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Infernal Poetry: Paraphiliac

Listening to this album was like a phone conversation with a telemarketer; all it does is stick to the script, cut off my objections, and insist that I really need something utterly useless. I wanted to hang up but I listen to everything that crosses my path and wanted to give it a fair listen. I did. I still don't like it. I was especially disappointed with the way the album plays off of various images of mutilated human figures. The cover art, for example, depicts a woman who has clearly been severely damaged. The songs themselves are no better, playing off of themes of mutilation with titles, like "Stumps," "Cartilages," and, probably, "Barf Together." Even worse, I thought that this album was too obviously trying to shock listeners with its connections of sex and violence and / or torture. What's the point? This has all been done before, better I might add, by more capable musicians and lyricists. As a long-time fan of horror literature and film, I know the difference between works that actually have a human story to tell and those that don't. The best horror movies teach us something about what it means to be human; sometimes, doing so requires a long look into the abyss. Edgar Allan Poe, for example, stared long and hard into human madness; nevertheless, he knew there was something more than the sum total of our worst behaviors, inclinations, and impulses.

Albums like this raise my hackels because they play, handily, to the stereotype that heavy metal is adolescent music, stuck in a hyper-masculine fantasy world. Perhaps there's some truth to such claims, but I've never thought they were fair. Nevertheless, no matter how hard I object, there will always be bands that play up the more immature angle by making everything a reflection on the horrors of the body, the fear of real intimate connections, and so on. To me, this album has a rather tasteless quality, one that plays too much with images of violence against women. One could argue that Paraphiliac musically explores some of the darkest realms of human thought and expression. Fair enough. Listeners will have to decide whether such explorations are insightful or unnecessary.

Aside from my grumpy rant, I should point out that these guys play well enough when they want to, but they don't do enough of what makes them strong. I liked their use twin guitar harmonies best, mostly because that sound never gets old to me, no matter who is using it or for how long. I was also occasionally impressed with the vocals, but only when they broke free of the constant growling that made up every other track. One more thing: I'm tired of tracks like "Preliminaries" which try to establish a theme without really presenting any music. Such tracks, I suspect, are used as a means of telling an audience the band is about to take the stage. Too often, though, it's just so much noise, doing very little to establish presence and excitement.

Track Listing:
1. Preliminaries
2. Stumps
3. In Glorious Orgy
4. Hypertrophic Jellyfish
5. Everything Means "I"
6. Barf Together
7. Cartilages
8. The Copy/Paste Syndrome
9. The Miss Treated
10. Paraphilias

Added: December 21st 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 2127
Language: english

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