Wagner Reloaded – Live in Leipzig
Street: 11.19.13
Apocalyptica = Metallica + Mussorgsky + Yanni
A walk to the Clean-Air Rally was my occasion to hear the latest from Europe’s darling doom-cello quartet. At first, Wagner Reloaded filled my ear buds with drones evoking the bleak and forlorn honking of Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes, a sextet for brass and foghorns. But the promised ambient excursion was soon compromised by a sprinkle of audience applause. It broke as neither barroom hollering nor stadium cheers, but, rather, the socially mandated manifestation of mass approbation, and one sounding suspiciously studio-produced. Thereupon commenced an hour of overripe and sodden symphonic salmagundi. Whether wallowing in themes cut and pasted from Beethoven, maudlin lullabies (with sampled baby prattle) or the most domesticated of Phrygian exoticism, the album consistently eschews any of the rapturous chromatism Wagner used to drown and annihilate the bourgeois ego. In this mendaciously misnamed cyclops, every wart and wrinkle oozes with narcissistic libido. It is unsuitable even for guilty listening. –Brian Kubarycz