C.B.MURDOC – Here Be Dragons
Last year’s "Here Be Dragons" album by the Swedish horde C.B. Murdoc had escaped my attention until now, but suddenly it appeared in my pile of stuff to review and so I figured we might as well examine it in closer detail.
Frankly speaking, "Here Be Dragons" is a rather peculiar album in some ways. Musically and stylistically, C.B. Murdoc mixes and incorporates different elements from black metal, technical death metal, noise, hardcore, groove metal, and progressive metal into their strange and eclectic brew of misanthropy and loathing. Nothing is straightforward or easy to digest, and at times the atmosphere of the album borders on the claustrophobic due to the level of aggression and intensity that is on display here. There are lots of twists and turns in terms of riffs, melodies, and breaks, but the downside to all of this is that many of the songs never really stick even after numerous spins. "Nonplus Ultra" and "Diamonds" definitely have qualities to them and are the standout cuts in my opinion, but it annoys the hell out of me that none of the other tracks possess those same qualities. Having said that, some of the electronic elements that creep in from time to time actually work quite well within the larger musical frame and provide the songs with some texture and a few rather wicked albeit subtle details, so hats off to the band for incorporating those.
The untitled closing track, which is a moody and ambient-like piece, is quite interesting and I wish that there were more of those scattered throughout the record so that it would come across as much more varied and dynamic than it is, but sadly that is not the case. By the time you reach the end of the disc, it actually feels like a relief. While the musicianship is excellent and the production suitably sharp and punchy, the album as a whole is incoherent and contains too many fillers. I dig how unpredictable the music is, but most of the tunes fail to captivate and engage me on any level whatsoever. However, if you are on the lookout for a brutal and yet progressive album then maybe this fucker will do the trick for you? If bands such as Meshuggah, Isis, Red Harvest, Amorphis, and the likes appeal to you then maybe "Here Be Dragons" will be right up your alley, but approach this with an open mind.