Monday, February 17, 2014

Dodsferd - The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race (2014)

Sleep is for pussies, and as Wrath and crew roll on with their tireless body of work, they prove it is unnecessary to create of some of their most raucous and feisty material yet. Coming off two of their strongest black metal works in 2013 (A Breed of Parasites/A Cursed Heritage), Dodsferd takes one by surprise with a more directly punk-inspired, angry set of riffs and raw production choices that almost had me feeling that they had mislabeled a new record from their alter ego Nadiwrath. It wouldn't be the first time that influence bled over into the Dodsferd discography, but unless they can write a better set of riffs the next time out, I hope it should prove the last...

This is meant to sound street-like, with intros that involve ambient, often riotous urban noise, and a raw production rivaling even their most malicious black metal material from the past 12 years, but those are pretty much where the compelling choices end. The real issue I took with The Parasitic Survival of the Human Race was how plain and uninteresting the riffs are. Pretty much standard high velocity punk rock & roll chords you could hear from any sort of throwback over the last 30 years, more muscular than the seedy punk or horrorpunk that inspired them to head in this direction. Naught but bulky, predictable chord patterns that have been written a hundred times elsewhere, with a minimum of Hellhammer swagger and a few bursts into more accelerated black metal territory. This is an album where the sheer attitude, aggression and atmosphere are all that keeps the music afloat, because the four originals that front-end the experience are mutually dry in the idea department, whether they're surging along with faster, groovier chords or straight angry US hardcore stuff like "Doubting Your Worth".

Now, there's no question that Dodsferd love this base simplicity, and I didn't hate listening through this; I simply wish they'd pad that adoration with a more interesting variety of notes...maybe some dissonant chords in there, or eerie picked harmonies to accent the workmanlike chords which don't sound like they took a great deal of effort to conceive. I'm all for hearing this style of blackpunk, only I want there to actually be riffs I remember afterwards; like on Darkthrone's Dark Thrones and Black Flags, a masterpiece of the style with some amazing, surprisingly intricate guitar progressions. Another album I could compare this to would be Horna's Sotahuuto, which likewise had some arguably banal chord selections, but that album was so saturated in filthy fucking evil through the production and vocals that it hardly mattered. Here, I felt like the 6-7 minute track lengths were too long to feature no riffs that stick or sequences that took me by surprise, it was just basic stuff with Wrath's pissed off vocals spitting over the top to deliver the much needed personality...

If the Misfits cover ("We Are 138") is the most exciting part of the record, then you know it wasn't that infectious; not that I dislike the Misfits, on the contrary, but I've heard so many of their songs covered so many times that I almost want to hold up a Stop sign when I encounter them. In Dodsferd's case they were clearly one of the compulsions that led them to eke out the blackpunk territory, but considering how starved the original content was effectiveness this doesn't really offer a grand finale, when the riffs leading up to it were basically just like Kvelertak's mostly-boring sophomore album, or any other recycled 'rebirth of rock' punk from the 21st century, only uglier and more vicious. Not that the Greeks were ever incredibly creative through the years, nor was that necessarily the aim, but after a strong 2013 I was sort of hoping that they'd continue to climb, and this is just sort of a step sideways and back. The aesthetic they're chasing is a cool one, but needs more risk, more detail...they're a better band than these riffs reveal.

Verdict: Indifference [5.75/10]

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