Head Control System - Murder Nature - The End Records 2006
Running Time: 45:21
By now, the name of Kristoffer Rygg should be as recognizable to any fan of
hard music as is the name Mike Patton. In fact, a case could be made with fair
conviction that in some sense, the two have followed somewhat similar paths in
their careers. From his delightfully freakish Faith No More flirtations with airport lounge music ('Edge Of The World') to his bizarre Adult Themes For Voice (to say nothing of his innumerable side projects), Patton was one of the first freak-flag-flying children of metal leave the nest for the realm of the truly avante garde. Beginning with Ulver's abrasive yet tuneful Bergtatt all the way up to 2005's album of the year contender Blood Inside, Rygg (aka Trickster G) has taken his blackened rasp through Arcturus, Borknagar, Dodheimsgard, and his own menagerie of side work to become one of the most original voices in metal today. The coupling then, of Trickster G with ex-Sirius main man Daniel Cardoso for this album about "...girls, serial killers, control, and the loss of it." should come as no surprise.
Murder Nature is the debut for Head Control System, after an EP released under the name SinDRomE, which employed the vocal talents of Tobel Lopes instead of Rygg. It's with Head Control System, though, that I believe Cardoso fully realizes the vision he had for the project from the start. The ambulatory sound beginning 'Baby Blue' could easily tie directly into the final track from Blood Inside, 'Hospital', but the musical arena which HCS calls home is much more groove-based and accessible than is much of Ulver. Hey, gotta get the girls to pay attention somehow, right? To hear production this clear and bright still retain such a heavy bottom-end thud almost guarantees at least a few spins at your more rockin' gentlemen's clubs, which was probably the whole idea to begin with. Trickster G's vocal and lyrical contributions are stream-of-consciousness as ever in 'Skin Flick', and continue on as such throughout the album. On the instrumental side of things, a Tool-influenced pattern during the verses slithers effortlessly into a Faith No More chorus, and again that rumbling foundation, which ends up being one of Murder Nature's strong points. 'Masterpiece (Of Art)' manages to somehow entwine Korn-esque bass, schlock-horror Rob Zombie-isms, and enough punch behind Rygg's "Hell yeah!" to send fists into the air and gas pedals to the floor the world over. An instrumental reprieve follows, more keyboard-based and esoteric than the previous material, providing a welcome interlude before 'It Hurts' takes us on its dark journey into the psyche of obsession. Some of Rygg's most defining work can be found in 'Seven', his multi-octave range seeming more impressive with every album in which he is involved. 'Kill Me' overlays minimalist electronica with backwards (?) vocals, and then moves on to the dense soundscape of 'Wonderworld', which may be the most Ulverish track here. Double-bass, punishing downtuned groove, and empassioned vocals colour 'Rapid Eye Movement', fading seamlessly into the solo guitar of 'Falling On Sleep', effectively putting Murder Nature to rest.
Still, when it's Head Control System that's tucking you in, it's best to check under the bed first. Murder Nature is an album as strangely uplifting as it is dark, as embracing as it is cold. It's really the perfect album for driving down the freeway at just under Mach 1, with the streetlights running together, and the broken white line in your rearview.