The Mountain Collective for Independent Artists

Silencio – Dead Kings CD

Instrumental. Silencio (from Columbus, OH) combines many different styles including harcore, noise, metal, jazz and others to craft very precise and explosive songs. Silencio shares some common ground with the Flying Luttenbachers (longer, more composition oriented racket), Naked City (genre switching, mind boggling, manic intensity), and late Iceburn (unbelievably good musicianship used to make totally innovative music). Silencio are truly forging new ground in music.

This was released in 2004, and we just found out about it now? The fact we even picked it up for inclusion in Crucial Blast was sort of a fluke; the label that released it, NYC’s Mountain Collective, has recently gone kaput, and we wanted to order a bunch of the weirder Mountain releases (Flying Luttenbachers, Kites, Iceburn Collective, etc…) for the store before shit started to sell out/go out of print. While we were going through their list of releases and figuring out what we needed to get from them, we noticed a CD listed from a band called Silencio from Columbus, Ohio that we had never heard of before. There was a Naked City reference in the label’s description of the CD, so we were naturally curious to see what they sounded like. Well, we finally got the CD in our hands this week and checked it out, and we can honestly say that this is one of THE BEST avant-heavy-instrumental albums we have ever heard in our freaking lives, a mindblowingly catchy pop/grind/jazz/avant/prog/salsa/death EPIC !!! This quartet blazes through a sort of genre-hopping that indeed remind us of Naked City, but Dead Kings is really more like Naked City if they actually had immensely catchy, honest-to-goodness songs, meticulously assembled and played with an amazing amount of technical precision and melodic skills. Seriously, while listening to this album we had to stop and restart several songs just to be able to wrap our skulls around some of the amazing songs these cats have put together. And the songs don’t just hop from one genre to another, it’s more like they blend various styles and sounds together simultaneously into something that comes out new and amazing, in a way that we honestly think is totally seamless and just freaking perfect. We can’t remember the last time we heard an album that was this intricately assembled and genuinely avant garde while being totally listenable, and amazingly catchy!
Silencio’s musical journey across the seven tracks on this album (all of which are ambiguously titled “15ifteen”, “13hirteen”, “11leven”, etc., and in no apparent order) begins with a touchdown in some seriously fucking INSANE salsa inflected avant-prog-metal, like The Mars Volta with Orthrelm’s Mick Barr splattering sick guitar shred across Latin percussive forms, then shifting to pretty, Fender Rhodes flavored post-rock, then mind boggling grindcore compostions, to painfully beautiful folk-pop with soaring vocal harmonies that explode into symphonic death metal dissolving into digitized pools of avant noise that reconstitute into ferocious metalcore crunch. And that’s just the first 3 songs ! And like we mentioned before, the conglomeration of styles is strongly anchored by the band’s ability to mold everything into really catchy, almost “pop” songs with hooks and killer riffs and a melodic mastery that you wouldn’t expect to hear from a band crafting this sort of post-Tzadik avantism. Obviously we really, really recommend this to everyone that’s into weird, eclectic instrumental/experimental music, as we really do think thatDead Kings might be our favorite avant instrumental album we’ve ever heard! It’s hard to put into words just how fucking rad this is, and quite how weird and precise and progressive and HEAVY yet packed with so many “pop” elements this is. Silencio’s vibe reminds us of, well Naked City of course, but also they remind us of some other Tzadik Records alumni, namely Time Of Orchids and Kayo Dot, although the similiarities are more in spirit than in sound in the way that these bands use a broad musical pallette to create a style that’s very unique and cerebral yet capable of being crushingly heavy when need be. There are also some moments that reminded us of Infidel?/Castro!, particularly when Silencio starts slinging around some crushing digitized doom splatter, and elsewhere the band jacks into hardcore jazz in the spirit of Iceburn, but in the end, Silencio are something very different, and come very highly, highly recommended!

Crucial Blast

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