Some four years ago, I had the dubious and mischeivous pleasure of introducing the wickedness of DIAPSIQUIR’s seminal Virus STN to the initial AGM.com readership. Half a decade and one band death/resurrection later, Toxik Harmst and his gang is back with the third full-length album, A.N.T.I. – a title that couldn’t be more appropriate for this mess of an album.
In coming to terms with DIAPSIQUIR, one has to accept all aspects of being human. Not as a pose or pretense, displaying extremes to make a moral / political point, but as a basic premise of humanity – irrational, insubordinate streams of sensation, the ugliest and prettiest side of US, not in a simple dichotomy of good vs bad but constantly and simultaneously, in a drunken exaltation of everything, without judgment or pretense. Drop all moral issues, suspend all aesthetic judgment – your standards don’t approve here.
Where DIAPSIQUIR originally grew for a Black Metal foundation, perverted by the madness of lysergic and viral satanism, there are few traces left save a few guitar lines. ANTI is a beast of an album that pisses on all concepts of genre boundaries – and what’s important is that it doesn’t make a point out of it. One of the least pretentious albums I’ve heard that deserves the tag “experimental”, the brutality of its honesty is what strikes me the most, still after continuously delving into its sooty slime for several months now. ANTI is ONLY itself; in itself a complete singularity despite its obvious proximity to common musical genres (metal, up-tempo rock, film music, traditional French music, hip hop/urban electronica, et c) – casually and respectlessly a musical singularity, calling it ecclectic would be to drop it into a bucket filled with pretentious excrements who can’t write songs. And besides its brutal honesty, the level of the musical workmanship here is astonishing, without ever relying on feeble show-off.
Toxik Harmst’s melodic vocals, when not moving into ridiculing falsetto, is over all expressive, sometimes almost theatrical. There’s a heavy influence of hip hop here, on the song “Avant” specifically, but far from the dry ironic of intellectuals like SOLEFALD, this is the real deal – deep and throbbing and above all completely honest in expression. The number of voice samples and movie references are fewer here than compared with previous work, but the cinematic atmosphere is still pervading; background synthesizers and sounds hover like the soundtrack to the musical performance up front, in a weird way. Apparently there is a live line-up for the band now, preparing to bring these songs on stage – would be interesting to know how that line-up is configured, considering the recording band DIAPSIQUIR range from the two members listed online, to the 11-12 musicians appearing at various points on this album.
Lyric-wise (as far as I can tell from simple google translations + the disturbing artwork), these randy Frenchmen deal with harsh subjects, portrayed sardonically, without judgment; self-hatred, self-destruction, urban despair, genocide, pedophilia, drug addiction… A song about incest where the girl vocalist sings with something filling up her mouth. Rhyming “sex” with “subutex”. All performed with a complete passion and unhindered creativity… For even though music this dark, it’s exhiliratingly joyful in expression, sometimes even heart-breakingly beautiful (tracks “Fuel” and “Seul”, among others).
And if you think you know what this sounds like from my words here, you’re probably wrong. DIAPSIQUIR creates music that on paper really should sound like complete bullshit. But, always the opponent, always ANTI, they/he/she/it proves all prejudice and conformism wrong. A demanding album this is, but well worth all perseverance and effort of those thirsty of, well, simply what music is and should be about from the very start. Fucking weird is it, too.
(2LP release of A.N.T.I. by End All Life Productions, CD by Necrocosm.)