Noam Chomsky: linguistics scholar, leftwing political commentator, enemy of media propaganda, and now, inspiration for a metal EP. Considering the dark and dire nigh-apocalyptic tone running through much of the man's rhetoric, you can see how his ideas could have the power to inspire a metal song or three.
Hence, Metal Noam. But Avram is not the kind of politically-infused grindcore one might expect to accompany such politically-charged content. What listeners get is more like a cross-style sampler, a multi-genre extreme metal soundtrack for a few key concepts, a series of sonic juxtapositions as disparate as Chomsky's dry delivery and harsh message. Metal Noam is an intriguing and ambitious project. How to celebrate the work of such a prolific intellectual in under 15 minutes? How to do justice to the underlying complexities of his arguments while sampling just three main ideas? Chomsky speaks for himself on Avram, his orations and near-emotionless diatribes indicting capitalism's devaluing of human life, our apathy in the face of suffering and the war of the wealthy few against the less privileged majority.
Amanda Machina, working here with collaborators A. Darryl Moton and Nathan Carson, received permission to sample Chomsky before going ahead with the release, but one wonders what he must think of the final result. Avram is intriguing rather than satisfying, which in this case might be considered a success. The dramatic and unsettling spin through black metal, not-quite-pure heavy metal, doom and everything in between feels like a confrontation with a puzzle whose solution is just out of reach. (Mountastic Records)