Monday, 6 September 2010
If music be the food of love, put that piano in batter #3
Calhoun Conquer. Anyone else remember them? No? Just me then? Ahhh, you kids. You don't know what you're missing.
I guess that, in hindsight, these guys pretty much had 'future cult oddity' written all over them. Swiss. Only released one LP, back in 1989, on a record label that only ever put out 28 records, then mysteeeeeeeriously vanished. Featured a member of famously evasive tech-metal gods Mekong Delta. Never played outside of their home country. Covered a Jerry Harrison song AND a Husker Du song on an ostensibly 'metal' record. Got a great review in Metal Forces.
Shoulda seen the writing on the wall really, shouldn't we?
The mainmen behind the band were the brothers Gerling - vocalist Geri Christian and bassist/drum programmer Stefan, ably assisted by Mekong Delta/Poltergeist drummer Peter Haas and guitarist Chris Muzik. The above video is for their cover of Talking Heads guitarist Jerry Harrison's 'Worlds in Collision', an odd choice of cover from a progressive crossover thrash band, but one that works incredibly well in conjunction with the other less-than-usual tracks on their singular full-length recording, 'Lost In Oneself'. Seriously, there are some odd songs on here, such as the indefinably strange 'Torturer', the deeply psychedelic 'Portals Of Delirium' and the surging drone of 'Outermost Consequences'....and then there are the lyrics.
I'll quote from 'Torturer', if I may -
'Dead Ashlars, petrified air, forceps are lying in wait. Screaming Ashlars, panting walls, ropes tighten and rip. Agony is sticking at the walls and the earth is discharging pus. The fire is asleep and the hours creep by, then he stands in the doorway. Agony is coming down the walls and lowers on everything. Hell stares out through every crack, the chamber of torture is starting to breathe.
The illusion man breaks through his hand. What remains is a screaming animal. The superl of his movements creates infinite fear. The illusion man breaks through his hand. What remains is a screaming animal. His desire is inexhaustible. His desire is inexhaustible'
....I'm sorry, what?!?!
As the song progresses we learn that the 'Torturer' in question is God, and the man in the song wishes to trade places with him for 2 years. Does this not strike you as very odd subject matter for a thrash metal band?!?!
But, you see, THAT is why I love them. I've always been attracted to the oddball bands, the rampant individualists. I don't like the 'cult (or KVLT) for the sake of being cult' shtick, I like the bands that just came out that way. Voivod, Calhoun Conquer, Anacrusis, Watchtower, Ved Buens Ende. I like HONESTY in my music, and those guys are as honest as it comes because they just can't HELP it.
Enough blather, here's more WEIRD METAL.
I mean, to ME, that sounds like old Suicidal Tendencies on Mars. In a GOOD way.
Aaaaanyhoo. Geri and Stefan have an official Calhoun Conquer MySpace page here, and they DID have a 'real' website, but it hasn't been running for a while. According to Geri, there is a whole unreleased second full-length in the can - tracks from which HAVE turned up on their MySpace and bode incredibly well for the quality of said record, but as of yet there has been NO sign of it.
They also cover King Crimson's 'Neal And Jack And Me', and do it VERY well indeed. If you are at all interested, there is also an EP called 'And Now You're Gone' that came out before 'Lost In Oneself', on vinyl only, which can be tracked down without too much tearing out of hair (which is more than can be said for 'Lost In Oneself!)'. I have a copy, but, alas, no decent digital version to put up here.
So, without further ado, here is 'Lost In Oneself' by Calhoun Conquer for your listening pleasure. Quaff heartily of its strange brew and enjoy.