The Great Tyrant - The Trouble With Being Born

by Gerry Hathaway Rating:8 Release Date:2015-10-30

Brimming with wry madness and theatrical whim, The Trouble with Being Born is the posthumous second and final release by Texas’s The Great Tyrant, released October 30 via Relapse Records. Recorded between 2006 and 2009, it marks the final recordings of bassist Tommy Atkins before his untimely passing in 2010. Remaining members Daron Beck and John Teague would soldier on to form Pinkish Black the same year and have since released three intensely dark records as a duo. T

he Great Tyrant’s sound was a unique amalgamation of proto-industrial, drone, doom metal, goth, and post-punk. All of these styles are represented in equal measure on The Trouble with Being Born.

The songs are anchored by Atkins’ hypnotic fuzzed-out basslines and Teague’s crashing drums, while Beck moans, snarls, and screams in barely controlled lunacy as his abrasive synths and swirling organ densely layer each track. The production is suitably rough and dirty while retaining a rich macabre undercurrent. Closing In and Softly, Everyone Dies lend a demented circus feel to the record with unnerving Calliope progressions as Beck’s anguished laments take center stage for some impressive vocal histrionics. Elsewhere the title track & The Apple of Your Eye use repetitious bass patterns as open canvas for Beck’s distorted synth leads.

The cavernous Handholder plods on for 8 minutes of droning fuzz while Beck’s drawn-out bellowing gives the track a pleasing hymn-like quality. I Don’t Come Down is less interesting, comprised mostly of cacophonous distortion. Take Care is the creative epicenter of the album, a schizophrenic romp morphing from funereal show tune melodrama into trudging horror –drenched atmosphere. The record ends with the eccentric chants of Weidorje, where Beck’s melodic croon locks in with a progressive piano motif and Teague’s march-like rhythms.  

Ultimately, The Trouble with Being Born serves as fine coda for The Great Tyrant, as well as an important segue into what would later become Pinkish Black. The band’s ability to combine several subversive genres into an appealing original sound is a refreshing change from the torpid sameness of the current heavy music scene. Fans of Godflesh, Controlled Bleeding, Mr. Bungle, early Type O Negative, & Swans will thoroughly enjoy the thrilling caricatures displayed on The Trouble with Being Born. 

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