Starkweather "Croatoan" CDPosted on Friday, May 5th, 2006 @ 5:50am » permalink
Simple fact: Starkweather is one of the greatest (and yet most criminally wronged, overlooked, and possibly cursed) bands to have ever existed, and there is absolutely no shred of doubt that "Croatoan" will be among the best records of 2006. The end. No fucking argument. Since this is another band that holds a steady position in my top five of all time, I paid an almost inconceivably bloated $16.72 for this CD three days ago at Tower Records the day it was released, because there was simply no fucking way that I was going to wait even one more day to finally hold in my hands a finished copy of this album on CD. As if it weren't bad enough that it's been over a god damn decade since the band's last full-length release (I personally consider "Into the Wire" – which happens to be one of my favorite releases of all time – to be a full-length despite it containing only six tracks), the fucking recording for this album has been finished for over a year, and I've been forcing myself not to listen to my CD-R of rough mixes for months on end because I really wanted the material to still feel new to me when it finally received an official US release (via Candlelight Records).
Much like my exposition on Katatonia last week, this is not what I would consider to be a "review" (not that I consider anything that I write on this site to be "reviews" anymore), because every motherfucker that's reading this right now just needs to listen for themselves and let the material speak for itself. You can't properly describe Starkweather with words. You just can't. Are they a metal band? Sure, but there's so much more to it than that since it's far from "conventional" in any way. And have they perhaps come from more of a hardcore background on some level? Yes, you'd more than likely say that, but they've never sounded even remotely like a hardcore band at all from a musical standpoint.
And I'm telling you right now, this band is not for everyone, and in fact when I first heard them some 11+ years ago I couldn't really handle the vocals at all. But somewhere along the line in the year that followed my initial exposure, it all clicked: The impeccable lyrics (simply unparalleled by any other band), the warped musical aesthetics, the inhuman vocal maneuvering (Also simply unparalleled – in addition to being one of the finest lyricists I've ever come across, Rennie Resmini boasts the single most unique and inimitable vocal approach ever – love it or hate it. And while we're on such topics, Harry Rosa is one of the most impressive drummers I've ever heard in terms of completely maniacal feel and his total disregard for repetition.), etc. Starkweather is among an impossibly infinitesimal number of bands who embody the aural equivalent of sheer and total hatred, disgust, disappointment, and arguably murder itself. I have seriously had moments where listening to this band connects so strongly that I just want to smash my face open with a hammer (figuratively speaking).
All love withers away never dies just left to linger in the plague years eidolons fret in the unconscious eye as the apocalypse draws nigh everything is rolling stroboscopic slow-motion I thought of you months on end tore my knuckles on the walls painted scarlet pictures hallucinating I wandered the streets treading ever so softly lest the moorings fall bask in silence enjoy its beauty for the moment's fleeting…
Man, "Wilding" is seriously fucking amazing. One of the band's finest moments to date and without a doubt my favorite track of the disc. And for those curious, "Croatoan" contains three re-recorded tracks from the days of old (all of which have been noticeably modified from their initial incarnations): "Bitterfrost" (originally on the split 7" with Season to Risk), "Hushabye: Goodnight" (originally on the "Definitely Not the Majors" compilation and one of the band's most obliteratingly vicious songs), and a much expanded (and practically new in the process) edition of "Slither" from "Into the Wire".
The more copies of "Croatoan" Starkweather sells on CD the better their chances of getting a bigger budget for their next album, so fans both new and old should please make sure to buy this record rather than downloading it. The artwork (by far Paul Romano's best, plain and simple) and lyrics are essential and incredible, and quite frankly you're a jackass if you overlook such aspects of Starkweather's existence. Make the damn purchase, and if you're a new fan, do yourself a favor and buy everything else they've ever released as well – you can find it all dirt cheap because people are fucking morons:
Collectors and/or vinyl junkies in general should be aware that you can also purchase a beautiful 2xLP version of "Croatoan" from the significantly more "with it" Hypertension Records in Belgium, who were wise enough to take care of business in 2005. I'm not sure what colors of vinyl are left but mine came a few weeks ago on red, and the full-color gatefold sleeve (with matte finish) looks awesome.
I totally fucking adore this band. One of a kind, people. One of a kind…