Adult Problems - The Unstoppable Death Machines Are So Fun It Makes Me AngryBy Zachary Lipez
Despite my set and bitter ways, I love the Unstoppable Death Machines. They were nice enough to give Noisey a siiiiick preview song, "Once In A Lifetime," from their new album.
Unstoppable Death Machines - "Once In A Lifetime"
I’ll get back to them later.
Occasionally, like when I’m trying to last longer in bed, I’ll read heavy metal comment threads. The good ones are not just coitus-numbing, they’re also generally pretty smart. Sorry to burst any bubbles on either side of the bubble fence, but Darkthrone fans tend to be graduate students. One of the more interesting ideas I’ve come across is the idea of the metal sense of the individual versus the punk/hardcore sense of “community.” The gist is that heavy metal is, by its nature, about the listener as the ultimate outsider, even if he/she is a dragon slaying adventurer, while punk/hardcore is about the listener being part of a group of outsiders, living in opposition to larger society, sure, but still part of a group: the punx, the scene. As times have changed and the subculture divisions have frayed, metal has also become more community and “scene” based, and that bums some dragon-slayers out.
I’m more partial to punk and hardcore myself, both the music and the aesthetics (though I’ve been known to play a mean 8th level Cleric when called upon to do so). I still never related to the music or message of heavy metal, I just wanted Food Not Bombs to like me. But as I’ve grown older, the notion of “community” means less and less to me—at least, a community based solely on t-shirts and facile politics. I’m more drawn to the heavy metal notion of the lone adventurer, adolescent as it may be; I want to be Chaotic Neutral.
I was thinking about community and its discontents (in this case: me) while dwelling on a West Coast Scientologist band that the kids love, I can’t stand, and I’m not going to name ‘cuz I’m trying to not be negative on the Internet. I saw this band a couple years ago and it made me never want to smile again. It was so positive and community-based and joyful that I felt the same rage I felt at every pep rally I’d ever seethed in the corner of. If this was punk or alternative or whatever, I wanted no part of it. At what time had “fun” become the point? I’ve always hated fun, in all of its insidious guises. Fun is the sleep of death. Stop telling me to smile. When Emma Goldman said all that hoo-haw about not wanting to be part of a revolution that didn’t have dancing, she didn’t know Steve Aoki was going to be the DJ.
So of course, saying all this, I should totally hate Queens’ pride, the Unstoppable Death Machines. They are massively into community. The Tucci brothers have taken their Crimpshrine by way of Godflesh (I know that sounds terrible…it works) noise pop-punk operation all over the country, playing from basements to their hometown Queens Museum of Art. Basically, their pedigree should annoy the shit out of me. It doesn’t. I think the difference between them and a large number of their peers is that, though I won’t argue that their shows aren’t fun, that doesn’t seem to be the initial impulse. The initial impulse sounds like desperation and hunger, the need to set fire to the larger society that never did you any harm…or so they’d have you believe. I can get behind these impulses, and I don’t mind having them shared by kids in Day-Glo flip caps stage diving, I guess. Unstoppable Death Machines’ sense of community doesn’t seem like the feel good insularity of so much else of what indie culture has become. Their Do-It-Yourselfness seems actually worth doing.
It also helps that the Death Machines more Hawkwind-ish tendencies allow the listener (that’s me, eventually you) to indulge that same adventure fantasy that good metal, in theory, allows. I listened to the new album four times, and every time, my Charisma, Strength, and Dexterity rose until I was eventually Paladine (Google it). Now I’m a god and it’s awesome.
Unstoppable Death Machines have a new album coming out this month, We Come In Peace, on Last Ever Records. It comes in colored vinyl, so you can hoard it and someday send your little Park Slope brat to DIY U with the proceeds from your Mars eBay auction. The album artwork is by the hyper-talented Cheryl Arent. The release party is August 23rd at Shea Stadium. I’ll be the one getting jostled and trying not to smile.