Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Clinging to the Trees Of A Forest Fire--Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation

My grind kick that I've been on lately has, I believe, stemmed from a deep malaise that accompanies being a gigantically tall, increasingly heavy, aging American male.  The drudgery of American life is hard to deal with; though we have a much higher standard of living than literally anybody on the planet anywhere for any reason (except Norway and probably several other countries that aren't attempting to rip themselves apart from the inside out), our lifestyle comes with the inevitable realization that we live for the sole purpose of getting stuff.  And not good stuff either.  I'm talking about greenbacks, son.  Cash dollars.  Benjamins.  [Other colloquialism for the U.S. dollar]. 

Take me, for example.  I walk into work every day, on time with my collared shirt and coffee breath.  I clock in and, for no less than 8 hours, I stuff boxes with things that people have purchased from us so that I might line the pockets of my company's owners, and so that those profits might trickle down through the ranks, finally ending with me having sold time for my paltry wages.  I actually like my company, too; they treat me like a human being and not some manner of bionic horse that has been designed to bring somebody items that your company supplies they have suddenly deemed "necessary" whenever they feel the time is ripe.  Which is usually right after a solid 11 hour day, but right before you sit down to dinner (God I hated that job).  But the terrible single-mindedness of corporate work makes me realize that sometimes I'd like to be living in a tree, peeling bananas with my feet, unafraid of touching my own feces with my bare hands so that I might fling said feces at those who would dare to intrude upon my bananas.

To combat this feeling, I have classically sat in a darkened bathroom, taking a fully-clothed shower in complete silence.  I have had to amend my approach, however, as this behavior is highly conspicuous to my wife, who thinks that pitch-black showers with all of your clothes on is "frightening."  Then I tried eating things I found on the floor, but this proved difficult after my near-immediate realization that everything on the floor tasted like the bottom of a shoe.  And the bottom of a shoe isn't as delicious as it sounds.  And yes, I realize it doesn't sound delicious at all.  Now, I simply sit at my desk and mash my face against my computer keyboard until a funny picture of a bear or a man getting hit in the genitals pops up on screen, allowing me a few scant seconds of shutting off my brain (except for the part that goes "Ouch!  Right in the balls!") before I start obsessing over who is or is not trying to communicate with me via email, Facebook, Skype, or any other socializing tool that I don't use nearly as much as my obsession might indicate.
"Ouch!  Right in the balls!"  It never gets old, either

Luckily for me, Clinging to the Trees Of A Forest Fire's music is made for poor bastards like me.  And luckily for Clinging (which is how I will refer to them considering their stupidly long name), guys like me will rabidly consume music that is plump with hopelessness and disdain for human life until they are inevitably institutionalized and forced to take medication.  After all, it's much easier to pop a pill that alters your brain chemistry than to have the people around you try to understand and tolerate you.  But when you use whiskey to achieve the same effect, you're just drunk!  I can't figure it out.  But this is why Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation works so well for me; if you've ever been sitting around in a pit of self-loathing, thinking "I wonder what the kind of music that would most effectively frighten my grandmother?" well, good news.  I found it.

I first encountered Clinging shortly after my initial encounter with Withered.  They came highly recommended by Withered through their Myspace (which was the prior form of social media I had an unhealthy attachment to before Facebook and this retarded blog), so I naturally checked them out, having been so smitten with Withered's Folie Circulaire.  That shit was crazy, and I was naturally unsettled, because there isn't very much around that is as cold and stark as Clinging's massively abrasive grind assault.  It's the sound of a belt sander that somebody sprayed with liquid nitrogen before mashing it into your face.

And it's awesome.

I know grinders out there who are always looking for the next gnarly thing (I'm looking at you, The Boner Formerly Known as the WZA'd), and if you haven't heard this yet, you're missing out.  It's probably not dirty-sounding enough for the standard grind enthusiast, but I think the relatively high production value gives the album an unsettling atmosphere.  This doesn't hide underneath raw production; Clinging are showing you a 15-megapixel photo of a mutilated corpse on an HD television and asking you "It's pretty gnarly, right?"  Songs of Ill Hope and Desperation is the musical embodiment of the sound that whirls around inside my head when I'm not distracting my waking mind with flashing images on some manner of screen.  Or ping pong.  Ping pong is pretty effective too.

So, for the self-loathing grind enthusiast, follow your nose and check out the music; or, if you're feeling saucy and want to buy it the way that I did, go to Prosthetic Records' website and buy something, you pig.  It's awesome and, even by my relatively high standards, pretty goddamn scary.  But in a good way, like when you find out that your wife played a joke on you by saying that she's pregnant, and you're just relieved that it was all a joke and you don't have to push her down any stairs.  She's a real trickster, and now I don't have to commit any crimes!

Because I'm anti-abortion.

Yes, I think abortion humor is funny.  So sue me.  Also, don't ever google-image search "anti abortion posters" unless you want to see some really unsettling stuff. 


  1. I was into this BEFORE IT CAME OUT Prosthetic sent me a promo copy for my radio show over summer. I thought it was pretty gnartastic, but somehow it just didn't stick with me. Probably because I'm 80% boner and 10% retard.

  2. Touche, Will. You've got me beat; I was sitting around listening to Alpha Drunk on the Blood of the Omega like some stupid homo. I need a radio show.

  3. Will was into this blog post before it was written.