Construkt – In Vein

Construkt
In Vein

– How about your last song… “I Got an Office Job for the Sole Purpose of Sexually Harassing Women.”
– What about it?
– I don’t think you need an office job just to do that.
– That’s just for a song, you know? I mean, all the bands you fuckin’ write about … all like famously gay death metal things …they’re all like skinny 16-year-old kids singing about how they’re going to kill someone. They’re all a bunch of pussies anyway. Who’s gonna write about something they’re actually gonna do?

Taken from an interview with Anal Cunt, this quote reveals a truth about forms of hardcore music with grotesque themes (hereafter referred to tongue-in-cheek as “Horrorcore”). Simply put, its all for show. Construkt follows the lineage of bands like Slipknot, Bile, and Insane Clown Posse (tracing further back to Twisted Sister, Alice Cooper, and Kiss). Judging from their hiring of a promotional manager, their production of a music video, and hawking of merchandise via their homepage, they seek the greatest possible audience for their music – striving for the popularity and (harmless) shock value of Nine Inch Nails or Marilyn Manson. I have no problem with bands promoting themselves as dangerous freaks or rebels, as it represents a healthy form of catharsis. The problem arises when Horrorcore bands lapse into discussions of their music as being somehow more “pure” than “wanna-be punk bands” or other “posers.” Construkt falls into this trap, tarnishing their somewhat original approach to a largely mediocre style.

At first listen, “In Vein” appears to follow a pre-set formula: soft brooding guitar-arpeggios and fluid-bass riffs support a growing chant of cliched vocals, the mix growing repetitively until it breaks out into guttural growls of slight variations on the lyrics (you might get a sort of punchline here expected to shock your parents and hook your fans), and a full-ahead distorted instrumental power-groove. The thing is, that immediately after this happens, Construkt does something unusual by focusing on an electric cello that guides the rest of the band and plays off the bass in interesting ways. The unique sound is enough to keep you listening despite the annoying lyrical repetition and the careless vocal mixing.

None the less, their touting of their schtick as being superior to other styles smacks of truly misguided elitism. Horrorcore, while it can be fun, is inherently insincere. Not to say that fantasy should not be fostered, as it is often more accessible than reality. The problem is, when debauchery is the sole purported purpose of a group, why should we pay attention to any band who is less than the real thing? Why accept anything less than true self-destruction (G.G. Allen, COUM Transmissions) or grave desecration or murder (Emperor, Mayhem)? Construkt claim that they have raised the bar of hardcore by adding an electric cello … ok, just because your movie has a theramin in it, that doesn’t make the script any better. Creating an environment where people can feel free to let off a little steam is great (something that most indie scenes frown upon these days), but why does the biggest concern have to be how popular your band can become? I’m afraid there are a hundred bands out there like Construkt who once they have differentiated themselves by some gimmick, think their creative job is done and work hard only to build a loyal fanbase, garner publicity, and sign a record deal. At least in early 80s hardcore, despite an equal level of stupidity, there were beacons like the poetry of Darby Crash, the intellect of D. Boon, or the tenacity of Bad Brains. Anyone can dye their hair and jump around in their boxers, but please show me just one Horrorcore band that has something to say. I don’t mean to pick on an obscure and struggling group so much, but I think they represent a bigger problem in music. Commodified, stylized, joyless, painless rock music really is horrifying.