originally written by Jim Brandon
I have this thing about albums that are peppered with incessant movie samples: I hate them, and think they’re fucking stupid. So why the hell did I pick Graf Orlock’s Destination Time Yesterday to review? Well, when these supposed California film students aren’t killing the momentum of this album with tired movie dialogue, they actually throw out some rather caustic grindcore. The story behind the band is somewhat amusing, it seems they prefer to call their albums ‘soundtracks’. That’s fine. If they think it’s a fresh way to look at music, they can. I’m not buying it. Literally.
It goes like this: we get a clip from a movie, followed immediately by a quick drumming intro, then screaming and blastbeats over jagged, tense grind riffs. More screams, more blasts, a ton of groove, more screams, another movie sample, lather, rinse, and repeat. Far too abrasive to be considered hardcore, or even metalcore, Graf Orlock is in a perpetual state of frantic, spastic lunacy throughout. They put on a virtual riff clinic the likes of which Pig Destroyer and Hewhocorrupts fans might find quite stimulating, and the vocals, apparently partially performed by a twelve or thirteen-year-old former child actor named Kalvin Kristoff, are of the coarse scream/shout variety and effectively add to the disjointed feel of Destination Time Yesterday. The musicianship is quite wicked with flashes of virtuoso technical ability by way of unexpected lead flurries, and the overall execution, honestly, is tighter than a clamshell no matter how ballistic the music becomes. I must give kudos in that regard, for there are no frayed ends when it comes to technique in the Graf Orlock camp.
By the by, wasn’t that the name of the vampire in Nosferatu? Anyway…
Beyond the samples and mayhem, the songwriting is almost nonexistent. It’s just one part attached to another part, and so on, without any real flow or cohesion in even a chaotic yet manageable way. A few of the choice riffs are just devastating, but none of it sticks since the songs whack you in the mush with a wall of sound that slides right off as soon as it’s over. Teflon Grind, I’d call it. No adhesion, and nothing to remember about it after it’s done other than you just experienced roughly a half hour of craziness with parts of movies thrown in, without much to show for it. Highlight tracks? Please, I can’t tell one song from the other after a while.
Maybe that’s your thing though. There are movie lovers out there who appreciate a little pop culture thrown into their musical chaos as well. It probably just comes down to personal taste as to whether or not you enjoy the Killwhitneydead style of metal (and no, musically the two bands sound absolutely nothing alike). I don’t, but this album isn’t worthless, just very, very noisy, loud, and ultimately forgettable to anyone who doesn’t love this genre. If it helps, I’d take Destination Time Yesterday over So Pretty So Plastic any time. For the collectors, it’s most definitely worth a shot, and isn’t garbage at all, but for the rest of us, we have other (not necessarily better) things to do. This one’s for the niche crowd only, so get your eardrums ready for a thorough scraping.