Quiet_man The_starving_lesson

Quiet Man - The Starving Lesson


“The soundtrack to the extinction of man, The Starving Lesson is a stark proclamation of the inevitable end. The beginning of the end, what will take root once we are gone?” This is the situation we are given, the question we are asked by the debut from Quiet Man.

Formerly known as God Root, Quiet Man is the natural progression of the former band’s sound, which was a very desolate, bleak brand of doom metal. With the new incarnation, Quiet Man builds upon what’s already there by infusing Post-Metal elements, more progressive arrangements, and loads of psychedelic atmosphere. Anguished, tortured howls amidst the oppressive riffs accompanied by spoken word passages and droning, tribal drums create a true sense of the apocalyptic.

Conceptually we are given a character whom I feel is a representation of modern man, living his life in a world that he is destroying, if only in a passive way. It’s a world that by simply living as society dictates, they are destroying.

Upon hearing the first few notes and lines of the opener “Pressure to Burrow”, it’s clear we are in a world where the thing has already happened, the damage has been dealt. We, along with the character, are asked to face the consequences of our actions. We’ve reached a point where those actions are, in a way, irrelevant. The earth has been scorched. The end has begun. “I can’t watch you die. Leaning with intent to fall. Fuck thoughts and prayers. I need no more dead friends.” The character is realizing the state of their world, but more importantly, they are realizing their role in the downfall of that world. “To burrow. I want to help but I can’t. Where have you gone, what have you done? And when I found her she said run. So I ran.” Fear of the end begins to grip the character, and they only want to hide from what they’ve done.

“From Tomorrow’s Dead Hiss” is an epic piece clocking in at just under 13 minutes. It serves as a lamentation to our chosen way of life. It asks the question “is man a cancer on the Earth?” It taunts us for our choices, for running races with no prizes, for causing irreversible damage to our earth for no reason other than that’s how we live. Are we a cancer? Perhaps. Is man’s true nature parasitic? Virulent? Are we the “antibuilder”? Musically it’s pure tension. Tortured, distorted chords with agonized screams and crashing percussion build up to a cacophony of despair and regret. About three minutes in, we are given a brief opportunity to reflect, as everything’s gets quiet and contemplative. Words are whispered then screamed then whispered again: “It’s a race against nothing. Against a false lack. Against no track and for no prize. It’s always that way.” The tempo picks back up, the infernal chugging continues, only to completely break down half way thru, never to return. Slowly the sounds of night creep in. We are left in the wilderness, in our own long night. There is no redemption given. No closure to be had. Only the darkness we have chosen.

My favorite track, “Set to Boil is the New Standard” acts as the punishment we have set for ourselves. All at once we are faced with the reality that we ARE the machine, that we are the thing that has happened. Our complicity is confirmed, our role as the “thousand year bayonet” defined. The god we serve is revealed, the one god that matters: “For we know, there is but one god ($). And he is starving. Layer by layer they shape, thought form king, ghost boss, nongod.” The god is man made. It is the head we created to eat our own tail. There is a manic, hellish feel to this track. It bludgeons us with punishing riffs and sick psychedelia, before fading into obliteration.

“The Starving Lesson” is the title track and the last proper song on the album, with only a beautiful, contemplative outro to follow. This one has near Stoner levels of fuzz on it, and his moment of total silence that represents the nearly dead, almost lifeless world that remains. There is no more fire. No more smoke. No more violence. But not because of our remorse. Not because we made the right choice and turned the ship around, but because the world is in fact drained. We have pushed it beyond the brink. In the last two minutes the madness sets in. The starvation begun. We are left with nothing. The character too is faced with this nothingness. Mental exhaustion and physical starvation set in as they are faced with a dead world and their complicity in it.

The outro “All Along, We Were Beautiful Radiant Things” is a subdued, fuzzy piece of instrumental Doom that serves to emphasize the remaining bleakness, both internal and external. There is no hope going forward, only a twisted comfort in knowing what could have been if only we (the character, society) had changed course.

What will take root once we are gone? The band themselves state the album as such: “This isn’t rainbows and sunshine psych, this is peaking on acid in a car accident…” There is no happy ending. Whatever takes root beyond our existence isn’t for us to know. We had our time with this world and we destroyed it for personal gain. What did we gain? I’m not sure how to answer that, but as the listener, we are left with an epic masterpiece of Atmospheric Sludge Metal with aspects of Doom, Post-Metal, Noise, and Drone that demands our attention and rewards multiple listens.