Saturday, March 1, 2008

X TREME-UNCTION, Venial Sins (cassette, 1990)

First things first: Mite, I have a couple things I want to ask you about the stuff you uploaded, but I don't know your e-mail. If you would e-mail me, I'd appreciate it.

That said, today's download, fittingly posted during the witching hour while the wind howls outside my door, is from X TREME-UNCTION. Yo, she-bitch! Let's go!

This was an Erik Purtle project. The cassette insert lists only initials for the band members, so I'm not sure who else was involved.

X TREME-UNCTION was:

E.P. (Erik Purtle)

D.H. (?)

J.McW. (?)

M.N. (?)

I'm terrible at puzzles, so if you know who any of these initials belong to, let me know.

Grog and Jen Simerlink are in the "thanx" list (as "Jen & Greg"), so maybe they know something. Jen was working with Erik at Reynolds & Reynolds at about this time.

X TREME-UNCTION didn't last very long, and I'm not even sure they ever played live. But this is good stuff: industrial, goth, punk, experimental noise rawk -- with creepy lyrics and lots of speech samples mixed in with the music. The perfect soundtrack for your next Halloween party, dungeon warming, or dark ritual involving group sex and human sacrifice.

Erik, I believe, had done a little time in DEMENTIA PRECOX before this, and it shows here. I don't think Venial Sins is a concept record (if it is, the concept escapes me), but it's got that flavor. Ambitious in scope and length (1 hr., 4 minutes running time) but mostly successful in that. This is the kind of thing I would've thought was cool in college, hated in my twenties (when I was entirely about math rock and emo), but have now come to a point where I can appreciate it again.

There is no live drummer. The insert lists equipment used as "Roland TR707 / Roland S-10 / Charvel, Kramer, Fender & Yamaha Guitars / Amplification by Ampeg, Peavy & Earth."

Ah yes... the finely honed, isometric throbbing of a brashly wielded TR-707! Unless you're a drummer, what's not to like?

I think the tape has held up remarkably well over the past 18 years -- still bright with little hiss (as usual, I removed whatever hiss there was in the post-processing). The cassette in the box is a TDK D90 with handwritten labels, so it's possible this was a higher fidelity advance copy. If there were actual production copies with professional typesetting and such, I've never seen one.

I love the artwork on this. The insert credits "layout" to "Sister I'm Poopin' Graphics," but no artist is mentioned. The skeleton picture looks to me like something that might have been cribbed from a book of woodcuts from the middle ages (or maybe the Romantic period). But there were any number of people doing graphics like this in Dayton in 1990, so it could be homegrown too.

"Extreme unction" is a pre-Vatican II term for the Roman Catholic sacrament of annointing the sick. It seems to be one of the few pre-Vatican II terms that is still widely understood and used among Catholics (who say they use it out of traditionalism, but I suspect more because it just sounds cool -- and it does sound cool, doesn't it? -- certainly makes for a great band name, and you won't be surprised to find that a Google search on "band extreme unction" yields at least four different groups using it before and since 1990 -- and that's just on the first page of results). It is popularly thought to be synonymous with the "last rites." However, extreme unction is only one of three sacraments that make up the last rites. The other two are penance (or confession) and Holy Viaticum (sort of like a "last communion"). These rites are supposed to be administered only to someone in probable and immediate danger of death (so you wouldn't administer the last rites to a cancer patient who still has a week or even a couple of days to live). Of the three, the most important seems to be the Viaticum. For dying soldiers on a battlefield, chaplains will sometimes skip everything else if they can get that one in.

A venial sin is any sin that is not a mortal sin. A mortal sin is a sin of such severity as to condemn the sinner to Hell should that sinner die without having confessed the sin (and been genuinely repentant for it) during the sacrament of penance. There are no specific criteria for what constitutes a mortal sin, but the basic elements are (1) that it is of great severity (e.g. murder, although some seemingly innocuous violations of church law such as eating less than two hours before taking communion are usually thought to be of the mortal variety), (2) that the sinner is aware of its severity (so if you eat before mass but you don't know that eating before mass is a severe sin, then you haven't committed a mortal sin), and (3) that the acts constituting the sin itself must be completed (so you haven't committed a mortal sin if you just plan a murder but never go through with it -- even if you didn't go through with it only because you were prevented by the police or something). If one is in danger of death and receives the Holy Viaticum without receiving penance, a mortal sin on one's soul is thought to be expunged, but in any case, the sinner must be truly repentant. Excommunication carries the same consequences as the commission of a mortal sin except that the excommunicant cannot avoid Hell through penance.

Don't look at me like that. I'm not the one who came up with this stuff.

Venial sins, as opposed to mortal sins, are lesser sins which, although they don't condemn the sinner to Hell, may require atonement in purgatory for some period of real time before the sinner ascends to Heaven. Examples of venial sins might include theft, various brands of coveting thy neighbor's whatever, or even a sin of omission--like purposely failing to feed the hungry or clothe the naked or visit the imprisoned or-- hey, wait a minute, how long do you think the current administration will have to spend in purgatory under that standard?

Track List:

1. Red
2. (Turn Me On) Deadman
3. In the Dark
4. 9th Doll Bummer 2
5. Daddy's Little Girl
6. Here's Your Drink Honey
7. Uncaged Girls
8. Beyond the House of Innocents
9. Sites
10. Visualization
11. Chances Are (I Hate You)
12. Questionable
13. Dollhouse
14. Theft

Download It! (92 MB) (link re-upped on 2-1-2013)


This was released under the imprint Rape Factory Records with a catalog number of RFR001 on the spine. I don't know of any other Rape Factory releases.

X TREME-UNCTION's Venial Sins crosses the veil of time and obscurity by the tender stewardship of the man called Grog.

take care

---Jones()

7 comments:

G said...

Great post Pat. I'll send you some more stuff on Xtreme-Unction soon. They did play at least one show...with the Oxymorons and we did a cover of Stigmata with Erik on vocals. I also have a few pics of the band on stage.

Christopher Jones said...

Nice blog (told you I'd check it out)...btw "unction" here is specificaly the anointing of oil on the forehead of the dying, from the Latin verb ungere.

Anyone who'd like to learn more about Latin can visit my blog at http://www.latinlanguage.us Sory, had to get a plug in there - CJJ

Angelle said...

I, on the other hand, love puzzles. Unfortunately I suck at them.

But I"m pretty sure that J.McW is Jeremy McWilliams, kin to Mondolux's Pat McWilliams.

The ChickenFish Speaks said...

OK, I was wrong and right. They did not play a show with the Oxymorons...that was Minus-One. However, they did play a show at the Zoo (formerly Baloonz). I just sent you scan of the flyer if you feel like posting it.

jones() said...

Here's some more information I recently got on this band:

"D.H." was Don Habil who did lighting and effects for Dementia Precox. He also contributed photography for their e.p. SCHP. I do not know who "J McW." or "M.N." are, but I do know that they were in a Thrash/Metal/Punk band called Hecatomb. I believe Eric Purtle and some of these guys went on to form Minus One and then Sick Minutes a few years later.

---moxy216@aol.com

take care

---Jones()

Anonymous said...

I just found this site. I like what you are doing and I hope it is still going. Just to clarify J McW is Jeremy McWilliams and he is my nephew. He was in Xtreme-Unction and the MN you are looking for is Max Nye. Habil and Purtle were also in the band.

I'm sure you don't remember me but I was originally in Don't Panic. I went on to be in Sick Minutes, Minus One and Mondolux.

I have been reading a ton of stuff here and really enjoy it. Very cool site Pat!

Anonymous said...

I just found this site. I like what you are doing and I hope it is still going. Just to clarify J McW is Jeremy McWilliams and he is my nephew. He was in Xtreme-Unction and the MN you are looking for is Max Nye. Habil and Purtle were also in the band.

I'm sure you don't remember me but I was originally in Don't Panic. I went on to be in Sick Minutes, Minus One and Mondolux.

I have been reading a ton of stuff here and really enjoy it. Very cool site Pat!