Review Summary: Fuck Iluvatar
There really is quite a bit of dust in my room. My roommate had tried to convince me of this some time ago, but I didn’t believe him. But now as the sunlight seeps through the windows it’s becoming so much clearer. Dead skin and hair still dances when it’s dead. I’m surveying the room now, looking for the source. I don’t care so much about cleaning up the mess, and thus making my living space cleaner as much as I don’t want to be blamed for it. My roommate’s clothes litter the floor and a rather large collection of empty bottles and beer cans line his desk. I’ve got a stack of somewhat dirty clothes that I plan to wear at least once more before putting them through the wash. I can tell that my stack is a significant source of the dust, but it’s somewhat organized and not very noticeable when compared to my roommate’s scene, so I think I should be absolved from all blame.
Like Moss Icon, my contribution to the room went completely unnoticed until well after the fact. Although Moss Icon recorded their opus, Lyburnum
in 1991, it wasn’t released until 1994. It danced in obscurity until scene enthusiasts became aware of its existence and decide to talk it up as one of the cornerstones of the early 90s emo movement. However, to pigeonhole Lyburnum
to one genre is a severe injustice. Moss Icon meld and mix a number of influences and sounds into each track. The album progresses from the straight-up punk of “Mirror” to the epic, psychedelic-infused stoner jam that is “Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly”
The only way to truly define Lyburnum
is as absurd. The guitar is absolutely drenched in distortion, the bass chugs along, and the drums pound in a fashion that would not be out of place in your standard stoner/doom/sludge/whatever track; however, it is all more or less offset by Jonathan Vance’s half-shouted, half-spoken word vocals. Vance presents his lyrics like an impassioned preacher delivering a powerful sermon, which is only made more bizarre considering the band’s intense contempt for religion, as evidenced by the band’s name, the album name (Lyburnum being a reference to a fictional god created by the band), and the lyrics to the eleven minute and a half minute epic “Lyburnum Wits End Liberation Fly”: “To lose a young life in these trying times is truly not an unheard of thing/Ah, but the false truth and always lie of a dead God will surely take out some of the sting”
. The song feigns climax two or three times before finally arriving at a catharsis rivaled by few in the genre, whatever that may be.
Inspired by social seclusion and contempt for everything related to religion, Lyburnum
is a required listen for any teenage punk. It’s influence can be heard in an endless supply of bands today from Aaron Weiss’s vocals to the powerful distortion that dominates Young Widows, and the brash politics that inspire a deal of young bands today. Regardless of whether these bands have actually been inspired at all by Moss Icon or not, the fact remains that Lyburnum
still stands today as one of the weirdest fucking
albums of all-time.