Crimson Massacre - _The Luster of Pandemonium_
(Deathgasm Records, 2005)
by: T. DePalma (9 out of 10)
With all of its revolving door incarnations, Crimson Massacre seems to finally be composed of like-minded participants, and yet the anomie shared between them leads to such turbulent audacity that it nearly paralyzes the music's own effectiveness. For fifty minutes, _The Luster of Pandemonium_ teases at the threshold of incoherence through virtuous performances by James Jackson (guitar), Scott Horne (drums) and Peter Olen (vocals, putting in session time away from the peculiarly melodic Dark Faith). As each note crumbles under unyielding speed, and with little to no studio embellishment, Crimson Massacre's technical statement becomes defined far less by an arrogant grasp of their instruments than it does by contradiction; that its intricate and swollen structure, composed of both lucid counterpoint method with persuasive melody a la _With Fear I Kiss the Burning Darkness_ and fractal dissonance where sound is re-integrated like so much bad karma, feels like a war against music itself. Harmonics are strangled into being; rhythms are scaled and discarded or melted down into the next verse, there are no flashy arpeggios masquerading as riffs. Battery is the only solution from here to there.

Like fellow Texans Averse Sefira, Crimson Massacre evinces a Miltonian aesthetic of hell and the fallen angels, carried out through the lyrics, and consequently their treble roaring underworld production adding a molten hum to each track. An inelegant, mathcore-like reliance on discordance provokes a kind of numbness, but is not beyond grasp or memory either. In a sense it represents a stylish reclamation from the indie crop of musicians that decline to really acknowledge the genre; a place where Comity and Deicide meet and the former is mercilessly purged of its irony.

While composed of a shattered parlance, it does become less enigmatic through each listen, not quite relinquishing substance for petty flair and clinic. And there is nothing devoid of mood, even if that mood remains constantly inflamed. Well, almost. Bent as it appears on fist-fucking convention, _TLoP_ offers an eleven minute reprieve via an acoustic instrumental right in the middle of everything. It's hard to interpret the actual purpose of that, coming across as the most over-indulgent work in the whole set. Doleful, with almost heroic shades of wandering, it continues long after any (confined) utility. But while displaying a certain self-interest, none of this comes without truly capturing the essence of conflict. Fending off stasis with horns, it is impossible to abandon interest from each all but subtle puncture. In conquering each moment on record (and at times the band seems close to unraveling mid-song, left behind in their own zeal), Crimson Massacre have crossed the Rubicon with this polarizing but essentially definitive album.

Contact: chaossm@hotmail.com

(article published 17/10/2005)


CHATS
11/11/2005 T DePalma Crimson Massacre: Methods of the Abyss
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