Axver (axver) wrote,

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OK, I don't normally do those "meme" things that clutter too many LJs devoid of any substantial content. I don't think I've posted a quiz result since early 2004. But this one amused me just a little too much, so what the hell, here it is.

So, the instructions were:

Go to the Wikipedia home page and click random article. That is your band's name.
Click random article again; that is your album name.
Click random article 15 more times; those are the tracks on your album.
If you like, do a review.

Band name: Raven Crag

Album: Thaksin

1. High Speed Steel
2. Food Quality Protection Act
3. Arrondissement of La Flèche
4. Hueytown, Alabama
5. Distrito Federal
6. Marius Kloppers
7. Glæsisvellir
8. Kfar Tapuach
9. Black Carnation
10. Istrobanka
11. Ripley Wolves
12. Andean Wolf
13. Abundant Life Foundation
14. Helmut Schmidt
15. Stolnic

Review: Raven Crag's debut release, Thaksin (a Thai word for "south"), is easily one of the most geographically aware and politically and historically conscious albums ever released. It could not be clearer what the interests are of the band's lead guitarist and lyricist, André Axver. The music is complex, uncompromising, and rewards repeated listens. High Speed Steel lives up to its name; it is a furious and hard-hitting opener and powerfully leads into the anthemic Food Quality Protection Act, obviously inspired by Upton Sinclair's work The Jungle. The next three songs form a kind of bizarre trilogy, an examination of the conflicts between French, American, and Hispanic cultures - from freedom fries to patrolling the Mexican border. Axver lets the vitriol fly, and one suspects Raven Crag will never be allowed to set foot in Alabama, let alone play a gig there. Other political issues are tackled through the album, such as the legacy of Cold War politics in Helmut Schmidt and the complex matter of Israel's West Bank settlements in Kfar Tapuach, while Istrobanka takes a Slovakian bank as a starting point for a unique and scathing critique of neoliberal capitalism. Few listeners would have expected the unusual conclusion of Istrobanka: vocalist Vladimir Urasov begins reciting a passage from Friedrich Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, only to be cut off by Axver reciting from John Maynard Keynes, all while drummer Zinzan Weck plays a hypnotising beat over the top of bassist Methuselah Constantinople's thunderous rhythm.

While the thematic focus regularly changes, it is for a purpose. Axver is clearly disgusted at how ill-informed people are about their world. This is most strongly expressed in Glæsisvellir, a song co-written with avantgarde Norwegian metaller, Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg. Hellhammer replaces Weck on drums for this track about Norse mythology and shows his abundant skill by adjusting his playing to suit Raven Crag's atmospheric style while still providing his trademark intensity and technical complexity. It is a lament about cultural memory loss and is one of the pivotal pieces on the album. It helps to make sense of Axver's goal of establishing broader consciousness of world events, past and present, especially as it is more direct than some of the other tracks. For instance, the pair of wolf tracks, Ripley Wolves and Andean Wolf, are so obscure as to be almost impossible to interpret; only the intricate illustrations in the album booklet provide enough enlightenment to allow the reader to understand the political allegory Axver employs to examine authoritarian tendencies the length of the Americas. By far the most curious, inaccessible, and downright intriguing song is the memorable closer, Stolnic. The song's name is a reference to a rank of nobility in what is now Romania. All four band members sing, exchanging vocals as they recite, yes, an essay Axver once wrote on Romanian history. It's the height of intellectual pretension, but it works and leads into one of the most gut-wrenching solos you've ever heard. It sounds organic and effortless, but you can just bet that Axver and Urasov - who receive joint credits for the song's musical composition - spent about a week meticulously composing it via differential calculus. In fact, that could be said about the entire album. Recommended listening for the music fan whose bookshelf has an entire row of atlases.

That was peculiarly enjoyable. Now if only it really existed. I think a couple of people I know would be very rich if they got a dollar every time I said "if I had a band".
Tags: fiction, fun, internet, music

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