human activity which happens without regard to anything else. Slowly, but surely, CORRUPTED layers more elements over each other, sounding more urgent, building and building until about 11 minutes in, when the massive guitars kick in. Each chord attack is drawn out for maximum effect, the drums are smashed into oblivion, and this sludgy pace continues, only to be abruptly halted. Think of this as the first near miss concerning the end of humanity. The listener is then treated to a variance of soft spoken passages (in Japanese, I think), while the rest of the instruments maintain a gentle atmosphere which is almost mockingly in contrast to the next passage. Perhaps a short contemplation before the final days.
Without warning, the guitars kick up a notch again, while vocalist Hevi unleashes some of the most tormented growling this reviewer has ever heard. However hard it is to successfully convey emotion through simple percussive growling, Hevi has indeed succeeded. This is the sound of fire raining from the sky, nuclear holocaust, and the achievements of modern man crumbling in the face of his own ignorance. Once the first days of the apocalypse are over, the guitars tone down to an almost Post Rock type atmosphere. The delicate, beautiful sounds of a harp compliment the soundscape created by the other instruments, combining to create something truly engrossing. It is quite simple to find oneself lost in this sequence, as the tranquility of it simply mesmerizes.
This lull in the proceedings does not last indefinitely, and surely enough the distorted monolith of guitars returns. Perhaps humanity may have dodged a bullet, not once, but twice, throughout the course of this song, but the third time is the deathnail. This time, Hevi alternates between his tortured grunts and a bit of spoken word. There is no escape from the impending doom which CORRUPTED narrate through their music. As a final reflection, the music turns to the contemplative ambience of the beginning, perhaps signaling a new start for planet Earth. Humanity's future remains uncertain. Perhaps some have survived, or perhaps mankind has been wiped clean off the face of the Earth, unable to pervert and pollute this world any longer.
When all is said and done, this song/album energizes, inspires, intimidates, soothes, and disturbs, all at once. It is readily apparent why CORRUPTED does not wish to participate in promotional activity; this music speaks louder than any interview could ever hope to. Unbelievably powerful, vital, and adventurous music which I cannot help but to recommend in the highest regard. Listen, and bear witness to the sounds of the end.
BUY. OR. DIE.
(Online June 17, 2010)