Sunday, August 22, 2010


I'm not a metal head. I'm not being coy, because I'll readily admit to listening to bands that are considered "Metal", and "heavy" is an adjective that will pique my interest in a review. But, ultimately, my aesthetics are different. I don't like guitar solos, I think that virtuoso musicianship is for those without real creativity. I think that 90 percent of metal records are mixed badly- I happen to like midrange, I happen to dislike compression and too many overdubs are worse than too few. I think there are few worse fashion statements than Metal clothing- probably the only thing worse would be Gothic fashion, and isn't that just a variation on Metal? You'll find my hair is usually short, and I'm not particularly fond of black. Also, the lyrics in most metal are terrible. I don't care about the adventures of Frodo, or the Devil. I like some science fiction and fantasy stuff, but in very, very small doses.
So, if I say I like a metal band, chances are good that many metalheads won't like it. About the only band I like that seems to be fully embraced by the metalheads would be Lamb of God, and even then, I basically like two releases by them.
I think Kruger will mark the second band that I like that metalheads will like as well. I've been listening to their last two records- Redemption Through Looseness and Death, Glory and The End of the World . The basic sound they operate on is about half-way between the complex math-metal of Meshuggah and Polydrone, and the sludge of Mastadon. So, that means it's not speedy, but it does have an off-kilter groove, like Pantera played on a turntable with a broken belt. The vocals are usually in the screeching bellow school (as opposed to the completely indecipherable death grunt) and the bass is upfront with the compressed marshalled guitars. Double bass drum abuse is featured just about every bridge, and palm muting is necessary to keep the riffs in time. So, what do I like about them? There is a kind of sideways propulsion to them- it's like surfing, where you skirt the main thrust of the wave, in order to redirect just enough power to keep you moving and upright. I draw just enough from the songs that I can feel some excitement and can appreciate the athletic beauty of some of the more melodic passages, and they've drawn off enough of the silliness that I can take such appreciation- no bullet belts, no melodramatic oaths of Fealty to their dark lord, no fetish-wear costumes, no twenty bar bridges so's the guitarist can complete his finger tapping exercises. Like Clutch, like Godflesh, like Queens of the Stone Age, like Kylesa,basically,Kruger play metal for a non-metalhead.

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