Admiral Angry - Terrible Caustic
, December 29th, 2009 08:57
Admiral Angry's first (and maybe last) album Buster wasn't far from the Quietus stereo in 2009. Marc Waldburger plumbs its depths and charms
The Quietus would like to pass on belated condolences to the family and friends of Max Schultz and Daniel Kraus
Upon hearing the name Admiral Angry you wouldn’t be mistaken in casting your eyes down memory lane with rose-tinted glasses and envisioning a comical childhood TV character. The Admiral was always waving his hook at the heavens, cursing the gods for whatever brand of humorous misfortune they had visited upon him this week. Maybe his haul of mackerel had been purloined by pesky seagulls, or he had lost his hat, or some such hilarious jape.
In reality, the music of Admiral Angry on their outing, Buster, is more like the sonic equivalent of a beast that abducts the aforementioned character, places him in a Pyrex tank and pisses on him until he drowns. As the weeks scrape by for the imprisoned ex-mariner, he finds himself confronted in some phantasmagoric nightmare by all the fish that he brutally gutted or bullied in moments of superiority, and all he can do is mutter ‘no, no, no’ whilst looking at the soiled digits on his now anorexic hands. In the background, his tormentor rocks back and forth in his grandfather’s chair, quietly laughing in between gulps of bourbon.
If this sounds appealing, or an utterly repulsive prospect, then Buster is an album that should definitely be experienced. There is also a sense of bittersweet luck, if one can call it that, when one finds out that the album was on the verge of not being released. It is hard not to imagine that some of the sheer anger that tears out of Buster was born out of the collective grief suffered by the band by the untimely death of their guitarist Daniel (whom they referred to as the Admiral) at the age of 22 to cystic fibrosis. However, the decision was made to release the album, which will also be joined later with an EP (also recorded with Daniel) called A Fire To Burn Down The World, with all proceeds from both albums going to cystic fibrosis charities.
Although the band’s ambivalence whether to tour or record again (according to guitarist Mark Richards they have an album's worth of material as yet unleashed) will leave all who are mesmerised by the evil genius that is Buster waiting with bated breath, for now let us count ourselves lucky and purge our collective bile to the low end madness that is one of the most impressive debut albums from any band in a long while.
What was the thinking behind the artwork for the album?
Mark Richards: The artwork for Buster has been somewhat controversial because a lot of people think that it doesn’t fit the music. This was our intention. We didn’t want to be too obvious or literal with our artwork but rather be more unassuming in order to give the music more room to speak for itself.
Do you think that there is a general resurgence in the interest and acceptance of heavy music nowadays? If so, is this down to fashion or the overall improvement in the body of work that has been released by bands in the heavier genres?
MR: There has been a resurgence of heavy music as of late but most of it has been rather disheartening because there is a huge repetition of ideas. There are so many bands that seem to be trying to do what’s worked for other bands to the best of their ability. The music has become so distracted by trying to follow the trend that it forgot that it is suppose to be the other way around. In theory, this should be the ideal breeding ground for genuine talent and originality to stand out but on the other hand it is like a needle in a haystack.
When I first listened to the album it brought me back to being stoned out of my tree listening to Iron Monkey, were you guys fans?
MR: It’s always nice to hear that our music makes someone feel like they’re on drugs but we are unfamiliar with Iron Monkey. We’ll be sure to check it out.
I noticed on your myspace page that you cited Arnold Schoenberg as one of your influences amongst the likes of Burning Witch and Khanate. What is it about the music and the man that you find interesting?
MR: Well some would consider Shoenberg the father of atonality. We appreciate his willingness to break the rules and make people feel uncomfortable. Khanate as well has a very original sound and is extremely intense, dynamic and artful. They can make you feel so much and are true heroes of heavy music.
Do you have any other influences that might surprise people?
MR: We are definitely influenced by D’Angelo and Parliament Funkadelic and any music with a strong groove. I hope our appreciation for this aspect of music transcends.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon recently stated in an interview that there were actually quite a lot of similarities between the structures of jazz and some forms of heavy metal. Do you agree? If yes, do you see your music as being in the same vein?
MR: I’m not about to disagree with Brann Dailor and because of his musicianship and the freedom he takes with his parts, I can certainly understand where he is coming from. I think, despite my appreciation for each genre, this correlation can rarely be found. Buster doesn’t have much in common with jazz but our next release, which we are currently recording does. It has a form but is more of a living, breathing piece of music with a lot of improvisation. We are forced, whenever playing the song, to work together and try to follow the music to where it wants to go.
I recently read a review of an Alice In Chains gig with their new vocalist. The reviewer said that the supporters seemed as frenzied and devoted if it would have been Layne Staley up there and that this seems to be common reaction amongst metal fans. Why do you think this is? Are metal fans more devoted than the rest? If so, why?
MR: Though Layne is one of the great vocalists of all time, in metal the instrumentation is just as, if not more important than the vocals and because of this the other members get credit and respect and the fans know that if the Chains decide to continue that, since no one knew and respected Layne more than them, that is probably what Layne would’ve wanted. Because of this, for fans not to accept their decision to continue would be actually disrespectful to Layne, not to mention the rest of the band. Metal fans will always be ostracized by popular music and metal musicians would have to be suffering from a brain injury to get into it for the money. Metal truly speaks to some of us and we tend to stick together, support each other, and let our appreciation of music occupy an exceptionally large portion of our lives.
What other bands around at the moment do you guys consider your peers and which of them has released something that you’ve been impressed by recently?
MR: We have always been close to Snakes Alive, not only because Daniel’s brother is a founding member ,but because they are a truly fantastic and genuine band. I held the seat as their drummer briefly in between permanent members and had a blast. They recently released a split on Sentient Recordings with another awesome band, Wire Werewolves, who is very close to us. Guitarist Jay Howard made a couple guest appearances on Buster. Also, Daniel’s most recently founded project, Fields, with Admiral bassist Brandon is recording this summer.
If there was one band that you would like to do a joint album with, as Sunn 0))) did with Boris, who would it be?
MR: Sunn 0))) and Boris
If you could write the soundtrack for any film what would it be?
MR: There are so many that we would love to do but Martyrs finds itself at the forefront.
Would you guys ever consider releasing a concept album? If so, what would it be about?
MR: We are currently recording for a release, which I guess you could call a concept album. Although it is only one song and I like to think that there should be a concept behind most songs, this isn’t like most songs. As far as the concept, for us to explain it now would be to the detriment of the listeners and the success of the record. Only well after it is released and our listeners have had an opportunity to interpret it would our interpretation be of any possible value.
Was there anything during the making of the album that you read, listened to, or saw that had a collective influence on you?
MR: Longmont Potion Castle
What do you think of some metal bands moving into what has been classified as prog-metal?
MR: What is prog-metal?
What band or artist do you wish you could have seen?
MR: Khanate, Gorguts, and Miles Davis just to name a few.
Finally, when are you guys coming over to these shores?
MR: When are you buying our plane tickets?