Sometimes, an obstacle of challenging proportions is set before you, and with it brings the implication of insurmountable odds. Some would use the expression, "this is my Mount Everest", as a way of expressing the problem, likening the experience as a huge trek, but a possibly achieveable goal.
Deathconsciousness, to me, is not my Mount Everest. It's my Mariana Trench.
How else do I explain my deal with this album? I see the overwhelmingly positive acclaim. I see it being rated the #1 album for 2008. Friends of mine, in real life and throughout the internet, say this is one of the greatest albums of all time. I find it to be one of the most overrated albums of all time.
Why am I being so contrarian? What justifies this terrible rating? Am I just being an annoying hipster? To answer these in order: it's not for lack of trying, let's talk about it, and probably but most likely not.
In 2012, I first heard of this album and took a listen. I don't renember much from that listen back then, which upon recalling could either be due to my memory deteriorating over time or a testament to what I think the music is now...over the years I have returned to see what others have found and admired here, never really understanding it.
In my most recent listen, I found it more taxing than I used to. The length of the project, just over an hour, feels double that length to me; it incorporates a great deal of MBV's shoegaze influence, that of which I'm no fan of, in addition with a Joy Division brand of post punk and a drop of Swans influence for good measure. Considering I dislike all three of those bands, this is just a perfect storm.
The production is muddy and obscures a great deal of the musical elements in this murky brine, whereas bringing out the elements that are repeated ad naseum. The vocals lack impact due to this mix, and by consequence the lyrics lose their power in my view.
I look at the whole package and I feel like this took a lot of thought. Like I implied, this isn't some everyday kind of album; it's clear lots of work went into it. It is my Mariana Trench because it described as so deep with its ideas and execution, but as a consequence there is no real way for me to see it for what it is or what it has to say. If I try, and boy have I tried, I'd drown from it, ie. "miss the point", apparently.
Allegories aside, it is a slog to wade through; a constant barrage of this aforementioned murkiness, with the shoegaze elements mixed with post punk. When I hear it, it comes off extremely and utterly repetitive. I look at the lyrics, and they too repeat ideas throughout, and I don't just mean Bloodhail. The inspiration for these tracks, if Genius is to be believed, I do not find interesting; rather, I fail to see the connection, as the lyricism is so minimalist and vague that it could mean anything. It reminds me of the approach Swans has, the style of lyricism which I dislike. I can't even hear the lyrics that are sung most of the time; it feels like a pointless endeavor.
When the album isn't boring with its predictabilty, it can get downright irritating; The Future is obnoxious, nearly unlistenable with the piercing tones it exhibits (and I like harsh noise). Holy Fucking Shit: 40,000 starts off intriguing and then devolves into similar problems as before. Bloodhail continues to be the most questionable song for me, as I almost like it until the endless repetitions of the lyric "arrowheads" occur. I get what it is about, what the song is symbolizing, but it is a taxing listen.
Waiting for Black Metal Records to Come In the Mail might be my favorite selection from this, but it sounds rather derivative. Earthmover did not have to be 14 agonizing, overly long minutes; this whole album could be cut in half and achieve the same effect in better time. The first track could be scaled down so much more and would still deliver the same experience with the vague lyricism. Ultimately, it all feels directionless.
I'm sorry if you think I'm missing the point as well. I probably am. But even when this album is explained to me, how deep it is, how truly deep and meaningful it is, when I listen I don't like the music. I can't seem to find a different outlook on it, no matter how many times I've tried. It feels pretentious and haughty, propped up by endless praise that I cannot parse. I don't want to dive any more into Deathconsciousness; it's exhausting and I never find anything here to take away other than irritation.