Xexyz - Primeval Mountain (Dipsomaniac Records CD-R)
For those who took offense at Ettrick appropriating the dark arts for their own personal benefit and monetary gain, have I got a record for you! Xexyz. Grim enough band name, grim enough album title, certainly grim enough album art - especially when you dig the pixellated laser printer job - but a quick trip to Google and you'll find out that the majority of the results returned for the word "Xexyz" are for Nintendo ROMs, websites, and the like. Wikipedia sez: "Xexyz is a video game by Hudson Soft for the Nintendo Entertainment System, first released in Japan on August 26, 1988 under the title Kame no Ongaeshi - Urashima Densetsu; it saw a North American release in March, 1990". Oh wait, what? No, it couldn't be...it is! The Nintendo theme/black metal crossover the world was holding its collective breath for! You have the NESkimos and the Minibosses for full-band NES covers, the Advantage for indie rock NES covers, HORSE the Band for hardcore NES covers and now Xexyz for black metal NES covers. Call it...NESBM! Personally I think it's great and can't wait for the doom metal NES covers to sprout up. Can you imagine a 20 minute version of the Legend of Zelda theme or something like that? I'm half-tempted to start my own band just for that purpose. Maybe I can hook up with Reverend J.R. Preston (if that is his real name, he uses an incredible array of pseudonyms), the lone soul behind Xexyz. You might - might - know him from his work in bands like Blood Cult, Tjolgtjar, Enbilulugugal, MMFHL, Raw Hatred, Burning Blood, Bloodwoods and Roadkill Sodomizer, among others I'm sure. In particular Enbilulugugal's "Noizemongers for GoatSerpent" is worth checking out as it is an undisputed classic of fucked up modern-day black metal/noise confusion (and boasts a song titled "Koldgrimm HellMasturbator", can't top that). Man is there nothing else better to do in Illinois than to create a whole bunch of black metal spinoff groups? I'm beginning to wonder, correct me if I'm wrong.
If you couldn't figure it out already, the plot is pretty simple. Whereas other black metal groups use keyboards or synthesizers, Xexyz lifts classic lines straight out of various Nintendo game and then structures an actual song around it. In fact the first track "Temple Above the Wood Hollow" sounds like your regular, lo-fi one-man black metal track until the two minute mark, when the track fades out an is replaced by a hideous/hilarious/awe-inspiring 8-bit squelch. I couldn't tell you just what game it's from since I'm no pro, but it works surprisingly well! Of course it's goofy too, but that's at least part of the point. But everything up until then - buzzing riffs, tinny drums and Xexyz's screeching vocals (reminiscent of bands like Old Wainds or maybe W.O.L.D.) are right on the money. "What Lies Atop Gran Mountain" threads another NES anthem around a blackened stomp and comes off disturbingly epic, but then again Nintendo did have some pretty outrageously bravado themes in their time. Once you hear tracks like "Metroid" and "Nightmare on Elm Street" it hits you in the face just how absolutely perfect the themes were to be married with BM dissonance and the theme to "Rygar's Quest" never sounded so glorious as it does here reimagined as a black metal interlude...it's weird to think that it really wouldn't sound entirely out of place on an early album by Emperor or Ulver or what have you. "The Trojan's Doom" is split in two, the first part devoted to repetitive 8-bit chirping and drumming while the latter half let's the song disintegrate into a truly nasty sounding dark ambient slosh. Final two tracks are "Garloz" and "Attack of the Great Panther", each with its own brand of weirdness - the couple of minutes of "Garloz" are dedicated the sampled theme seemingly played in reverse before segueing into a more, uh, "normal" solo BM basement creation while "Attack" is overloaded with a wash of bizarre swirling sound effects, almost like an NES version of a shoegaze version of a Velvet Cacoon track...comprende?
No doubt there are CERTAIN folks who are gonna balk on Xexyz based on premise alone, but these people also paint their faces before going to shows so you can be the judge on that one. If you've got a sense of humor and maybe 7 bucks burning a hole in your pants, try "Primeval Mountain" on for size. You'd be surprised at just how little shtick is really involved in Xexyz's approach - there are some serious bangers here man and I ain't talking sausage although on second thought maybe I am. All things considered Xexyz makes me wanna paint my face but then I'd risk smudging up my Virtual Boy and you know homie don't play that. I can still rock a spiked Powerglove with the best of em though...