This is an At a Loss band, plain and simple: Sonically devastating, musically challenging, and NEUROSIS-like in its brain damaging application. Weighty as a herd of elephants and flying just beneath the radar of the average heavy music fan, "Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive" is the antithesis of arena rock and the arch enemy of mall kids everywhere. And then there's all that noise and yelling. When it comes to Chicago metal (the good stuff anyway), keeping quiet or calming down are not options. Earth moving equipment and obese bass rumblings are primary ingredients, regardless of whether it's USURPER, LAIR OF THE MINOTAUR, or in many respects PELICAN (without the vocals of course). In the case of the latter two monoliths, as well as MINSK, it's Sanford Parker that plays a pivotal role in sending leaden-shoed victims to the bottom of the river. In addition to his production/engineering/mastering duties, Parker joins Tony Wyioming, Chris Bennett, Tim Mead, and Dustin Addis in assembling this epic 65-minute affair designed as musical accompaniment for cave dwellers and torch carriers. [The current lineup consists of Bennett, Parker, Mead, and Anthony Couri].It is in fact the City of Minsk, Belarus that the band has latched onto for lyrical and musical inspiration. Considering the dense soundscapes and cold dirge riffing, the region's vibe is well represented here. Death-march tempos on tracks that average around 10 minutes each are made colossal through the use of mesmerizing tribal drumming. Combined with the bass churn and thick riff drone, a variety of sound effects (even a saxophone on "Wisp of Tow", courtesy of Bruce Lamont) results in a psychedelic journey through battle-worn cities. Rays of light do shine through on occasion, but these trips are usually taken at night. "Out of a Center Which is Neither Dead Nor Alive" does not work as one of five albums played on shuffle mode in a five-disc rotation. A certain mind-set is required. Once settled into a groove, the experience is a moving one, made more stimulating through a pair of headphones. A chemically altered state is not a requirement, but may prove beneficial for some listeners.
To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appears next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).