Theologian - Some Things Have To Be Endured
Crucial Blast
Industrial Black Metal
8 songs (46' 41")
Release year: 2013
Reviewed by Andy

Theologian's Some Things Have To Be Endured takes me back to some of the music I was listening to in the mid-90s, that fallow period between the metal-rich 80s and the easy accessibility of Internet metal sites. It was hard to get metal at the time, and when I couldn't find a new metal album, I'd turn to a genre that was in its heyday at that time: Industrial. Not to say that Some Things Have To Be Endured is straight-up industrial -- it has a foot in the metal scene -- but a lot of what made industrial so interesting back then is present on here and taken to a new level, and it only benefits as a result.

Having no experience with Theologian before, as the album started with Black Cavern Myopia, the soft, hissing lead-in and initial croaking vocals made me feel like I was about to hear an atmospheric black metal album, but then came a pounding, distant, and regular beat, like a factory machine starting up right away. Buried down in the machine comes sighed vocals, mostly male but with some female mixed in, synth tones, and a bit of guitar squirreled away as well down there. Ectothermism follows without drumbeats but with a regular rhythm kept up by deep synth tones, screams vaguely dredging up out of the pit the music seems to come out of -- is it choral singing, a long, drawn-out scream, or more synths? I can't tell, and one has a good chance to try to get a feel for it since it echoes in and out of almost seven minutes. Gore-Stained Ramparts starts even quieter, but partway through, electronic beats of static start echoing through the mix, getting louder and more metallic as the track continues and getting joined by more and more machinelike sounds.

This sounds like it would get rather boring, especially since I just got done giving a pretty low score to an atmospheric metal band that had a good share of static. But somehow it does not, partially because of its unpredictability, and partially because the static itself, as in many industrial tracks, is an instrument all its own, not a background effect. Grand Guignol gives the listener somewhat of a break from static-only instruments -- it is more melodic and drawn-out, with synths, loudly static drums, and wailed female vocals like a darker version of a techno diva. The next two are very similar, though less melodic and more effect-oriented, with groaned and indistinct vocals barely made out under the crackling layer of static and clanking machinery. Welcome to the Golden Age of Beggars puts the vocals on a reverb pedal to the background of high-pitched singing, somehow gentler, while Writhing Corpus Landscape continues the same vocals, but this time clean and sharp, like breaking through the confused pounding of the other tracks to the final core of the album. It has a very spacey feel, with a grand synthscape providing the background to industrial drumming that starts up after the mechanized-sounding spoken vocals are finished.

Some Things Have To Be Endured was introduced to me as industrial death metal, but there's very little "death" in it, and a whole lot of "industrial". That's not a bad thing at all, though. The lo-fi, static-filled production transforms here from a black-metal requirement for authenticity to an instrument in its own right that gives the album its unique, dark sound that is somehow still akin to metal in its abrasive heaviness. This is an interesting and masterfully composed album which is well worth listening to.

Killing Songs :
Black Cavern Myopia, Gore-Stained Ramparts, Grand Guignol, Writhing Corpus Landscape
Andy quoted 84 / 100
Other albums by Theologian that we have reviewed:
Theologian - A Means by Which to Break the Surface of the Real reviewed by Andy and quoted 69 / 100
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