CD: Fin De Siècle Media FDS12 [2005]

Black Rope Hell
Voitive Offerings
Burning Heat
Firejar Hell
The Avici / Hell Of No Interval
Three Pints Of Fluid
Sacred Fury
Water Tinctured With Soot
And Reason

There are some, nay many, people out there who regard Darrin Verhagen (Shinjuku Thief ) and his back catalogue of releases as some kind of black ambient musical genius. I on the other hand have remained firmly an unbeliever and was yet to be convinced. Sure I’ve heard and have some of his previous work, "The Witch Hammer" & "Medea", but they all seemed to be missing that certain spark that separated him from the myriad of other artists and they all lay covered in dust, I’m a messy unclean bastard, never to be played again. Therefore when I got sent a copy of "Sacred Fury" to review I didn’t exactly jump for joy at the prospect of having to write the bloody thing up. Cheers pal. You’re my best mate. Fast forward a couple of days and here I sit at the time of reckoning having to make my mind up as to whether or not "Sacred Fury" has in any way altered my previous opinions and preconceptions.

First I’ll get the boring information trivia out of the way before delivering my judgement. "Sacred Fury" consists of 16 tracks that vary in length from the longest: 4.24 minutes to the shortest: 1.01 minutes. The musical styles represented vary from slow building black ambience, through to beat driven noise blasts, onto orchestral type overtures and a touch of Eastern patterned influences. Picture a blind man trying to travel across a field with assorted obstacles randomly placed around. His journey won’t take him in a straight line from A to B as he’ll need to deviate continually to complete his task. This sounds exactly like that Herculean feat of endurance. "Sacred Fury" demands complete focus and attention from the listener as the music meanders and zigzags through so many different musical styles that it’s very easy to lose your concentration when it’s needed most. If you were to treat "Sacred Fury" as an imaginary film score then it makes perfect sense to all the blocked off avenues you’re being continually led up to. I initially struggled to grasp some of the concepts within "Sacred Fury" finding it to be a very difficult recording to get into. Reviewing a piece of Extreme Music is a walk in the park by comparison. Slowly through repeated plays I gained awareness to the very subtle and edifying music that had been created by Darrin, but if I wasn’t a reviewer I would have only listened to it once before discarding it.

The more time you’ll willing to put into it will reap the rewards accordingly. I’m still not 100% convinced about the past music of Shinjuku Thief and remain unconverted to his cause but "Sacred Fury" has gone some way to changing my viewpoint. This one at least won’t be gathering dust for a while.


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