Review Summary: An ode to the forgotten Phantom Zone and its inhabitants, the outlaws of Krypton. Rock on.If it's true that our species is alone in the universe, then I'd have to say that the universe aimed rather low and settled for very little.
- George Carlin
Meyhna’ch (or Willy Roussel, both very metal names) doesn’t make it very easy to even pity him, though it’s tempting. Shown strewn upon a wheelchair in the grimy black-and-white cover for the poorly titled Grimly Reborn
under his band name Mutiilation, it’s as if we’re supposed to nod and accept the music he threw together, maybe even find ourselves impressed and in awe of what one man can do with such a diminishing condition. And what a ruse it is (Meyhna’ch was in the wheelchair for a short amount of time due to drug abuse), one that divides fans and onlookers right down the middle; even just passing listeners seem confused by what exactly they’re listening to and if they should take it as the intended cathartic experience it is or at face value. Neither ever come off fulfilling.
And so eight years after the eponymous and slightly infamous Remains of a Ruined, Dead, Cursed Soul
, six years after he was “reborn” and following two more full-length albums, Mutiilation is back and poised with Sorrow Galaxies
. What coulda [woulda shoulda] been his defining work, a concrete step in the right direction that maybe solidified some of the extraneous praise he got from rabid fans, is what you’d expect from an album by Mutiilation inspired by the stars: prolongued, epic, ironically space-y wankery. Credit is given where credit is due, and Sorrow Galaxies
at least sounds slightly tighter with the aid of a live drummer this time around, though he mistakenly finds influence in Meyhna’ch’s past programming instead of, you know, something organic.
The artwork, too, is pretty nifty, a spiraling black hole encompassing the album’s title. And that’s really all that can be said about Sorrow Galaxies
, an album so haphazardly cloaked in its space-inspired atmosphere that the album’s artwork might as well have been a pin-up for Meyhna’ch to place on the studio wall and gawk at while drawing whatever riff suddenly came to mind (and it read: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”). And therein lies the essence of Sorrow Galaxies
, a gritty test of crotch-grabbing riffing vs. apathetic boredom, both of which sedate the muddled production of “Acceptance of My Decay” into a repetitive, unnecessary 13-minute running time. From the off-kilter electronic strings that incoherently lead the album into its chaotic blastbeats, to the laughably ineffective final segment that features Meyhna’ch’s croaky, Satanic yowls and incantations, the song teeters between D-movie grade novelty quality to sheer ineptitude (check out the bloated middle section with its melodic carousel tempo!).
Most of what’s fun about the preposterously bad Sorrow Galaxies
is trapped within the timeframe of “Acceptance of My Decay” (irony can be sweet, sweet victory), but by then Sorrow Galaxies
has run thin well before even the quarter mark. “The Coffin of Lost Innocence” begins promisingly enough with the sort of melodic guitar slaying-blastbeat combo that is eventually hindered by Meyhna’ch’s throaty gurgle. All hope is lost after a brief (read: odd) piano junction that breaks into the repetitive stride the rest of the album adheres to. “Cesium Syndrome 86” plays its first five minutes as an unwavering guitar bash (while the blithering drummer stumbles over himself to catch up, both finding a completely different tempo) till a rather inspired subdued middle passage, ripe with appropriately creepy talking samples. It’s over too quick, giving Meyhna’ch free range to figure variation means dropping all instruments at odd intervals.
And so, even in light of its promising segments (however small they may be), Sorrow Galaxies
becomes a tepid, almost completely static affair. What is to note in “Cosmic Seeds of Anger & Dementia” but its unsettling, distorted sampled intro or its sparse use of prominent electric guitars to break up the otherwise unfaltering flow? At the end of the day, the album is full of emotion that doesn’t register (“Far beyond the cold distant void, the universe curls closing the spiral to absurd dimensions over the static of god's existence” might look cool on paper, but his lyrics are lost to its surroundings), full of ideas that don’t pan out, and full of atmosphere that is more dirt low than star high. Sorrow Galaxies
is just another case of aiming too low and settling for very, very little.