Sunday, November 6, 2016

Vinyl Review: "The Face of Collapse" by Dazzling Killmen

Face of Collapse
Welcome to the vinyl review column. As described here, these reviews are special because the music is heard as the way Jimi, Bonzo, and Jack Bruce intended.

Straight from the glorious grooves on wax platters as pierced by a needle.

It's only fitting that the first Vinyl Review start off with a band and a label from St. Louis, Missouri, or thereabouts.

About 24 years ago, I went to my first two concerts in the span of three days. The first was Iron Maiden, Testament, and Corrosion of Conformity and the second was Agnostic Front being supported by local act, Crucible.

For a scant $14, I walked out of Metal's Edge with both a cassette tape and a t-shirt from Crucible. It was my introduction to a wider world of music. That was the day I learned that independent music could exist, along with the idea that people from St. Louis could also make music.

Dazzling Killmen
One year after all of this took place, Dazzling Killmen put out their sophomore LP on Skin Graft Records, The Face of Collapse and now 23 years later, we are treated to a deluxe release of this groundbreaking album.

The standard 33 RPM album is housed along side a second disc with a 45 RPM side three featuring a trio of bonus tracks and a fourth "side" with silk screened artwork.

The press release and hype sticker ask the question: What are Dazzling Killmen?

In this day and age, they would be cast as avant-garde metal and frankly I've heard at least another thirty albums in this vein.

Now, had this album been recorded six months ago, that would be a slam against it, but being as this album was recorded twenty five years ago, it speaks to the trailblazing effort of this band and this record.

In 1993, there was no such thing as avant-garde music in America, unless we're counting GWAR, and even then the music itself was pretty straight forward metal.

As my man, Randy the Astonishing, said have you ever thought about being weird for a living?

In the early to mid nineties, nary an unkind thought was given to a band's stage presence, getup, or shtick. Around this same time, we had Green Jello, GWAR, and Kiss (in their street phase) roaming the earth. These three acts had two things in common:

1. Strange Stage costumes.
2. Standard songs.

Why was it ok to appear different, but sound fairly standard?

Quality Deluxe Re-issue
That's where Dazzling Killmen come in. The back of the jacket lists several tracks, but this is not the kind of record that's going to sit well when a track comes up on shuffle.

This is another reason this album is a throwback. This isn't just a collection of songs but it's a work of music in several movements.

These songs are best heard as recorded, front to back. Instead of several short stories, this is a single novel, though it's quite insane.

There are segments of lucidity interspersed with pounding rhythms punctuated by primal screams, but The Face of Collapse walks us right up to the precipice of disaster.

Sit down and listen to this entire album. You'll feel better for having done it.

This vinyl sounds spectacular. All of the tracks are lush and vibrant. Sadly, as this is being done later in the evening than I'd like, we are listening to it a bit more quietly than is appropriate, but rest assured, this will get a second, louder spin.

The packing is quite spectacular. There is a wonderful post-mortem on this album. Instead of just telling you about it, why not experience it as I did.

Check out the unboxing video below, but please note, I's a comic book, not a coloring book, but if you buy the record, it can be whatever you want it to be.

Am I right?

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