Weakling-Dead as Dreams

February 17, 2009


Dead as Dreams (Tumult 2000)


I lack the vocabulary to properly describe Weakling’s Dead as Dreams, which served as their debut and finale. I feel like my father in an art museum when encountering the various permutations of heavy metal whether it be black, death or thrash. We know what we like when we see or hear it, but cannot pin down our new love’s influences and if it is even original or groundbreaking. Basically, we don’t know a goddamn thing about our respective spheres, but go apeshit when we stumble across something that floors us in its immediacy and brilliance. However, my dad painted a flying violin swirling around the pyramids after having some sort of blue collar vision. He thought it was the bee’s knees, so take our opinions at face value.

When it was originally released, it garnered attention due to the involvement of guitarist Josh Smith of the Fucking Champs. However, his work in Weakling bears little resemblance to the instrumental fretwork of that band. Where the Fucking Champs happily absorb inspiration from such disparate sources as Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden and Metallica, Weakling are a far more bleak and brutal affair. What sets Dead as Dreams apart from most black metal I’ve heard is there is a majestic quality that underlies the pained shrieks, pounding beats and massed riffs. It sounds like the soundtrack to impending doom or your last hurrah. Normally, a batch of 17 minute black metal anthems would wear out their welcome halfway through the smash and grab assault. Maybe it’s because there is an undercurrent of punk that lends it a certain immediacy, but Dead as Dreams somehow keeps coming at you in new and innovative ways throughout each shift in mood and tone. Again, I’ve already admitted that I lack the means to do this album justice, but I wanted to share it since it really hits the spot when you want an album to kick your flabby buttocks and inspire adrenaline rushes of epic proportions.  It’s rare to find an album that never lets up in intensity and keeps its foot on your throat throughout the hour you spend in its ragged company.