It’s no big secret that I have long been a champion for the creations of A Death Cinematic, and it seems to have become a biannual occurrence that I would find myself sitting down to my desk to write on yet another exquisite release from his own imprint, Simple Box Construction. While for many artists, at this point I would be struggling to find anything new to say and perhaps trying to push off new releases to other writers in a frustrated effort to welcome a new perception, every arrival of a new creation from this specific project immediately inspires me and welcomes into my imagination a different territory of a familiar world — one whose ultimately definitive characteristics have remained partially distorted to me. Despite that slightly blurred psychic vision, it’s hard not to be inspired. After all, this is an artist that consistently puts forth an effort that is unheard of in our underground where so many simply resort to a facile “DIY” procedure such as a handstamped / one-color screen-printed cover and spray-painted CD-R, and I shouldn’t need to go into detail as to why these releases are different from A Death Cinematic’s after our extensive coverage of his releases. Every new work is a representation of something that has quickly become lost in our modern era: the tradition of craftsmanship. These are creations in every sense of the word, and made by hands that are all too familiar with the necessity for pinpoint accuracy.
Corrosions of Traveled Daydreams represents a couple of firsts for A Death Cinematic, the most immediately recognizable being the fact that this is the project’s first cassette release. The most important milestone here, though, is that another label is finally showing enough belief in the creations of ADC (referred to henceforth) that, even if only limited to 60 copies, they were willing to finance his unique vision towards package creation and leave it solely in his hands. Why is this a milestone? A common complaint about ADC is that, while his packaging is becoming renowned for its meticulous complexity, the music outside of the overall context of the physical release often leaves people unimpressed. After all, it seems that the first destination for people today after hearing about an incredible album is the aurally decadent abyss of youtube, where not only is the quality of any given track absolutely mutilated, but no greater context can be found. In the end, this is an art-piece as much as it is a music release, and an understanding has to be met in the fact that what lies within is intended to be heard within the context of a greater design.
Though it’s nothing that isn’t par for the course for this artist, the opening track, “Descending in Obdurate Hordes”, is not ADC’s best effort, and it’s a shame that this song was chosen to open the album. The release title, Corrosions of Traveled Daydreams, hints at an easy landing towards some sort of murky, ephemeral dissolution into chaos over time, but instead we’re met head-on with a chunky high-gain riff to which little in the way of reverb or other processing has been applied. Rather, the artist’s textbook style of looping takes hold and sloppily crushes the riff under itself over time in a way that leaves little room for emotional context or investment, and the rest of the track seems to follow suit. “The Chill of the Dawning Greets us…” picks up the intensity and emotional flux though, offering a vast array of melodic corrosive drones that form as one cohesive entity, but either break apart, fade or progress to new manifestations over time. “Their Blades Warm with Blood…” brings in a unique atmosphere that meets somewhere between psych folk, some form of instrumental Western soundtrack music, and outright melancholy. It’s dry, dusty, dirty, and brings to mind the ghostly improvised meanderings of Cobra//group. Eventually, it collapses into something that rejects that atmosphere completely in favor of something more progressive and subtly melodic with a lone warbling drone that is left hiding underneath of a barely there, bottom-feeding distorted riff and the classic ADC high-level melodic loops paired with groaning lo-fi chords.
Strangely, Side B starts off more like I had imagined the album would with bleak emotive, melodic progressions that evolve into lazy, wailing notes that mimic the sound of a crying guitar out of the Appalachian wilderness. It’s about at this point, though, that the whole world that ADC has created over the length of his entire career begins to fully come into focus. A vast dustbowl wasteland dominated by figures made fat from the trials of the weary, whom themselves treat opiates as gold as it bewilders their desperation with the occasional monochromatic memory of brighter (and greener) times. But this world isn’t just some work of fiction — it is an alternate vision to our own decadent and declining lives in this modern world. We kill everything, we obey our masters, we turn on each other, and then we raise children with false promises of inheriting a better world. This isn’t just an attempt at the creation of a soundtrack for a bitter and land that has been destroyed by its inhabitants’ tendency towards destruction (sound familiar?). This is the theme of modern humanity — the aching irony of our addiction to transgression. The disembodied screams of our collective harrowed spirit.
Everything within this release is a reflection of ADC’s attempts to push us towards these revelations. Corrosions of Traveled Daydreams comes with a hidden pack of photographs with translucent, modified twin sheets that are paired with each image — these are images of the real world, of the beauty of our wild sanctum that are paired with what so many see — a blurred, unfulfilled existence, rushed by for the take of attaining what doesn’t matter while what is truly important lies just beneath the surface. As with previous releases, the tempo of nearly the entirety of Corrosions of Traveled Daydreams is a — sometimes excruciatingly — trudging crawl with a fixation directly inclined towards the sun. Weary, restless, and defeated. As with previous releases, there are some questionable moments regarding musicianship, especially on the noted first track, and in some ways, the music is beginning to sound stale as releases bleed into one another. With the collection of music that ADC has put together over time, it’s becoming more important than ever to evolve his music like he has honed his craftsmanship. That said, this is another beautiful hand-made wood release, this time fitting of a cassette with precision cuts and construction, proper anchoring, and a unique inner folder-containment for the mentioned photographs as well as a poem that brings all of the track titles together at the end of the rabbit hole. Brilliant, as always.
A1) Descending in Obdurate Hordes
A2) The Chill of the Dawning Greets us with Hopes of Death
A3) Their Blades Warm with Blood, their Eyes Hollow with Greed
B1) Seek Shelter from the Vile Swarms
B2) In those Ivory Towers Built Tall from the Friable Bones of our Dead
B3) On these, the Raptures of our Harrowed, Mournful Days