Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Did you get around to Nux Vomica yet?:Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica (Relapse Records)

Nux Vomica: Nux Vomica (Relapse Records)
I kept hearing that Nux Vomica is hardcore or post-hardcore (whatever that means), or that they are something like experimental sludge, or that they sound like Neurosis or Today Is the Day and other such bands.
For a simpleton like me, all of the above descriptions basically tell me, “That’s what the hipster tree-hugging ‘post-rock’ people are into.”; and I am not skilled to talk about such superduper latest hip music of the flannel-wearing smarrte kolege rich kids with dreadlocks and those rainbow-colored beanies. (If you don’t wear Immolation, Marduk and Saxon shirts, and pentagrams, spikes, inverted crosses and bullletbelts, how is this grandma supposed to figure out who are you, kids?)
I guess all the ‘post’ talk is kind of correct about Nux Vomica, but I don’t know. I’m not really qualified to talk about “post-hardcore” or “post-metal.”
Instead, I’ll tell you what I hear. This album is three songs: two last about 12 minutes, give or take a minute, and another is some 20 minutes. The moods and moments are many: rage; tree-hugging melancholy; doom; shoegaze; headbanging; angry-yet-melodic segments that you have to hear to feel; quiet moments of bass; bass rumblings; minimalistic ambient-like landscapes, to name some ideas that come to mind. When I was first listening to this album, I found myself double checking that it was the same band and that it wasn’t that somehow I had been listening to this band and moved on to a different band and forgot to check. So, yes, it is pretty eclectic, with the bass-rumbly melodic, crusty doom framework; more melodic than you would expect.
No set style per se: it’s all in here: gremlin-like shrieking that is just as much crust punk screaming; double-bass drumming speed, thrashing speeds, vibes that could be called avantgarde incursions or could be experimental crust projections of doom or post-punk ruminations, if you will. I would assume that this band could not care less, just could not even give a shrug of the shoulders if you call the music this or that genre. They might just say, “Ok, whatever you say. If you like it, great!” (Or, they might just give you a smirk, depending on whether they are nice or super arrogant elitist wealthy artists too busy to talk with the little people, like you and me.)
More and more, bands based in Portland, Oregon seem to be getting their names out there. I have enjoyed the sounds of funeral doomsters Ephemeros and the grind of Honduran, for instance. I wonder which of the crop of bands from Portland will start to experience national and international success. It could be that some Europeans will go absolutely bonkers when they hear Nux Vomica. I would think that Nux Vomica should be in the mix of the “Portland scene” or “Portland sound” or “Portland” this or that, that soon might take over.
One more thing: the band will not like what I am about to do, but I’ll do it just the same. Perception is personal. The album’s track list could be divided up differently just as easily. For example, the almost-20-minute song “Choked at the Roots” could be:
00:00-03:23 (mellow spacey, bassy part);
03:24-10:42 (faster, uptempo);
10:43-14:38 (ambient-ish, space rock-ish);
14:39-19:48 (melodic, crust)
See what I did there? I just mutilated the band’s epic song. Shhhhhh! Don’t tell them that I did this. Hate mail might be on the way. Anyway, give this album a chance. I did it and found out that Nux Vomica rocks. Something is going on in Portland. Keep Portland weird.
PS: FYI, according to the interweb: nux vomica is a plant and is an important source of extremely poisonous strychnine used to kill certain animals, like rodents. (Wait. What? Did they just now insult their listeners by calling them rats? Is that what happened just now, right now? These Portland people are too smarrte for their own good.)

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