Battle Of Mice : A Day Of Nights

So, I am back, after a small break and Thanksgiving. Today’s review is of the recently formed band “Battle Of Mice”, formed from members of Neurot Recordings regulars Made Out Of Babies and Red Sparowes.

When listening to this music, one of the most palpable senses that the listener experiences is a vast menace, conveyed by the alternating beguiling and raging female vocals. It is hard to refrain from inquiring into the band’s personal history after hearing the composition of some of the vocals. Starting a song with: “Everytime I think of pushing you down the stairs, I lick my lips” and “I lie to you every chance that I get, and I make it just close enough to the truth, that you go for it every time” is definitely more disturbing than the hordes of ‘evil black metal’ bands can ever achieve, when you consider that an unnamed band member actually WAS pushed (or ‘accidently fell’ down a flight of stairs at the end of the recording sessions (a volatile event, one of several which the band refuses to discuss).

Enough of the introductions, on to the music! The majority of the songs begin with a soft opening synth passage, where vocalist Julie Christmas whispers softly, providing a gently deceptive opening to the song, which is composed of grinding guitar, occasionaly accompanied by piano tones or synthetic elements. While there is an obvious emphasis on creating ‘atmospheric’ rock (few if any recognizable solos, cyclical guitar passages followed by sparse interludes), thankfully vocals, guitar, bass, drums (which are prominent at points, but never intrusive), and backing elements are in perfect harmony (which is a complete counterpoint to the two main members of the band, who during 75% of the recording process hated each other so much they could barely remain in the same room for more than a few minutes). The music is a complex mixture of love, hate, violence, misery, and desperation.

Because there are only seven songs, ranging from five and a half to slightly over nine minutes, all of the songs are exceptional in one form or another, whether they be starkly beautiful in nature (“Sleep And Dream”, “Salt Bridge”) or the moving and slightly frightening (“Bones In The Water”, “At The Base Of The Giants Throat”). The latter track ends with an absolutely terrifying 911 call (presumably involving the unspecified fall down the stairs) backed by a grim synthesizer bed floating in the distance.

After five of the seven songs were recorded, the bassist refused to continue with the process (can’t really say I blame him). Despite the tumultous process which the record was created in, the band and several sources associated with them, they will apparently continue making music. In an admittedly divided sense, I am glad. Hopefully the path towards the next album will not be as violent as the last one (even if such measures made an absolutely enthralling album).

Next time there might be a Boris album review (though it will be an album besides Pink, because everyone and their mother seems to have reviewed it already).

~ by John Lithium on November 28, 2006.

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