Mon 12th May 2008
So again, as it's taken a while for this review to get done (though only a few weeks this time), apologies to band, label and ninehertz etc. Fortunately for all concerned, however, with this release the delays are not caused by a lack of interest but rather the simple fact that when exactly do you ever find yourself with a spare hour and twenty minutes to sit down and devote your full attention to ONE SONG?!?!
Yep, that's right, for those not paying attention to recent Nekid Shizzle tomfoolery, 'The Legend Of The Hightown Crow' is a single track release clocking in at the extraordinary run time of 01h:19m:56s. Before you start leaping around the place throwing horns and screaming stupid slogans like "KVLT AS FUCK!!!" at the top of your lungs, however, I'd have to say that on closer inspection this isn't really the case. Unlike, for example, Shit And Shine's rather splendid forty five minute one-tracker 'Latitudes', this is actually several distinct sections carefully blended together (for the most part) into a cohesive-ish whole. The album in no way suffers for this but realistically speaking I'd have got this review done a whole lot quicker if there were a few track breaks so you could press stop without having to rearrange your entire diary to fit starting the whole cd again from the beginning in. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, who knows...
Anyway, what have the self-proclaimed 'Slowest Black Metal Band In The World' come up with this time then? Starting with a good ten minutes of random noise the CD then proceeds to move slowly through heavy drone sections, spoken word atmospheric passages, slightly daft near Tudor Metal (fortunately stopping well short of the depths of idiocy dredged by most of these sorts of bands), fairly standard modern Slow Doom and a healthy chunk of free form Sabbathed-up groovin' with god alone knows what else chucked in for good measure. What impresses me most in all of this though is that generally, these fairly disparate sections do all fit together well. Each one seguing nicely into the next without jarring unpleasantly except where the band realise that there's no real way to transition from one to another and therefore simply stop, pause for a second and then start again with the overall 'song' being carried along at a gentle and (more importantly) pretty much uninterrupted pace from start to finish.
Added to this clever handling of the bands love of diverse material is the overall feel of the song. Whilst the music itself may vary wildly from one passage to another the doleful, small town oppression, encapsulated so well in the spoken word sections where the Hound Of The Basquevilles-esque concept is explained, hangs lightly over the whole affair tying it together still further. Unlike so many bands that tread a similar path, however, this never becomes over powering. This isn't an album trying to make you depressed or make you think the band hates everyone on the planet, indeed at several points on this long and winding journey you'll find yourself feeling strangely uplifted by it all. Even in the noise sections this record never becomes boringly misanthropic purely to fit in and this is a move I applaud whole heartedly.
In the final analysis then I think I'd have to say that this album bears many similarities to this review really; overly long, often random in it's changes of tone and direction and perhaps at times more meandering than is strictly required but it gets the point across nicely if you've got the time for it and if not, then it really couldn't care less because it's happy with itself regardless. Naked Shit are one of those rare bands that honestly mean it when they say they couldn't give a toss whether you 'get it' or not. I mean, let's be frank here, you don't tend to write music like this for other people, do you?
That doesn't mean to say they won't enjoy it as much as you do anyway, mind...