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The Lament Configuration
Released: 2002, Earache
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
This album didn’t do much for me at first. It was a little hard on the ears and there just wasn’t enough interest there for me to get a handle on, but on repeated listens it started to grow on me. Slowly my estimation of the rating I was going to give it began to rise, and I tacked on some extra goodwill because this phenomenon--indifference or even outright dislike for an album at first, followed by a slow and gradual warming--is how my love affairs with some truly great albums have begun. December has potential!
Aside from being my favorite month, December is a very technically proficient Nevada-based band that spews violent geysers of slightly-blackened death metal at the slightest provocation. THE LAMENT CONFIGURATION goes for the jugular immediately with a track called “Icenine,” then continues the punishment through nine more brutalizing tracks. The pace never lets up, and the unbelievably pissed off sound of the vocalist is a haunting, disturbing refrain. This album was produced by Devin Townsend, and one listen makes it easy to see why they caught his lacerated ear. The frenetic, murderous energy that Townsend brought to Strapping Young Lad is equally evident here. While the vocals are unusually important in this band than in most others, there is a very strong backing of excellent musicianship. Just listening to the guitars and drums in tandem with each other gives you the feeling that physically, these guys must get a lot of exercise playing in this band!
Not perfect, of course. The tracks sound very similar to each other, and while all are good, it’s difficult to pick a standout (though “Trial” or “Quiet Cold” are probably contenders). The sheer evenness of THE LAMENT CONFIGURATION may work against it in the long run, as I can already hear some metalheads saying that if you’ve heard one December song you’ve heard them all. However, another contingent--particularly those who thrive on speed, brutality and rage--will likely praise this band.
December is definitely worth a try. Or two, or three. I have a feeling that, if I come back to this review in a few months after spinning this disc again, I’m going to say to myself, “Shit, how can I have only given this a 3?” Time will tell.
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