August 14, 2020
We don’t often do this. This is an album review, but unlike our normal review posts, this one took on a life of its own. For that reason, we felt it needed to be removed from the herd. It’s for safety reasons. You understand.
Sexbat – Diurnal Curse (Sid Records)
Sexbat proved a difficult artist to track down on streaming services. I found Sexton, Sexweather, G. Sexate, and The Sexbots, but I could only track this release down by searching for the album title, Diurnal Curse. Just a word to the wise when you look this one up. And you’ll want to look it up, because it is outstanding – which you will see below.
Every track on this album refers to a week, one through seven. I originally wanted to review each song for a week, making this a seven week long review, but that seemed ill-advised. So instead, every week will be condensed into a few paragraphs, based on what a week as each track would consist of. That may not make sense right now, but never fret: it will become clearer as we go.
Or it won’t.
Week One: “Diurnal” means “of or during the day”, which is where we start our first week. The track embodies morning: chirping birds, soft pulsing tones, light percussion to assist with the waking up. Coffee and shower come during the cresendo at 2:15, and it’s off to kick the day’s ass.
Bedtime quickly approaches at 3:19, and with it, some much-deserved relaxation. Shoes off, feet up, maybe a couple eps of Tiger King before bed… no, DEFINITELY a few eps of Tiger King before bed.
We better enjoy this week, because it’s about to get a bit more hectic moving forward.
Week Two: “The point is, there is no feasible excuse for what are, for what we have made of ourselves. We have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality, dividends before decency, fanaticism before fairness, and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others.”
Iain Banks wrote these words either in, or before, 1993, for the release of his novel Complicity. Complicity is about, among other things, a serial killer. We will certainly not be taking that track, but we are amping things up quite a bit this week. The chill morning? Gone. We’re now putting cayenne in our oatmeal and doing 90 on the freeway heading in to work. The week is reminiscent to “Welcome Home (Sanitarium)” in the best ways.
We still have some downtime to collect our thoughts and catch our breath, starting at 1:59. The driving guitar picks back up at 2:40, and we’re moving again. We got deals to make, and clients to please!
Week Three: We’ve devolved into chaos. The clients are screaming, and the deals are officially unmade. We got bigger fish to fry than pushing some reams of paper, namely a battle for ultimate survival. We gotta find weapons, and armor, and shields, and a vehicle! That little Honda Civic ain’t gonna cut it; we gotta mount a .50 cal to the top.
Slow, methodical, grinding riffs complement plodding drums of war. There’s no turning back at this poi– Shit! Flashbang hits at 1:32! We gotta shake it off, get our heads back into the game. Maybe there will be a need for paper products after the war is finis– Mortar hit at 2:04! Narrowly escape intact, and it’s back to the fight.
We find some friendlies at 3:14, just in the nick of time. We need medicine, we need rest, and we need reinforcements, and we just found all three. It’s our turn now, and the tide is about to be turned.
Week Four: We just got a glow-up, boys and girls. The armaments are ample, the munitions are massive. Fuck the other side, they jealous.
We set out to find them, and we finally spot them at 0:49, just over a hill. They spot us at the same time… the sneak attack is off the table. It’s combat at its most visceral now: they take out 2, we take out 3. They hit a vehicle, we down a helicopter. At 1:49, it’s just a sea of bodies. Some are living, some barely living, most no longer with us. Both sides have amassed significant casualties.
At 2:06, a cease-fire is negotiated and accepted. The war is over. We were victorious, but at what cost? The skirmish was Pyrrhic in every sense of the word. Nevertheless, now is not the time to reflect on such things. We have to rebuild, and so do our once-enemies. But just because the war is over, doesn’t mean the hostility is.
“Hate looks like everybody else until it smiles”, as written by Tahereh Mafi, and we expect a lot of those smiles to show themselves in the coming days. The seeds begin to be sewn at 3:47, with an underlying unease creeping through our camp, and presumably, theirs as well. The static in the track accentuates the mood perfectly, making the situation feel more like a powder keg than a truce.
It makes you think: why do we have those feelings in the first place? We couldn’t remember when, or how, the conflict even started. Were we all pawns in something greater? Margaret Atwood once wrote “there wasn’t even an enemy you could put your finger on”, and that may be truer than we know.
Week Five: The adrenaline has officially worn off, and the sheer magnitude of loss is in full view now. We all mention folks in passing, before realizing their passing. Fathers and sons, mothers and daughters. Friends. Lovers. Gone. About half of our ranks have been decimated, with several injured still being tended to at camp.
We honor the dead the best we know: through song. A steady drumbeat and muddled, melancholy guitar sum up our feelings. This isn’t one of those “celebration of life” deals; far from it, in fact.
At 1:22, the alarm sounds. We have company, in the form of two soldiers from the rival group. They strip down, per our instruction, to confirm that they are unarmed. Tensions are still heightened, but if they confirm what we suspect, then they have value to us. We let them into the compound.
They tell us, unprompted, that they also suspect that more than the “Us vs. Them” narrative is at play here. If we’re all correct, then we can’t go this alone. We need them, and they need us. “Isolation must always lead to decay”, and we are not ready to be decayed just yet.
As we’re talking to the soldiers, we start to hear a panic. Two of our lookouts bust in at 5:54. There were lights in the sky, circling the camp, and then a flash of light. Suddenly, dozens of creatures appeared, long heads, sharp teeth, the works.
I think we found the true threat.
Week Six: Amidst all the pandemonium, a brief flashback hits. A lullaby that we heard when we were young. Before all of this. Before the world went to Hell. Before WE all went to Hell…
Sudden explosions rock us back to the present at 0:42. The battle begins anew, and this one won’t be ending in a handshake. We throw everything we have at the creatures… bullets, bombs, rockets. We push them back, and they retreat at 1:36/ We start celebrating, but the foreshadowing bassline should’ve warned us that it wasn’t over.
As if on cue, they return to the fight at 1:52, with reinforcements of their own. A fleet of flying ships accompanies their ranks on the ground. We’re vastly outnumbered now. We have nowhere to turn to, nowhere to run. They begin to chant at us, telling us that we’re the last ones left. They must’ve gotten to the other camp, and there’s nothing we can do to stop them. It’s over. The battle, the war, life as we know it.
At least we went out on our swords…
Week Seven: Just then, the earth starts to rumble, getting louder and more pronounced, until it finally opens with a mighty “crack!” that permeates the heavens. The maw only appears underneath the creatures, swallowing them whole in an abyss with an unknown bottom. At the same time, a giant laser pierced the dark sky, vaporizing several of the flying ships and incapacitating several more. Who was responsible? We didn’t have time to ask questions, as there were still ships and creatures to deal with.
We took the cue and got back into the fray for one more momentous push. We weren’t going to let this chance slip through our fingers. The numbers of creatures continued to fall, and at 0:32 we started to gain a growing sense of hope that we could actually pull this off. Each creature made a high-pitched wail when it died, much like the periodic guitar wails in the track.
At 1:44, the few remaining ships start to drift upward. With a flash, they’re gone. They left the rest of the creatures and retreated! All we have to do is take care of the few remaining soldiers. The light is bright at the end of the tunnel. “I’m beginning to believe. I will see the end of this.”
Finally, at 3:41, the last creature falls. We did it. WE DID IT!! We celebrate much more than the previous battle, both because we all understood the implications of losing this one, and because we had no idea if or when the next one would come. The guitar swells in unison with our morale, at heights it hasn’t been in months, if not years.
There’s still the mystery of the giant sinkhole, and the laser beam. As we started to discuss, an entity suddenly appeared before us at 5:31. It was transparent, but we could make out the facial features. Or rather, the total lack of face. He spoke directly to our minds, telling us that those creatures have been trying to take over his world too. Earth was meant to be taken as an outpost to get closer to his world, but that plan was abandoned after their defeat. However, his world was still in danger.
He needed help. And after what he did for us, we didn’t even have to ask each other what we should do.
We collected everything we would need for the fight, knowing that, by Week Eight, we would never see home again. But the message hasn’t changed: we will still be going out on our swords, no matter how many light years away we are.
FFO: I have no Earthly – or non-Earthly – idea.