“This is the new and many releases for a new wrestling company out of Fort Wayne.” So began the confusing letter that accompanied FWWA The Music Volume One, this CD that I just knew was going to steal a portion of my life that I would never get back. I mean, I’m 32 and, like any post-18 male who no longer lives in his mother’s basement, the world of professional or amateur wrestling has about as much appeal as my upcoming first prostate exam. But donning my semi-professional music reviewer’s stocking cap I did my best to push all these thoughts out of my mind for an objective review.
Only to find most of my worst fears objectively confirmed.
The ten tracks are theme songs for various local wrestlers. It is apparently anathema in the wrestling world to have a discernable melody … it’s almost as if vocals were planned but dropped at the last moment. If the intent is to read like incidental music and sit unobtrusively in the background without engaging the senses, they have done their part. Instrumental music is difficult to pull off effectively, usually relying heavily on the development of musical ideas to keep the listeners attention. However, with few exceptions, each track contained exactly two brief music ideas, alternating between the two without exploration or development, with the end result being about six minutes of ideas stretched to fill 33 minutes through sheer repetition.
The “FWWA Theme” opens the brain damage with a wicked sounding guitar over a very cheap drum machine and synth bass. Theme B is an aggressive guitar riff with unnerving production dynamic shifts. The theme for “Lethal Injection” is far and away the best on the album, a metal folding chair to the back of the head, starting with a very catchy, angular guitar riff before a muffled, throbbing, distorted beat enters, a beat that was certainly recorded outside the car of that kid who drives through my neighborhood. A lean guitar line adds variety and a pleasantly intense edge. “Manbeast,” however, is 3:26 of a five-second riff played over and over and over and over and over with sporadically placed jungle sound effects. The listener gets a bonus musical idea (a whopping three) in “N’dea,”, opening with strummed chords on a clean guitar over what has to be the cheesiest drum machine ever made by Casio. The highlight of the sedate song is a middle theme with some really cool bubbling synth sounds. “B.T.” has a much better drum machine to back up the ominous organ-like synth and gruff guitar power chords that give way to ear-catching guitar sounds in Theme B. “Sick March” has neat-o clanky synth tones matched with a bass drum so thin it sounds like a digital blip, “Coldharted” contains 40 seconds of the same four-second riff repeated without chord change (triple yawn) and audible punch-ins amongst the nice guitar playing, and “Locust” has a brief, ratty, caustic guitar riff that is looped for most of the song.
As a one-man project that sounds like it was recorded on a Fostex four track cassette machine, this is an ambitious first album from Antonio Demetrius Jenkins. For Volume Two may I suggest more like “Lethal Injection” and less like “V.I.”?
If you like wrestling more than you like music you should probably check things out at www.geocities.com/fwwa2000.
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