As one of the resident “I like weird music” suckers in the AMG offices, it fell to me this month to take on the latest from Brazilian noisemakers Deafkids: their third album, the copy-and-paste titled Metaprogramação. These fellows create a bizarre fusion of noise rock, punk, and Brazilian polyrhythms, leaving us with something that is both disturbing and hypnotizing at the same time. Newly signed to the Neurosis label Neurot Recordings, and actually supporting (along with Bell Witch) Neurosis for their upcoming brief North American summer tour, all signs are pointing up for Deafkids. Now, how to go about reviewing something that Steve Von Till describes as “sonic Ayahuasca?”
“Vox Dei”1 is the opening track, two and a half minutes of deep, reverberating, echoing intonations. It’s both mesmerizing and eerie as it morphs into blasts of feedback, leading into what could be considered the songs proper. “Alucinações de Comando”2 is a better example of the album’s fare, as it combines an industrial drive, robotic droning, delay-drenched vocalizations, and Brazilian percussion into one thick paste. This is more or less the standard going forward, as many of the tracks here promote the same feelings, but with subtle changes to instrumentation and flavor. “Pacto de Máscaras,”3 for example, is underpinned by a subliminal beat loop, with layers of grinding feedback and delay-drenched yelps atop it, and “Mente Bicameral”4 is a frantic number, bringing in some punk touches with a simple yet frantic bass/drum line and occasional jolts of distorted guitar, again with loops and delays of vocals and Brazilian percussion. It’s the closest to a conventional song on Metaprogramação.
Deafkids do their best work on the two longest songs. “Raiz Negativa (Nao-Vontade)”5 could be considered to be the showcase track based solely on its seven-minute length. It’s the same as all the other songs, with primitive percussion loops, grinding, simple bass, jarring guitar riffs, and loops of delay-ridden vocalizations. It has moments of intrigue and moments of panic. It truly encapsulates the entire album, which makes one wonder just how much value there is in most of the other songs. “Espirais da Loucura” 6, the other long number, is very tribal in nature, bringing back the voice of God from the opening track amidst tribal percussion. The rest of the album’s standard motifs appear throughout the song as well, but the arrangement is such that this is one of the more interesting cuts.
The rhythms that hold the songs on Metaprogramação together all sound the same by the end. It’s mesmerizing and hypnotic, at times alluring and disturbing (“Camisa de Forca,”7 being perhaps the most ominous of all the cuts), but a sense of monotony can settle in over the course of the entire album. When the two longest songs showcase all Deafkids have to offer, it makes one wonder where the value is in the rest of the album. That’s not to discount the overall cool factor we have going on here; rather, it’s intended to point out the fact that the songs don’t exactly separate themselves from each other too well.
I can imagine seeing Deafkids perform these songs live would be quite an experience: the noise, the loops, the feedback, and the polyrhythms are all enticing in a very “don’t go into that dark room!” kind of manner. Cranking Metaprogramação is definitely unnerving, and I’ll certainly be going back to a couple of tracks throughout the year. But until I drink an entire bottle of Mescaline, I’m not sure if I can do the entire album.
- All song titles are in Portuguese. Google Translate did its best for me, but these interpretations can certainly be wrong. This song title translates to “Voice of God.” ↩
- Something about hallucinations. ↩
- “Pact of Masks?” ↩
- Um, “Bicameral Mind?” ↩
- “Negative Root (No-will)” ↩
- “Spirals of Madness” ↩
- “Straightjacket” ↩