Friday, May 14, 2010

Hellas Mounds - New heaven/New Earth (Saw Her Ghost Records 2010)

I cut my teeth on : Isis, Pelican, Nadja, Mouth of The Architect , Sonic Youth, Godspeed You Black Emperor, and countless other bands, who manage to go from perfectly silent to airport runway loud in seconds without any hint that the change is coming, but just through sheer intuition and genuine improvisation they pull it off. Already hooked on the SHG label through the heavy and gnarly sounds of fellow labelmates: Beast In The Field, and Supracontinent, I knew that I had to give this one a try and they say third times the charm, and this one not only blew everything out of the water…it fucking blew the entire Pacific Ocean right out of the entire rim!!!!!! There’s fathomless depth within this music that far surpasses accurate or even fair description in words, it’s as if I’m trying to explain a vivid dream and expect anyone other than myself to understand the feeling and experience. This is personal music, the exact expression through music of that perfect moment of inspiration when you begin to feel as if you’re floating.

Based out of Phoenix/Tempe Arizona, this group chooses to bring to us the imagery of the prehistoric rock formations with the sandstone colors of a sunset etched with the stories of Earths volatile and constantly evolving lifetime. It’s as if you were actually walking in a Dali painting, with the ocean hovering above the seabed, hour glasses run upside and the clocks melt against a vibrant colored horizon. I don’t normally go into this much detail, but I’m so mesmerized with this band that I feel the need to drag you all into it with me. This stuff is so intense that it almost makes me cry for some reason although it’s not due to sadness, but rather an overwhelming sense of emotion coming to the surface.

Passage I: The sound of bells ringing and a gentle dessert breeze lures you into the next track.

Movement I: The surreal and intricate arpeggio introduces you to the feeling of freedom and pure open space as a mildly reverb effect guitar swoops slowly in like a bird from behind the massive rock formations. The amount of detail caught in the sound alone is as overwhelming as a perfect dream that you force yourself not to wake up from out of fear of losing that sensation. If there was an authentic and accurate way to describe what it would feel like to leave ones own body this album would be it. At times it reminds me of part Isis “Oceanic”, where the music is as equally ethereal as it is mysterious and almost sad, sort of like the feeling of being lost and wandering without aim or ambition. I also distinctly hear hints of La Otracina “ Tonal Eclipse of the One”.

Movement II: On a continual flow from “Movement I” the heaviness of the guitar comes in to deliver riffs in waves that crash against the geological formations as you stand at the bottom of what once was the bottom of an ocean. There’s a psychedelic, still Tonal Eclipse, sensation that continues to feed the listeners state of higher consciousness as it’s 10 minutes of psychedelic bliss wash over in gentle waves of reverb guitar as the almost silent “Passage II” guides you farther along into the next movement.

Movement III: Another melodic, dreamlike experience comes your way as the climax begins to make its presence known. A distorted psychedelic guitar solo surrounds you as swirls and spirals like cosmic waves through space. Listening to this album reminds me of the experience I had seeing the Mermen play last summer, it’s this odd feeling of euphoria through emotional and serene reverb and tremolo effect, no vocals or words to distract you…it’s just an absolute etherworld trip done without any physical travel. And one more thing that makes it so damn genius is that they get you into this trance then they come in loud and strong with the climax that spins your head and causes your brain to melt.

I rarely hear anything this dynamic to where I can actual feel the story of the Earths formation and continual transformation through a mind altering listen without any chemical help. Music that moves like this stuff does is truly timeless, now if only I could luck out to get to see these guys live sometime soon

Sensible Nectar/Gorgonized Dorks split (Rainbow Bridge Label)

Attention experimental fans: this one is a definite release to check out! Two extremely awesome underground, DIY , improvisation, electronic effect gurus collaborate to bring to cassette some of the freshest avantgarde in years. Imagine tape manipulation (Nurse With Wound) and knob twitching as hums and buzzes of electronic sound fade in and out, unevenly yet still maintain a certain rhythm and flow. That's roughly what you get here with Sensible Nectar, although there really is nothing "sensible" here except the sense-ations of live and uncompromising editing and manipulation of sound. Take the best noise elements of the cranky and crackling old tube amp analogue feedback when you get too close to it with the guitar and it gives you those awesome fuzzes, pops, hisses, and screeches and then add some sparse vocals of an industrial nature and that's what you have here.

"Apathy" opens up with the what could be described as Jimi Hendrix trying to solo in the middle of a strong magnetic field, the pickups cut out, the wah is extended and the warm fuzz of the guitar and synth output blankets over you in layers of dense vibrations as the screech of guitar feedback lurks behind it all.

"I'm No Man's Slave" is a definite power industrial, heavily effected spoken word track that immediately calls to mind the vocal effects of: Brighter Death Now, Painslut, Stahlwerk 9, Rasthof Dachau, and company, but coming through as a bad signal on an old transistor radio. In fact most of SN's contributions on this split could accurately be described as: the sound that you would get trying to get a shortwave transmission on an old transister radio, complete with jarbled and inaudbible speech, hints of some music from other signals crossing, and all of the hisses, pops and brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrbbbbb...eeeeeeeeeeeeek....rrrrrrrrrrrnk your grandpa would swear at during the second world war when his nightly programs were interrupted by bad weather or the interference from the war itself.

The equally insane and incoherrent electronic rambling from Gorgonized Dorks pierces another nice hole in your eardrum. Thunderous rumbles of low-end noise, filtered through something, and throbbing like your thumb after you just jammed it as you closed the door on it by mistake. I bet these guys would both be leveling to see live as both are welcome additions to the world of extreme audio. The general sound of Gorgonized Dorks lends itself more to a looser, but equally noisey and massive sound and intensity as power electronics does, but they also manage to soften it just a bit through analogue equipment and less of a sense of rage and agression. This may not bash your cranium in or lash at you with venom dipped chains, but it'll definitely blow the roof off when played at the right volume. Also guaranteed to piss others off.

Sektor 304 - Soul Cleansing

What to say about this Portuguese dark electronic/industrial outfit except that it is the sound of the industrialized world, amost cyborg at times, rusty and barren. As you listen you begin to visualize the true feel of oppression and post apocalyptic scenarios. Close your eyes and see: old delapitated junkyards of electronic waste, where the run off from the first rains of the season are washing the circuit boards gently as they corrode like the morals of this modern world. The toxic stream trickles away from the mountain ranges of cheap plastic and mercury as it stains the Earth with its invisible cargo of carcinogens and ecological homicide. The pummeling of cold steel rhythms and rusted pipes beat a march of silent death to those forced to live in this contamination. The buzzing behind you of electronics circle, in and out, and around like a vulture watching for the next corpse to pick from as the booming voice from amidst this sonic chaos of the man-made machine jungle screams out like a totalitarian dictator. This is the sound of the machine made apocalypse, man is held captive to technology and forced, often violently, to have his sanity raped at the discretion of the machine.

"Body Hammer", is the sound of being held captive in a death camp under a totalitarian regime. You can only see shadows through what used to be your eyes before they were burned out by an acid wash. In this pseudo-darkness of greys you hear the whirring of a drill, stricken with fear you realize the worst. You don't need your eyes to see what's going on, the prisoner next to you cannot scream, as his tongue has been torn out, but the sound of the drill and the feel of the wriggling of the body is enough to paint the most vivid picture in your mind.

When I think of industrial, I think of the sounds of the decaying modern world. Percussive instruments are 50 gallon drums, rusted pipes, industrial grade chains, and broken glass. Power tools and engines obtain more than just a machanical utility and become an atmospheric element amidst the "Whirring" of electronic effects and sampled vocals. The voices are only half cipherable as they are fused between electronic and human sound. Fans of Einsturzende Neubauten, Deutsch Nepal, Throbbing Gristle, Nurse With Wound, Dissecting Table, Nordvargr, MZ.412,and Bastard Noise take note. High voltage audio sadism is contained within, prepare to be shocked and your mind warped as you peruse this depraved and desperate experience. One of the best mindfucks around, this will steal your soul and scald it 'til it's pure again!!!!

Yen Pox - Blood Music (Malignant Records 2010)

Whizzing and humming sounds entrance you as they slowly render you incapable of turning back.
You can almost make out familiar sounds, but not enough to save you as you go deeper and traverse into the rabbithole of your subconsciousness. Not too far into the journey you begin to ask yourself, "What do I hear approaching?". You wonder, is it wind streaming through the concrete cavern in which you currently wander ? Could it be trains pulling into a station with the screeching of the brakes and the echoes in the hollow tunnels of motion and the traffic of life around you? Make no mistake, there MUST be something in the near distance, but by now even the near distance is too far from where you're at to bring you out of the trance.

Imagine sleep walking in a subway tunnel, along the tracks where the trains no longer run, but you can still hear them and feel the vibrations as they approach your location along their old abandoned route. The only catch is that they never arrive, yet you sense them as if they were streamlining right toward you from well within the damp and murky void that you are venturing into. You begin to imagine that there are people around you as you head toward this dim light at, what you imagaine, is the end of the track, but there aren’t any, no one is there nor will they ever be except you. You continue to wander aimlessly through the tunnels as you see that mirage of faint green and yellow light peer around the winding tunnels illuminating your maze, but will never lead you out. The sound and feel of motion surrounds you, the presence of human and machine is felt, but neither one is really there. Completely unaware of your altered reality you will continue to pursue your route through this labyrinth of soundscapes and meditative states. You will continue on this trek, unconscious and unaware as the sounds resonate in your mind and encompass you until you eventually come out of your somnial experience to realize that it WAS, in fact, only a dream. That’s the power Yen Pox, resonating and genuinely surreal audio for the expedition through your own mind where your experience is only your own.

Warning: Contents may cause the listener to accidentally slip out of consciousness at any given time during the listening. Do not operate heavy machinery while under the influence. Use of mind altering substances while listening to this album may cause the user to become delusional. Contents may induce a hypnotic state. Take caution when using this product as it may cause hallucinations and stimulate an overactive imagination. Those with mental illnesses such as Schizophrenia, paranoia, and various froms of psychosis are especially susceptible to irreversible effects. Indeed this is some fathomless and epic music.

Monday, May 10, 2010

I Shalt Become - Poison (Moribund 2010)

Attention: all assholes that think/thought that symphonic means “For Pussies”, this album along with acts like Hellveto are reinventing the style by giving it a true demonic possession that nothing can exorcise. I would really have to say that this release not only towers over others in that style but is even one for those of us who really enjoy the neo-classical/black ambient/ martial/ black-folk stuff. Honestly, it’s not everyday that something comes my way that is so intense that it busts my jaw open so and I have to review it ASAP before the shock wears off and I lose my initial thoughts on the album. I’ve been hearing about this USBM project for some time now and expected something along these lines, but not being this brilliantly evil and haunting of a BM soundtrack to an occult symphony of horrors and pure depression. I’m thrown off, but not disappointed as this is some wicked shit.

If there was one album that I’ve heard in a few years that screams out “Soundtrack to old silent horror films” this would be the one, and that’s a long list to top. Poison is not an album to go into with any expectations; it’s a soundtrack to a weird dream, a “Little shop of Horrors”, a tragic tale of loneliness and even victory, only to be experienced, and not just heard. It reminds me of the original Nosferatu, Vampyr, and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari films, where a monster is resurrected in the night and reigns terror over the villagers through nightmares and murders. Not quite a symphony for the depraved but is definitely sinister and essential for those who like the real sound of darkness and mystery. Highly recommended for fans of: Velvet Cacoon, Gnaw Their Tongues, Alcest, Caina, Hellveto, Blood of the Black Owl, Summoning, Gravsahl, Brown Jenkins, Ebonillumini, Finnr’s Cane; but I’d say that anyone into: Steinklang/Ahnstern releases, Cold Meat Industry, Tesco, Old Europa CafĂ©, Soleil Moon, Cold Spring, and the War Office Propaganda labels will definitely appreciate this one.

The sound coming from this album is so cold at times that it will freeze your blood in an instant, then it proceeds to put you into a state of hypothermia, that’s the level of dynamics here. If it’s not the piano on “Leaving the Watership Down”, or the presence of female ethereal vocals buried within the violins and distorted guitar on “Harlow’s Vertical Chamber Apparatus”, it’s the sound of something haunting within the mix that really brings this album together. There’s even some raw BM aggression that stirs within and becomes violent and manifested on “ No Quarter at the Somme”. The sound here is HUGE, actually MASSIVE, so much that you’d swear this was a real orchestra, and each track flows perfectly into the next without any interruption. The musicianship, production, composition, atmosphere, and experience are perfect. I will almost guarantee that this is an album that not too many will have ever heard before.