Review Summary: John Zorn wears glasses. What a fucking geek.
Can you imagine yourself, twenty-six years down the road, doing the same thing you've been doing all of your life?
John Zorn beat you to it, instead with game pieces, hardcore miniatures, film music, and a slew of other projects that incorporate his unique style of composition and delivery. His most recent, Six Litanies for Heliogabalus
, continues the tradition of destroying tradition, something in which Zorn and his peers shamelessly revel. Joined by musicians such as Mike Patton and Ikue Mori, Zorn pieces together a wonderfully heavy record with dynamic variety, something that even his music has occasionally been guilty of lacking in the past.
In order to grasp some of what is going on, the listener should know that Six Litanies for Heliogabalus
is thematically based on the Roman Emperor of the same name, known for his eccentricities and decadence. When considering the term litany, meaning prayer, it becomes obvious that the pieces contained within are all dedications to the curious man who was eventually murdered because of his overbearing leadership. This is an album of chaos and cross-dressing.
If you happen to be watching this go through your digestive track, you may notice how Astronome
is sort of stuck there, blocking your poop shoot. Don't worry; stuff like this zooms right through in comparison.
Right from the start this becomes apparent, as "Litany I" bursts in with a menacing, heavily distorted bass riff and Mike Patton's familiar squeals, howls, shrieks, and whatever else he's capable of doing. The band drops out several times to allow the listener to breathe, only to burst right back into heavy mode. "Litany III", running at a brisk ten minutes, follows this same sort of pattern; various tempo shifts and sheets of cacophonous saxophone morph back into sinister ambiance and a trio of female singers. Rocking out with the most consistency however is "Litany V"; imagine a moshpit full of grindcore mathematicians enjoying fellatio from Yamatsuka Eye.
Just in case you weren't aware of Patton's rather amusing vocal prowess, he has an eight minute solo, "Litany IV". With sounds ranging from panting to possessed tongues, gagging to high-pitched shrieks and weirdo scat-singing, there is enough diversity and range present to keep anyone with an attention span or Boredoms fetish interested. When testing out a new stereo, Six Litanies for Heliogabalus
is particularly recommended. Your neighbors will absolutely adore these Sinatra laments, like In the Wee Small Hours
for the mentally handicapped.