Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Blind Buy Surprise Albums: (Dis)Honorable Mentions

I recently did a series of albums that I picked up blindly that were huge successes. Those albums became some of my favorites and I had no idea what I was getting myself into by getting them. Well, sometimes things don't work out that way. Every once in awhile, I will buy an album with some level of expectation that then goes horribly, horribly awry. This post will look at two of those collossal mistakes.

When I used to listen to a lot of styles of hard rock (for the last several years I have been limited to metal) I would occasionally buy an album that was for the most part pretty wretched. Particularly in the nu-metal subgenre. Since I have been exclusively into metal for a few years, there have not been too many blind buy mistakes. There has been one, one in which I thought I knew what to expect but was very wrong. Early on, there was one other one which I will address as it is related to the metal genre. Prior to that though, there were several others, bands I just don't listen to anymore so I won't cover them.

These are the metal blind buys that did not work out:

TIAMAT: A DEEPER KIND OF SLUMBERI did discuss this album early on in the formation of this blog. I owned an album by Tiamat that I got in a Century Media Grab Bag and I was spellbound by the dark atmospheric death metal of that album. I was vaguely aware that Tiamat did not really sound like that for much longer, but went in a gothic direction. However, I did not know how far they had fallen.

One day, I was in Hastings Bookstore in Kearney, Nebraska after a final divorce hearing. I was there to pick up new releases from Arch Enemy, Down, High on Fire, and Amorphis, and I also saw this reissue of the Tiamat album. Having enough cash to pick up five albums, I decided to grab it.

It wasn't until late that night that I started to listen to it. I was not pleased with what I heard. There was not an ounce of metal on the entire album. The whole thing was some ethereal dreamlike sonicscape. Gone were the dark atmospherics of the other Tiamat I knew and the harsh vocals and the crushing, malevolent riffs. In their place were just long, meandering melodies and soft vocals. I couldn't listen to a single song without falling asleep. I should say, the first song isn't terrible, but it's not any different from the bland bullshit put out by H.I.M.

The next time I was in Kearney (which was that weekend to visit my brother), I took the CD back and exchanged it for Immolation's Failures for Gods. Recently, I downloaded it to listen to it fully and see if it was as bad as I remembered. It is.

TRIBES OF NEUROT & WALKING TIME BOMBS: STATIC MIGRATIONI don't remember what the hell my thought process was in picking this thing up. I remember being in high school and going to Best Buy with a friend. We were browsing CDs just to kill some time. I remember picking up a couple of CDs, trying to find something new. I do remember having a Kyuss CD in my hand at one point. But then I saw this and realized it was on the same label as Amorphis, a band I had only recently become interested in. It also stated that it was a side project of Neurosis, a band I had heard of and knew were part of the metal/hard rock scene. So, I picked it up and bought it. Huge mistake.

It wasn't until the ride back from dropping the friend off that I listened to it, and there was NOTHING THERE. There was no music. It was just noise. Ambient albums do not interest me in the slightest. I just don't understand them. This album is no exception. It's apparently meant to be played at the same time as one of Neurosis's albums, but I can't imagine how and I don't care, quite frankly. To make matters even more confusing, Walking Time Bombs is apparently Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed. How did Neurosis and a member of Pig Destroyer get together to form something so awful?! This album is single-handedly the reason I have not checked out Neurosis or anything by Scott Hull. Plus, it's fucking 75 minutes long!

True testament to how bad this album is: when I was in college, my car was broken into and a lot of my CDs, my stereo, my backpack with my expensive new calculator, my tape player, and a lot of other stuff were stolen. I was out over $1,000.00 worth of stuff. A few weeks later, my backpack was found outside a college dorm and I was contacted to pick it up. All my school papers and books were there, so was my tape player thankfully, as well as some random stuff, including this CD. That's right, not even the assholes who broke into my car to steal a bunch of CDs wanted this one. Not even to sell.

The worst part about this post was actually listening to these albums once more, just to "inspire" me to write about them.


  1. I suppose you need to get 2 CD players and pause them both at the start of track 1, then press play simultaneously. Or perhaps play one on the computer and the other on CD. It's kind of a nifty gimmick, but to buy a whole CD just to enhance another one is kind of expensive. If it had been packed in with the other as a 2 CD set, that would have made more sense.

    Honestly, I doubt more than a couple dozen people have even tried to listen to them together. A better way to do it would have been to just sell a copy with the ambient noise in the background as a special edition or something. That would have gotten a lot less attention as a gimmick, though, and I think that was the real point behind it.

    As for Tiamat, I got Wildhoney several years back. At the time, I was finding new music almost exclusively by reading reviews from Allmusic. They were so full of praise for it that I got it. But then I listened to it, and I didn't get it. I don't understand it at all. Or, at least I didn't at the time, but I don't see myself giving it a second chance any time soon.

  2. Their early stuff is impressive, in particular The Astral Sleep and Sumerian Cry. Wildhoney is definitely where they started to lose it in my eyes.