History of Guns -- Acedia

From what I can tell, quite a few people really like History of Guns. They've been getting some pretty favorable reviews for their albums and their infrequent live shows appear to have earned the group an enthusiastic following. But they just don't do it for me.

I suspect a big part of the problem was that I was anticipating Acedia to be a punk rock record. After all, we are expressly a punk rock publication and, since the band's PR people contacted us before sending their clients' CD across the ocean (suggesting at least a cursory familiarity with the scope of Sobriquet Magazine), I assumed, wrongly, that Acedia was going to be something quite different from what it actually is.

Listening to the album a few times, I strained to find what, exactly, made the PR folks think a punk zine would be interested in this album. The best I could come up with is that, once in a while, History of Guns plays fast. Of course, Ministry does that, too. Indeed, fans of industrial bands might very well dig Acedia because, as far as I can tell, there's a heavy industrial flavor to the album. There's also bits of dark electronica (think of the Prodigy's "Breathe") and Tool-style progressive metal. The only thing missing from this sonic gumbo is the punk I was expecting.

So, here's the thing: I'm pretty sure these guys are good musicians. I'm also pretty sure that, had this album been released in the early nineties, the band would have made an appearance on the little cartoon television set at the heart of Beavis and Butt-Head. I'm not sure, though, whether the cretinous duo would have banged their heads reverently or blurted out "uhhhh, that sucked!" in their trademark nasally drawl. Not that one is particularly preferable to the other, of course. As for me, I actually laughed a bit at the band. Which, I don't imagine, is the response they were going for.

I feel kind of bad saying this but, really, I have to. If you took She Wants Revenge, Tool, Ministry, and some generic post-punk goth group, the drums from Public Image, Limited's Flowers of Romance album, and the friable doggerel of a teenage Marilyn Manson fan, put them into a blender, hit "puree," poured the end result through a strainer to remove anything that didn't sound self-important, and handed me the glass, I'd take a sip and say "Eww, this tastes like Acedia!" before politely handing it back.

Sobriquet Grade: I'm going to skip the "it's not punk, so it's an F" reasoning and go with a 63 (D). Here's why:
63-66: D
Lousy. Perhaps listen-able, but not really enjoyable. Have you ever been in the car with someone who has horrible taste in music but insists that something they like is right up your alley? Chances are it's a D record.


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