Distributor/label [URL]: https://acephalewinter.bandcamp.com
Buy Album [URL]: https://acephalewinter.bandcamp.com/album/little-stories-told-by-ghosts
Band Website: https://www.facebook.com/Dunnock-302498556520398/
1. Young Woman’s Body – Fell’s Point – 1988
2. Young Boy’s Body – Deritis Playground – 1996
3. Teen Girl’s Body – Clam Beach – 1963
4. Middle Aged Man’s Body – Fish Creek – 2002
Dunnock are an ‘untrue’ black metal duo from San Francisco. Their music also has punk, noise and ambient influences, as well as it having spoken word poetry. ‘Little Stories Told by Ghosts’ is the band’s second album and is the result of on and off work, over the course of five years. It tells the story of four fictional murders near bodies of water that were important to band leader, Thomas’s childhood. The music is narrated by the dead victims in four epic tracks, each around 12 to 15 minutes long.
Black metal is very well known for being hard on the ears, this music however, takes things a whole lot further. The production is SO harsh at times, it is more of an intellectual curiosity rather than something that can really be enjoyed. At least for the vast majority of the population. Sure you can call this stuff art, just as you can call an untidy room art, but neither are arguably impressive in any way. Not only that, much of this stuff is way more minimalist than typical, more contemporary BM. That wouldn’t necessarily be a problem, but some of the ideas these people repeat border on childlike. They do create a certain hypnotic and even different effect, but usually concepts have to be really effective if they are to be milked for everything they have.
So the music isn’t too good and many of the hardcore even, would call it terrible. That’s understandable, but it does create certain atmospheres, at least. However, many of those are rather predictably horrifying, as one might expect, which is a little disappointing. There are some stand-out parts that follow the expected craziness. They are really calm and even poignant, and bring to mind the sadness and despair of death, rather than the more obvious, traumatic thoughts. The album is begging for more of that creativity. Other times (relatively) pleasant and static keyboard chords merely offer breathers rather than anything that is enjoyed. Having said that, the last half of the final track is a very good example of ambient music done well.
In conclusion, not only will the majority of this not be worth listening to for many metal fans, most would prefer silence. The band’s concepts and sources of inspiration are interesting, at least in theory, but they don’t seem to have the skill to pull off their vision. Or alternatively, they have little sense of taste; in my opinion, of course. Is it worth buying? It might be, if you enjoy having really obscure albums in your collection as many do, or maybe if you like to go on weird though emotional, perhaps painful journeys. Just don’t expect many decent riffs or tunes.
Review by Simon Wiedemann