|December 28, 2011 - "Alpha-Beta" review on Death Metal Baboon
Site: Death Metal Baboon
Date: December 28th 2011
In August, a Canadian band named Krokmitën released a 46-minute album they had worked on since 2005. Though a long time to cover just one record, it isn’t abnormal and wouldn’t have dropped my jaw. What did is the fact that this album is really just one ”song” and actually more than that. Because in addition to 46 minutes of Old-school-type Experimental Death Metal, the album features professionally made but freaky-as-fuck animations alongside.
Alpha-Beta is like an experience, I found, similar to a movie or play, even so when just listening to the music without the animations. In fact, that’s how I listened to the release the first four or five times and I can tell you that it’ll still achieve that effect that way.
We’ve got the full 46-minute bloodsucker streaming down below – in four pieces, because it’s too lengthy for YouTube – but you can also go to the band’s home page to download the full thing freely and legally.
Before we head into music however, first a bit about the band. Krokmitën is a three-piece from Montréal, Canada and originally formed in 1991. Their name is a Cajun phonetic spelling of the French word ”croquet-mitaine”, which loosely translates to ”boogeyman”. After a few years of local work, the band was put on hold so the members could concentrate on their respective careers. Ten years later, in 2005, the group reformed and started work on Alpha-Beta.
Alpha-Beta is self-released and purposely so. This wasn’t a matter of being unable to find a label to work with. Instead, guitarist and vocalist Simlev explains: “As the music industry struggles, it was out of question from the start to approach a label with this project. They’ve fucked with people for so long, they pretty much get what they deserve. So we’ve decided to produce it ourselves and take the independant route. Releasing it for free is very important to us.” (That doesn’t mean you can’t pay for a physical copy if you want to though, just go to above mentioned home page.)
Anyfuck, the music. Alpha-Beta is the album, the song, the concept, the experience. It’s intended to be listened to in one go and that’s exactly what I’ve done several times over the past few days. Initially it was a bit of a hard nut to crack. Not that it’s so incredibly brutal or acid, but because it’s rather psychedelic. In fact, it’s bat shit crazy. Something you need to learn to understand.
Eventually Alpha-Beta started to make sense and uncover its virtues and intelligent content. There are many different elements, from electronic atmospherics to symphonics to no-nonsense crunching riffage to Sludge-like moments of bad tripping. Over the course of 46 minutes the album offers an incredibly range of moods, settings and images, inducing streams, maelstroms of uncontrolled thoughts. Today I found out that the animations that are meant to be played alongside actually offer the perfect way to channel all that thought energy set loose.
It’ll make clear that Alpha-Beta is divided into a bunch of chapters, illogically numbered, and telling a story of a man. A story I couldn’t or wouldn’t reproduce here, but which you’ll just have to discover yourself.
Though superbly functioning on a holistic level, inevitably there are moments on the record where things tend to get a bit boring. Strangely enough these are not moments where the music calms down, but moments in which riffs pick up speed and aggression. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes they seem to get stuck in a frenzy without point or end and I lose focus.
In the end I think this might just be too much for most Metal fans. Separate from the fact that not each of the 46 minutes offers an equally interesting experience, having just one song also means that there’s no (convenient) way to skip those or replay the bits you dig more. That’s all part of the deal. If you’re one of those listeners after a quick thrill, a lot of repetition and catchiness, this is definitely not for you. Just do know that you’re missing something that’s conceptually unendingly strong.
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