Summer is upon us, and here in Texas, summer means that the bugs are back to ruin your fucking day. Where I used to live in California, the only things that you ever had to worry about bug-wise were Black Widow spiders, which would lie in wait in laundry room trashcans to come bursting out at your outstretched hand when you went to throw away a dryer sheet, and potato bugs, which are harmless but still manage to be horrifying to look at. But here in good old Texas, the world of bugs opens before you. When the phrase "Everything's bigger in Texas!" pops up, they're actually talking about water bugs, which look like cockroaches but are a couple of inches long and strong enough for you to ride them like a horse. Look at these things:
My wife is standing on a chair with her skirt hiked up, screaming "Eeek! EEEEEEEEEEK!"
Since we live right near a greenbelt (to be fair, it's not so much a greenbelt as it is a really giant piece unoccupied land that is overrun with trees and wildlife), we have to tangle with all sorts of buggy travelers as they come sauntering through our hood. In fact, our apartment seems to be where the apartment's management and the bugs jointly agreed that the bugs could come to die in exchange for being less of a nuisance to the rest of the residents of our complex. Giant earwigs? Fuck yeah, go on inside! Monsoon Cobra will be there to smash you with a sandal so that his wife will get off the counter. Flying beetles? I'm sure the Cobra family would love to dispose of your incongruously giant corpse after you flew across the living room and crashed into somebody's face for no reason.
The best bug story happened a couple of days ago, though, where one of the aforementioned water bugs got into the bathroom somehow. It was about 1 a.m. and we were getting ready for bed. I was turning off my computer when I hear a bloodcurdling shriek from the bathroom. I walk in to find my wife being chased around by a giant water bug, and she's on the verge of tears. After spending a couple of minutes enjoying the novelty of a bug the size of a small dog chasing my wife around our tiny bathroom, I went and got a container and a magazine to catch that bastard with. My wife is "Eek! Eek!"-ing on the toilet lid while I track the water bug into the corner and finally trap him. I took him out on the porch and flicked him out of the bowl onto my neighbor's car.
I mean, I didn't want to kill it because the bug wasn't doing anything, and why should my neighbor have a carport right in front of MY apartment? Fuck that!
Also, I imagine that smashing one of those gigantos would yield a shitload of guts, which is disgusting.
I'm beginning to become suspicious, however, that the bugs are attracted to Blut Aus Nord's newest fare, 777 Sect(s). I've been relentlessly rocking this album since I happened across it and picked it up on the urging of a favorable review from Invisible Oranges and the fanatical ramblings of 8===D. The album sounds like an angry tree full of frightening bugs that want to burrow into your ear and haunt your nightmares forever. And all the bugs around my apartment complex can hear it and are all like "Hey guys, do you hear that? It's that angry tree! Let's go check this shit out! We can go there and die and our ghosts will crawl all over peoples' skin forever!" And then they do that.
And there's nothing so creepy as playing Dead Space 2 at 2 a.m. and feeling a spider on your leg, which disappears as soon as you see it, and then you can feel stuff crawling all over you for the rest of the night. Dead Space 2 is creepy enough without that.
Luckily for Blut Aus Nord, this album is so good that I'll allow the stupid insects and arachnids to use my apartment as a graveyard for the summer. I have a vacuum cleaner, after all, and I can't get enough of the creepy crawly atmosphere that lies in wait for you during the 45 minutes of 777 Sect(s). The album starts in the most awesome way, with the dissonant, layered skronk of "Epitome 1" giving you a taste of how angular and rubbery their aural assault can be. The assault continues through standout tracks like "Epitome 3," whose slippery, slithering riffs (I'm hearing guitar slides? Seriously? Awesome) sounds like a listenable John Corigliano movie score for a project that's really dark starring Willam Dafoe. Spider Nightmare 2: Nightmares of Spiders, perhaps? Maybe Swallowed by Bees, or Dismembered by A Swarm of Angry Glowing Bugs, the Monsoon Cobra Story?
That last one is about me, but I think it would make a better folk ballad than a movie.
My personal favorite track is "Epitome 5," which shifts back and forth between angular quasi-consonance and thick, dark atmospheres and powerfully dissonant squalls amid the frenzied blasting before getting all sludgy and groovy. The album finishes out with the dirge-y "Epitome 6," a fitting end to a veritable fever dream coated with a creepy-crawly atmosphere and the most sonically intriguing riffs I've heard all year, and possibly ever. Invisible Oranges and 8===D, thanks for not steering me wrong. It's been a while since I could really get behind a black metal album (I don't count Anaal Nathrakh as black metal), and Blut Aus Nord have given me one of the most enjoyable black metal experiences I've even encountered.
Do yourself a favor and, even if you aren't into black metal at all, check out "Epitome 3". That riff is so awesome! And if you want to hear the album you can steal it or check out their Last.fm page, which will give you a little something to whet your beak with. I actually recommend just buying it (who am I kidding? Steal it!) and experiencing the sensation in it's entirety for yourself. It'll make my Top Albums list for sure.