Saturday, November 10, 2012

we mean nothing. - Slaves BC - 2012

"Dude, is this Christian?"

I don't know, friend. And, furthermore, I don't care (a fine write-up at Valley of Steel ponders much of the same and I appreciate the band's ambiguity here). I realize that if it is, at least in a proactive, proselytizing sense, I've essentially rendered its purpose moot. Perhaps it'll seep in subliminally. I suppose it's only fair and balanced, then, given the amount of straight-up pro-Satan material that feeds through my speakers daily.

But, again, I don't know. Regardless of the faith - or lack thereof - anyone claims, metal owes a heck of a lot to the heavy and heady Book of Revelation and it is from this source that Pittsburgh's own Slaves BC seem to find plenty of inspiration.  I have no complaints. The finest metal is apocalyptic and we mean nothing. does its damnedest to shake open a seal or two across its twelve ferocious minutes.

I've been enjoying the music of Slaves BC since downloading their This World Shall Pass Away demo in August but it's we mean nothing. that really seems to serve as a proper announcement of "we're here." "Everything is Meaningless" rages out of the gate and, by its first tonal shift just twelve seconds in, hooks the listener into an inescapably deep groove. Slaves BC seem to have been captured perfectly on this recording as it's incredibly difficult to define any one element as dominant or - alternatively - underrepresented. The rhythm section remains distinct, simultaneously anchoring and propelling the behemoth, guitars are as thick and sharp as shards of a broken bottle and vocals both ragged and piercing.

"Everything Under the Sun" is, hands down, one of the top ten individual tracks I've heard all year. Conviction and desperation coexist throughout, maintaining an incredibly uneasy tension heralded by a bassline constructed solely of raw nerve and crumbling bone. Waves of guitar batter both vocalist and listener throughout as snares punctuate the proceedings like a spasmodic EKG telegraphing d o o m and nothing more.

Eight minutes in and with a track yet to go, we mean nothing. is exhausting. "Armageddon," a title ripe for epic status if ever there was one, is instead brief at under four minutes and delivers its basic "your time has come" message in a direct, succinct and raging manner (and with some of the record's most interesting drumwork across its first minute). It is here that Slaves BC show themselves to be excellent editors in the realization that a statement need not be lengthy to be successful. we mean nothing. delivers a punch so very heavy that any excess would be unnecessarily brutal. Devastation, perhaps, on a biblical scale.

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