The Book of Lambs
~reviewed by Joel Steudler
Perhaps unwisely, I decided that I would review one-man-band Internecine's debut album The Book of Lambs as I listen to it play. That works for most albums, but in this case it's making my head spin thanks to the dense, unyielding wall of speedy guitars and mechanically thudding drums. Practically every minute of this half-hour long album is filled with high tempo death metal riffing that simply never lets up. The structure of the riffs and solos is as typically disorienting and all over the musical scales as one would expect of a death metal artist, which is only heightening my sense of dread and unease... not to mention vertigo. If I pass out while I type this, someone please get me a glass of water and turn off the music. I don't want it doing any permanent damage.
When I said that Internecine is a one-man-band at the beginning of the last paragraph, I was sort of right and sort of wholly inaccurate. The one man in question is Jared Anderson, a likely candidate for intensive mental therapy if I ever heard one. Jared doesn't quite go it alone, allowing two guest drummers and a guest guitar-solo-player to intrude on his sovereignty... but otherwise he plays guitar, bass, and vocalizes on the album in addition to having written all the songs over the course of five years.
Now, I read in the press release that accompanied this album that Jared is from Ohio, which explains much. I've driven through the featureless wasteland known as Ohio several times. The interminable voyage across its vast expanse is marked only by endless fields of trees and farm... type... things. I'm not familiar with the parlance of the 'country life' so I don't really know what what the buildings are properly called or what all those silos are for. In Jared's case, he may use his to store the corpses of his enemies, or just people that die from ruptured brains after hearing him practicing his material. I think Ohio has some cities though, but they're few and far between, and can't be all that interesting since I've not encountered much of anything good thats come from them. It's easy to imagine how one might go crazy growing up in such a place and wind up writing music like Internecine's.
... and if any of you reading this are from Ohio: I'm sorry. Take that as you will.
Getting back on track, there's not much to be said about The Book of Lambs. It's extreme death metal, played with a high degree of technical ability. Mindbending riffs abound, and the unyielding drums pummel the listener into a well beaten pulp. If you like that sort of thing, you'll probably like this too. Anderson's vocals are a mid-range growl which is surprisingly intelligible at times... not that I really want to hear what he has to say. A scan of the song lyrics revelaed a call to action for all good soldiers of darkness to rape, pillage, drink blood, and commit plenty of other vile deeds. What I could stand reading seemed to be phrased in relatively intellectual terms- but nothing so poetic as, say, a Cradle of Filth album might have. If you lost your 'Guide to Being Evil', you may want to pick up The Book Of Lambs for use as a valuable reference tool.
The guest performers on the album acquit themselves well, and lend their distinct talents to the overall cloud of despair and hopelessness that will engulf all but the most stout hearted. As if there was a need to further drive listeners into either paranoid dementia or a maddened rage, Anderson saw fit to include a 37 second long track of crazy people making crazy-noises before concluding the album with another mind numbing blast of death metal. I can only assume that his intent was to drive people into the icy grip of the devil via making them lose touch with reality. If that's so, then good job! I'm going to have to listen to a few Helloween albums to expel the overbearing wave of hate and evil thoughts that my brain is sloshing around in at the moment.
My review thus far may lead you to believe that I wouldn't recommend this album for purchase. On the contrary, I can see many valid uses for it. The military could use it played at high volumes to alternately pump their troops into a genocidal rage, or to drive people out of any place they're holed up in (like we tried to do to Manuel Noriega in his Panamanian dictator-complex back in the 80's with much tamer rock music). Also, if you've been too happy lately and need to be brought down to the point you can do little more than curl up in the fetal position, this is the recording for you.
Finally, for those that are fans of extreme
death metal, you may recognize that Internecine is a 'supergroup' of sorts,
sharing members of Hate Eternal (Anderson, Rutan, Roddy); Nile (Laureano);
and Morbid Angel (Rutan again, who has decided to focus on Hate Eternal
now instead of MA). You'll probably enjoy The Book of Lambs
- if such a word as 'enjoy' can really be applied in this case. As
for me, well, I think I need to take a vacation from the dark and dangerous
shores of Deathylvania for a while. Now where did I put that copy
of Keeper of the Seven Keys...