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Weakling - Dead As Dreams CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.39 | 30 ratings

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5 stars Dead as Dreams didn't make much impact when it was first recorded (it wasn't even released for another two years), but over time it's become perhaps the most influential black metal album ever to emerge from the United States. The innovations of the album, from the lengthy songs to the shoegaze-like layered guitar sound to the post-rock-influenced song structures, can be felt all over the black metal scene these days, for better or for worse, and the album itself has become justifiably recognised as a classic (even Fenriz of Darkthrone has proclaimed it as a masterpiece).

Progressive rock-oriented listeners need to understand what they're getting into here. This is unmistakably a black metal album, with tortured vocals reminiscent of Burzum, plenty of blast beat-driven drumming, and the trademark tremolo picking of black metal all over the album. Weakling have clearly listened obsessively to and absorbed the material of Norwegian bands like Darkthrone and Emperor, and the music definitely has a cold Scandinavian feel to it. But somehow, at the same time and seemingly impossibly, there's also a warmth to it that some of these bands lack, and they've taken the scope of these bands' material and increased it. The long song lengths, while they could be a recipe for boredom in the wrong hands, actually work in the band's favour: they know just how long to repeat a riff for it to become hypnotic without becoming boring, and each song is comprised of the multiple interlocking sections that one would expect from a progressive rock album.

This is not an easy listen by any means, but it rewards repeated listening and contains some of the finest songwriting to be found on any black metal release from any country. The fact that so many bands have imitated it, either consciously or unconsciously, makes it essential listening for anyone interested in black metal. It's difficult to imagine bands like Krallice or Wolves in the Throne Room emerging from the United States without this album, but Europeans like Negură Bunget and Alcest arguably owe just as much to Weakling. But this album is important for reasons well beyond its historical importance. It's a spellbinding listen in its own right and manages, despite its seventy-six-minute running time and five lengthy tracks, never to get boring. Essential listening for anyone remotely interested in black metal.

CassandraLeo | 5/5 |


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