Review: Blattaria – Dream, Dwell, Die (A Fine Day to Die, Oct 18)

Blattaria gets it. Every chill of enveloping existential dread that has run down your spine, every onslaught of unbearable misery and grief, every modicum of self-hatred, misanthropy, nihilism, and complete despair you’ve ever felt—they give name, and sound, to it all. The solo project of Oklahoma-based multi-instrumentalist Manuel Garcia, Blattaria weaves labyrinthine networks of dissonant, angular riffs, disarming meters and unconventional arrangements, and fluid drumming that never seems clinical yet aligns perfectly with every stab of chromatic climb or half-time transition. After “Intro” begins the new record Dream, Dwell, Die, I doubt a more fitting opener than “Web of Thoughts” could have been selected; not only does the mental image the title evokes mirror the spidery complexity of the music itself, but the lyrics move beyond the vileness and vehement loathing for humankind common in almost all black metal of this sort into a realm of deeply personal confession: “The walls are melting, / my vision is distorted, / anxiety attacks in waves, random memories appear before me. // I am suffocating in a massive / web of thoughts. // Perception is poison, / a curse that cannot be removed, / unless you kill the mind.” Beyond giving me flashbacks to a particularly horrible acid trip that nearly ended in me taking my own life, these words lend a new level of hatefulness to Blattaria’s music, making Dream, Dwell, Die a strong contender for the project’s best work yet. I’ll be coming back for the gloriously unhinged chaos of “I Hear the Insects…” alone many, many times.

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