Wednesday, December 14, 2005


The Great Destroyer

When you discover that The Great Destroyer was recorded while lead singer/songwriter Alan Sparhawk was on the verge of a nervous breakdown, their seventh record takes on an extra weighted potency. During the tour behind their latest release, Sparhawk found himself unable to continue with Low and even issued a public statement published on their website explaining his status:

"I have not been very mentally stable for the last while. Due to this, touring at this time has become too much of a burden on everyone involved. My current problems and instability create undue and unnecessary stress for everyone close to me, especially on the road...[these] months have been some of the hardest to live through."

Destroyer is drenched with those heartbreaking sentiments and for them, an unprecedented aggression. Low is a band that, up to this point, had been known as a quiet, unimposing trio lulling their listeners into a gentle sway. And while The Great Destroyer is not a rollicking rock record per se, it is a vibrant one rife with distorted echoes and sharp anger. "Monkey," the opening song, repeats the beautiful harmonic threat/mantra "tonight the monkey dies" over and over, while "Everybody's Song" promises to break everybody's heart (and does). Later on, Low records possibly the most poignant two minutes and twenty-eight seconds ever caught on tape (the equally haunting video can be seen here). "Death Of A Salesman" tells the story of a man who eventually gives up his dream of being a musician and thereafter burns his guitar out of bitterness and disappointment. After hearing The Great Destroyer, we can only hope this isn't Sparhawk's subtle way of threatening us with permanent silence.


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