Genre: Math-Core, Genre Bending Metal
“Be courteous, obey the law, respect everyone – but if someone puts his hand on ya, send em’ to the cemetery!”
The first words of this album, sampled from a speech by Malcom X, this quote does a pretty great job of summarizing the entire atmosphere and mood of this album – at least in its themes and lyrical content. Much like Peculate’s previous releases, Pax Tecum is an album that hits all over the spectrum of genres, while having its foot firmly planted in metal. Somehow, though, the album manages to explore even more sounds and genres than anything Ben Norton – the singular force behind Peculate – has recorded so far. Not only does it bounce around through metal, rock, ambient, and mixed-meter trickery, it includes influences (even entire sections of songs) of jazz, electronica, and some awesome sampling. The influence behind the themes explored in the album is certainly worth noting, and though the political commentary is still overt and easy to spot, Norton does a better job of embedding these themes in an artful way than before. Though some of the lyrics still read a little bit like a political rally’s speech (and maybe intentionally so,) there are those – like “Class War” – that sing out a little more like most songs. Pax Tecum, if anything, is quite a lot like the stuff that Peculate has done before, but at a much improved level – there’s more genres tied into each other more craftily, more artfully written lyrics, and an album as a whole that covers some really important material.
Tracks I Liked: Suffer Peacefully!!, Never Hurt a Soul!, A Romance!!, Class War!!!
Ben Southworth – July 10th, 2013 – Radio Free Lexington
Ben Norton’s Collateral Damage, Pt. 1 is the first in a trilogy of three albums – this one a protest to American imperialism, particularly the highly controversial issue of drone strikes that effect the innocent. The album is a fast moving five song piece that covers far more moods and sounds than there are songs. Most every song transitions through several musically thematic ideas, but constantly returns to the hard-driving foundation that is found in the short first track. Not only are the songs complicated in that each contains several sections, but in that each section is densely packed with numerous independent parts that whip through each other. Ben has made the scores for each song available on his site, and taking a look through the score for any of them is evidence of the complexity he has created here. Lyrically, there’s not a lot being veiled here – the words are easy to interpret and don’t hold very much back, particularly the last song’s main theme: “They must be punished for the worst crime of all, being born in the wrong place, at the wrong time.” Also important to note is that Ben has been in charge of each part of the process here – he’s written the words and music, performed (or programmed) all the parts, done the post-production, created the album art, and even put together an entire website with as many resources for the album as you can imagine. Whether you consider the independence with which this whole project was put together, this album is a great piece of work, and Norton’s musical knowledge is easy to pick up on on your first listen. If you’re a fan of metal, prog-rock, mathcore – or anything in that particular vein – give it a listen.
Tracks I Liked: All of them, especially Dreams in a Vacuum!!, Whose Child!!, and Wrong Place, Wrong Time!!!
– Ben Southworth