Tartarean Desire. “Stendhal Syndrome” Review

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Rusty Eye – Stendhal Syndrome self-released, 2006

written by John Boden

Rusty Eye first crawled onto the musical map in 1995, in Mexico City. A three piece influenced heavily by the European metal stylings of bands like Venom, Iron Maiden, Celtic Frost and Motorhead. That is from the first paragraph or so of their two page bio sheet. Stendhal Syndrome is their fourth full length, and I can say at the forefront it is a tighter, more mature Rusty Eye than on their debut, Rust N’ Roll. Before getting onto the business of actual music review, allow me to babble about some cool things about this band that have nothing to do with their sound. They are cordial and tenacious self promoters. I first received a package with a pic and bio but no listening material, I e-mailed Miss Randall (drums & vox) and within 2 days a FedEx man knocked on my door and handed me an envelope with THREE discs. Their debut and a live one (neither of which I am reviewing other than to say if you purchase and like the new one, back track and snag these as well). Their promotional picture: Miss Randall is hotly sporting a bullet belt and Venom shirt. Nice! One of the other fellows is wearing a Goblin shirt (loads of coolness points there, I tell you; I have yet to meet anyone who know who Goblin is!?!). The last guy is wearing a King Diamond shirt. So they wear their influences on their sleeves, literally. Another few points for naming their cd after a Dario Argento film.

Now for the music. It took me repeated listens to decide I liked it. I like Miss Randall’s vocals and how they work wth the barely contained cacophony that is going on. It is the sound of controlled chaos, a dark edgy punk energy coming from a very dark place. The men are barking ferociously behind her urgent voice, all being propelled by chinking mechanistic guitar noise and thick bass lines, and an almost jazz like style of drumming. For an odd few moments this reminded me of the very first time I had heard Marilyn Manson, not that these bands sound at all alike but in that I knew I was hearing something very different but something that could find a nice home in a few thousand black adolescent hearts.

Stendhal Syndrome begins with the song, “Birds Of Prey” which starts quite abruptly, and is a ferocious back and forth duel between Miss Randall and Mr. Rust’s guttural vocals and awesome guitar lines. Dr. Deth is a very talented man indeed. “Turn it Up” follows with some cowbell and a chirpy guitar opening segueing into a lovely riffy metal gutter punk tune. The third track is a darkly somber instrumental, that offers as a misleading intro to “Mr. Cannibal” with its Maiden-style galloping leads taking us to the tongue in cheek lyrics concerning cannibalistic pining (wanting to be eaten). Next is the title track, a slower paced, churning, nearly instrumental piece with samples and odd chanted vocals. “Vermin,” another vocals free entry is maliciously melodic. “Cryonic Suspension” is like a sick fist fight between Babes In Toyland and early Megadeth, and the closer “Zombie” continues the feel of the disc: dark and heavy.

While I liked the cd I fear Rusty Eye are most certainly not for everyone and not for every metal fan, they may not be heavy enough for the diehard Euro metal types and too much for the gothic dark rawk fans. Alas, the mutant music lovers like me who walk the genre lines can just embrace them for ourselves.

1. Birds Of Prey
2. Turn It Up
3. Fear Of Heaven
4. Mr.Cannibal
5. Stendhal Syndrome
6. Vermin
7. Cryonic Suspension
8. Zombie

Playing time: 36:15