Reviewed by Darcie Stevens, Fri., Jan. 27, 2006
Fantastic Illusions Worth Dying For (Awthum)
Assacre is but one man, but he wails like a metal symphony: thrashing guitar riffs interspersed with teeth-chattering beats and disturbing glimpses of humanity. Prog metal meets performance art. This full-length debut gnashes windmill hair with gay porn without being overly ironic. The title track, a drugged-out "Star-Spangled Banner," opens Fantastic Illusions, which then whips through testosterone-ridden splays of ecstasy (the immortal "Gayer Than God") and glorious jazzy sci-fi dork-outs ("Kalos K'Agathos Gopgos"). "All homosexuals are not passive," warns a particularly jarring sample of 1961 juvenile anti-gay film Boys Beware. Assacre's combination of classic metal and samples from evangelist sermons, vintage TV shows, and sound effects brings metal out of the bonehead genre into a thinking-man's game. More stomp, less bang. But it isn't as simple as that. The experimental Atari noise of "Thy Crystal Odelisk Shall Assend Into Storm Clouds of Mechanical Mystery" (wow) becomes the slurring trip of closer "The Ultimate Dalme of Human Life": a slow-burning acoustic credit-roller. Fantastic Illusions is a page-turner, a mark of utter worth from a man, a dinosaur mask, and a drum machine.