While the Labour party and whatever passes for the Left in the UK rips itself apart like a rabid autophagous simile, I thought it would only be right if I asked tomorrow’s four Labour leadership contenders if they’d like to guest review this month’s albums.
After all, it would be topical. But it would also be, and I quote, ‘amazeballs edgy, guys!’, allowing us to move one step further to Vice‘s bowls-full-of-cocaine success, or at least afford a sherbet dip we can all share.
Sadly, three of the candidates were not having it. Liz Kendall only has ears for the whimpers of dying souls and the harsh cawing of ravens on a desolate battlefield. Yvette Cooper really only goes for musical theatre’s finest anthems, such that old classic, ‘Tomorrow Belongs To Me (Once We’ve Stitched Up The Vote).’ Andy Burnham’s puppeteers were on a tea break, and in any case, he’d probably just agree with what Jeremy Corbyn said a week later. Which left me with only that self-same Jeremy Corbyn. Would he agree to do it?
“Of course I will!” the fell necromancer of Old Labour declared, whilst throwing a basket of kittens into an industrial shredder in the name of Hamas and Communism.
“Well”, I replied. You can start with High Country, the latest disc by Texan druggists The Sword.”
“OK”, the evil one said. “I found this one to be their most accomplished offering yet. It’s spaced out, laid back and laconically cosmic, and all enjoyably measured and even in quality, unlike some of their previous work. I just hope you don’t mind lots of instrumentals, because there are a lot of them.”
There was a pause in the reviewing as Corbyn then proceeded to turn all our children into lesbians in burkhas. “Are you quite done?” I said.
“Almost”, he replied, as he brought down the UK economy by deporting all bankers to the countryside for re-education. “Shall we proceed?”
Onwards, then, to Cattle Decapitation ’s cheeky new number, The Anthropocene Extinction. “Oh, I’ll be working on the real thing with Len McKluskey and some Venezuelans next week”, Corbyn The Desecrator quipped, before giving his insider’s view on the music contained within.
“It’s consistently entertaining deathgrind with metalcore influences which doesn’t lose the structure and character of each song in a morass of screaming chaos. Each track is written like it matters. All in all, it’s suitably heavy and brutal with varied use of clean vocals and some serious riffage at points, especially with track eight, “Mutual Assured Destruction.”
Time was getting on, so while Corbyn was bathing in the tears of Middle England while simultaneously petrol-bombing a synagogue, I chose for him for him to review next.
“I hope this doesn’t take too long…” the bearded red menace said, brutally purging several dozen Blairite MPs for failing to meet this month’s tractor factory production target. “Oh, it won’t”, I lied….
After all, the thing about Ahab’s music is that you can halt listening for a minute, take a phone call, and then re-join the party, as it were, and not miss too much. Slow, yes. But also crushingly heavy and epic, the band’s early frottering against the graven idol of funereal doom now given way to a sort of prog doom amalgam, though no less the worse for it. As a William Hope Hodgson fan, I was also more than happy to hear a whole album dedicated to his dark, aquatic tales….
“You’ve just reviewed it for me”, the Crimson Spectre of Electoral Suicide growled. “You dirty mung-encrusted bourgeois badger-fucker! Would you like a sandwich?”
Sadly, I then had to prize the Direst Threat Known to ABC1 voters since the slaughter of the Kulaks away from Gerry Adams, whom he was snogging frenziedly, to proceed onto the next disc.
“Here’s the eponymous debut EP by Merry Mexican doomsters Matalobos” I said. “They’re sort of near to the socialist workers’ paradise of Cuba, geographically speaking, so surely it’s up your street?”
“OK, OK…” he sighed. “I was going to convert this grammar school into a memorial garden for Argentinian single parents who died during the Falklands War from Thatcherism and AIDS, but a promise is a promise….
“Anyway, it’s very heavy and given to the wide sweep of modern doom, but keeps missing the peaks and so leaves the listener feeling rather unfulfilled despite the promise demonstrated throughout. Still, they’ve got something to build on – like, for example, a tractor factory.”
And what about USBM-ers Windfaerer and their concept album Tenebrosum?
“Well, it’s all very avant garde and black metal in a folk-influenced sort of way, and it certainly knows how to sound innovative and high concept, but a bit like Matabalos’ album, it’s a party the listener has not been invited to, so to speak, so it isn’t really that fun to listen to, though is certainly accomplished in its songwriting and production.”
Finally, I managed to trace Corbyn to his rally that night; a lurid, salacious orgy where hordes of naked, greased followers debased themselves before Corbyn’s secret love picture of Vladimir Putin, while cult acolytes further titillated the slobbering masses with free Mickey Mouse Degrees in Ethical Vole Grooming Studies.
“Before you signal the End Times…” I demurred, “could you at least tell me what you thought of Legion of Andromeda’s new album, Iron Scorn?
“Anything for a comrade!”, Corbyn declared, as he forced the Queen to watch as he buggered one of her corgis….
His ruggedly handsome yet eerily Lenin-like features creased in surprise. “Fucking hell, this is the shit!” he said, using salty language you’d probably expect from someone who looks a bit like a sailor. “It’s stripped down, primal and utterly, utterly unrelenting. The closest comparison is to Mortician (and where, pray tell, have you fucked off to, Will and Roger?), but this is tidier and more focussed, invoking black metal and industrial, as well as death, its tempo crushing forward like a chainsaw murderer going for a stroll. It’s brutal and disturbing, yet catchy and utterly, and utterly hypnotic as its simple yet focussed compositions set fire to your cat and run over your granny. Album of the month, no less!”
….And with that, Corbyn tore away his skin, revealing the bloated (but still handsomely bearded) Genestealer Patriarch underneath. Hurling its head back it issued forth a long, ululating shriek that pierced the ears, punched into the heavens and through the Warp, and summoned Hivefleet Political-Correctness-Gone-MAAAAAD, which would soon arrive to devour the world and all upon it, but not before giving all benefit cheats a six-bedroom house and inviting hordes of swarthy Romanians and Yazidis to move in and eat our swans.
“Oh well”, I thought, as the purestrain Genestealer entryists emerged from the shadows, were immediately barred from voting, and then ripped apart the screaming worshippers. “At least he’ll re-nationalise the railways, or something.”
Jeremy Corbyn photo by Garry Knight CC BY 2.0
Alexander Hay is a writer and polemicist based online and in print.