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Black Sheep Wall: I'm Going to Kill Myself

This is a difficult album to process, mostly because the opening track (the aptly titled "The Wailing and the Gnashing . . .") is so grating and raw. The ellipses at the end of the title don't help much. The wailing and gnashing of what? Sure, it's biblical-sounding language, but it's not going to tell us anything about hell or damnation or sorrow or regret. No, this is more about natural human despair, the kind that sees everything in negative terms. Indeed, the opening track's repeated assertion of "I'm sorry Dan" sounds less like an apology and more like a concession that everything is just as bad as we feared and there's no hope.

Look, nobody really expected this album to be pleasant. Even the cartoon on the cover refuses any positive associations. These are not creatures from a children's television show (though there is a slight resemblance). The purple creature, the one uttering the album's title, will not sing or dance or embrace or express love. Instead, he, she, or it, will go commit suicide. So, yeah, we are in a mode of despair here. Perhaps the second track, "Tetsuo the Dead Man" speaks to the condition of certain, self-inflicted, death.

Of all the tracks here, I suppose "Metallica" is the most striking. This is partly due to the title—what's the reference to Metallica doing here and why is the track so long (about 33 minutes)? The song itself is less grating than "The Wailing and the Gnashing . . ." but that does not mean it is any less difficult, especially given its length. BSW, of course, is known for pushing against expectations of metal music, particularly within the genres of doom and sludge. For the most part, this boundary-pushing succeeds at exposing potential limits, perhaps even known clichés, but there's something so harsh about everything that the music occasionally lapses into what I can only call sludge.

Listening to this album reminds me of walking in water, moving against the strong current, and hoping that my heavy-feeling legs will actually carry me forward. I don't mean this as negatively as it may sound. There's something triumphant about walking against a difficult force. Still, I don't have to enjoy it. Fans of BSW should check out "Metallica" first and then go backwards, skipping "The Wailing and the Gnashing . . ." unless they want to experience both of those things at the same time.

Track Listing:
1. The Wailing and the Gnashing . . .
2. Tetsuo The Dead Man
3. White Pig
4. Metallica

Added: April 7th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 1645
Language: english

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