Joshua Porter, more commonly known as Josh Dies, has kept himself busy in 2007. He's finished a novel (including the publishing and distribution on his own), written and recorded TWO new albums with his band Showbread, and he even found time to get married. In the midst of all that, he went even further and created a solo album under the name Dies.
As an artist, it's clear that Josh strives to create something different than ever he has before. No two Showbread albums are quite the same, and that trend follows into this side project, entitled The Aesthetics of Violence. While guitars do make guest appearances throughout portions of the record, the majority of the music is comprised of a load of synth-laden beats and strange noises, some even sounding like effects taken directly from an old 8-bit Nintendo game. The only exception is the last song, "My Bride, When You Think," which is sung over a simple acoustic guitar rhythm and soft piano. Other than that, it's very much like listening to the music contained on an old Mortal record, combined with some of Nine Inch Nails' newer stuff.
However, Dies is not similar to Nine Inch Nails in the lyrics. Topics of the songs vary throughout the album, written in the way that only Josh Dies can write. He speaks on the pride of humankind in the "Gojira" ("Remind me how you know it all, remind me of your glory, don't forget to tell yourself and get lost in the story"), and there's vague references to God in "The Me Just Comes Apart" ("Tear out the dark parts, make most of me just You, the me just comes apart"). But one of Josh's favorite subjects finds its way into a song as well. He likes to write about the love for his wife and connect it to the Creator of that love. In the album closer "My Bride, When You Think," he reminds his wife to also think of God when she thinks of her husband ("My bride when you think of our love, think of He whose pen scribed it").
As strange as Dies' music and lyrics may be (and even those of Showbread for that matter), Jesus is never left out of the picture. It's always something to look forward to in a project that Josh is involved in. However, there are a few negatives, mainly with the sound quality. There are a few volume control issues, with some tracks being louder than others, and most of the vocals are drowned out by the music, and are oftentimes hard to understand. In addition to that, there are a lot of non-creative vocal patterns.
When all is said and done, The Aesthetics of Violence turns out to be a decent album. Not quite up to par with a Showbread album, and not as great as was expected, but it's definitely still worth a few listens or more.- Review date: 12/11/07, written by Scott Fryberger
Record Label: (independent)
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