Saturday, March 10, 2012

Steel Hook Prostheses – Cut Off the Nose to Spite the Face (Syzmic Records)

Cut Off the nose to Spite the Face is a compilation/anthology of rare/limited SHP  3 inches: Sadistic Surgery, Cold Embrace of an Iron Lung, Controlled Sense of Decay, and Violent Cutting Motion; an OOP 3LP, Hollow Eyes Behind a Sterile Mask; and a live performance in Dallas, Texas 2008 and at the Firehouse Gallery.

Live in Dallas, Texas (2008):
“Sickness and Plague” is one of those power electronic creations that captures that rolling thunder of distorted bass and heavily effect ridden, but still almost decipherable vocals, that has both a physically warm feeling from the electronic fuzz being generated that’s hypnotic yet the vocals come across like schizophrenic experience.

“Bedsore” is a sonic masterpiece of distortion sculpting and manipulation. The rhythm underneath sounds like machine motor cycling and creates this steady pulsing undertow that still manages to pull you with it even though it’s beneath so many other vibrating components, while the effects on the vocals sound like a scrambling of radio signals with precise and deliberate metallic scraping as opposed to electronic interference. Then to top it all off with this being recorded live, I can’t even imagine how intense the pressure in the room from the engine running sounds and seismic pulses must have been, I bet it could make someone feel as if they had a couple of lead vests resting on their chest.

Violent Cutting Motion 3-inch CD-r (2002):
“Violent Cutting Motion” sounds like an electrical storm, it’s controlled chaos through surgeon-like precision of piecing together analog whirrs, screeching subway rails, rhythmic bass surges, some vocals coming through like a news feed of some disaster that becomes entangled in this intricate web of frequencies and vibrations.

Controlled Sense of Decay 3-inch CD-r (2004):
“Untold Atrocities” sounds like a muffled field recording taken inside a wind tunnel, filtered and tweaked to bring out echoes, details, and then separate the many layers of sounds. It’s ironically droning and fuzzy, but simultaneously foreshadowing something morbid occurring in or around the source and coming closer and closer.

“Trepanation” is one of those iconic power electronic tracks that brings to mind sexual sadism and serial killers. I have no idea why, but it has something to do with the specific sounds used because they always make me think of being in a drugged stupor half conscious in some abandoned warehouse or factory. The constant buzzing rhythms, the machine-like whirring and “sawing” tones in the background really do sound like murder tools. “Forced Plastic Surgery” generates a similar scenario, but with more of the wind tunnel textures and a static saturated voice coming through the electric field, sort of like being put on the dissecting table and hearing a subway echo as it passes above the room.

Sadistic Surgery 3-inch CD-r (2003):
“Catheter (Live in Houston,Texas)” reminds me of the scene in  A Clockwork Orange where Alex is submitted to the electric shock treatment in the straightjacket and helmet full of electrodes.

“Burning Out Their Eyes” reminds me of the sado power electronic act Navicon Torture Technologies. The humming and droning electronic backdrop works almost like an anesthetic as the lighter laser phasing and static layers form a corrosive acid bath over the entire mix. There’s also a feeling of electrocution present that reeks of torture and an added burning sensation.

Cold Embrace of an Iron Lung 3-inch CD-r (2003):
“ Decayed Angel of Mercy” starts out like a storm on the horizon complete with thunder and a slowly closing in sense of impending Hell, it’s the calm before the storm, and what a fucking storm it becomes!!!! Halfway through the tempest brewing the sonic violence and insanity makes its debut as vocals of a lunatic preaching doom and despair to all amidst a sonic storm of static and thunder, the storm has hit and you’re in the eye of it.

“Iron Recluse” is a sonic drone on the surface present and a consistent buzzing that never gives way, but underneath, buried in rubble is elements of the explosion responsible for that rubble as it’s muddied and suffocated into a rhythm beneath the drone.

I was going to cover tracks from each of the components, but it’s getting to be a hearty task. Every tracks is extremely brilliant and the textures are almost tangible like you could run your fingers across them, breathe them in, or be painfully inflicted by them, so trying to cherry pick is relentless. If you are a SHP fanatic or interested in the power electronics realm, you cannot justify NOT having heard any SHP, let alone not owning this piece or it’s original components!!!! This 2xCD is limited to 500 copies so get it quick!!!! Nothing out there that I've ever experienced can capture death and insanity like SHP!!!!!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Anuus Altar – Miasmis Worship in Trance EP

As if the name wasn’t enough to make this ~ 10 minute investment of my time, the contents more than delivered the goods. Anuus Altaar is an obscure U.S. based artist that is described as black metal fused with noise, but in actuality it’s black metal vocals and atmospheres created through doomy industrial soundscapes. Anyone who can scratch their ass without the help of a GPS system knows what the difference is between noise and Anuus Altaar, in fact the closest similarities that immediately come to mind are to Reclusa and Fellatrix Morgue.

“The Shrouds of Megiddo” is a more upfront artillery fire drum machine industrial clusterfuck with passive ambient moments in between psychotic percussive bullets, which also lead into “Impious Masturbator” and show up again halfway through it.
The percussion on “Impious Masturbator”  is partially leftover from “The Shrouds…” but does have this really great almost classic industrial military stomp rhythm for a brief moment here and there, but the brilliance is in the timing and placing of the different rhythm components and creepy ambient blurbs. The atmosphere is always intense and dark, but those ambient pieces really bring in a supernatural and horror vibe to the entire album.

“Miasmic Worship in Trance” is my standout track. It starts out as a simple symphonic synth melody, then explodes into a Reclusa like sludgy industrial fit, and finally back to the machinegun drum machine that cycles back to the synth, and it’s that continual cycling of rhythmic elements and tempos that completely defines and glues the album together through all five tracks, which makes a short 10 minute EP play out like one long pulsing maggot caccoon. I seriously live for this type of stuff and have a growing pile of stuff to post in this style.

Apparently the name has changed to Jhesu Masturbator

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Stemcell Research Project – Charnel Houses (Syzmic Records 2012)

SRP is a new dark/horror ambient project from the diabolical and morose mastermind John Paul Whetzel, also notorious for his suicidal black metal/harsh noise/ambient fusion project Welter in Thy Blood and the murderous industrial grind of Pro-Death.

Charnel Houses accurately depicts what the name implies, dilapidated and abandoned old buildings with a history of inhuman atrocities that took place inside them. It reminds me of the documentary Cropsey and psychological thriller Session 9, both centered around real mental institutions that were shut down due to the torture and squalor that were inflicted upon the patients. The use of constant electronic whirring, many styles of it layered upon each other, with this eerie distorted screeching sound that fades in and out of the mix and what sounds like the distinctive whispering or heavy breathing “hoo hoo haa haa ha...” from Friday the 13th, captures the haunting atmosphere of an old crumbling house full of death and blood. “Cutting the Vessel” even has a doctors voice added in talking about cutting and blood, that is manipulated to where it sounds as though it’s a hallucination that I’m having through a drugged half conscious state while being mutilated alive.

“The Rite of Ossilegium” is a fluid and vaporous incantation that sounds like a voice from a past atrocity calling out as if the event was still taking place and I’m hearing it underwater, then it becomes a more distorted power electronic scream of blood choking anger. The handling of the field recordings, layering of various soft but dense effects to create a heavy fog, and the gradual changes from the quiet and subtle the dramatic as I traverse through “Transcending the Threshold” to the final stage of “Blackened Skeletal Remains” completely hypnotizes me and takes me into a place defined by absolute terror and sadistic violence. “Blackened Skeletal Remains” even has a field recording behind the distorted militaristic voice that could potentially be of a real hospital of institution.

It’s amazing to experience Charnel Houses, as it builds up from a simple and creepy beginning of “Transcending the Threshold” to the massive and dynamic mindfuck of “Blackened Skeletal Remains”. With each listen I pick up new details and horrific images and it never loses its mystery, suspense, or ability to accurately describe the cruel and abhorring nature of mankind. If you really want to experience something that will scare the shit out of someone ill equipped to handle the genuinely depraved and morbid and will definitely play out like a nightmarish supernatural experience that will take your mind to places that make your most gruesome fears seem trivial.

Strikemaster – Vicious Nightmare (

Leave it to the Riddick brothers to come up with a baddass label and cover art!!!! The latest CD’s off MH are serious metal spine snappers that’ll also blister your eardrums, like the uncompromising and old school thrash brutality of Strikemaster!!!! No fucking joke, Strikemaster is not for the weak so if you have any sort of heart condition, anxiety disorder, seizure disorder or are scared of acquiring one from a severe psychological and audible whiplashing than Strikemaster is not for you.

I know that I’ve reviewed and commented on many a current/new thrash band, but with few exceptions like Excrutiator and Gae Bolga, none really feel as though they’re straight outta the mid to late 1980’s like Strikemaster. Somewhere between the merciless and belligerent blunt force attack of “Black Violence” and “Violent Reivindication” I managed to bench about 90lbs today, two sets of 7-8 reps and that was after consistently adding weight and doing full sets, and that’s over half my body weight, that’s how energizing Strikemaster is!!!! It can give you added strength and a thirst for blood and sweat unlike anything else that doesn’t involve narcotics and/or mental illness.

Aside from the obvious unapologetic aggressiveness of Strikemaster’s sound, the mastering is so pristine that you can actually hear and feel the punchy throbbing bass lines on “SBU”, “Black Violence”, “Rabid Abstraction”, and “Prophetic Chemical Death”. The intricacy of the guitar work is up there with legendary, the speed and consistency of the leads and riffs, not to mention some blistering solos that really bring in the old school and polish it up a bit without removing all of the blood stains from decades prior. “Prophetic chemical Death” (on right this moment) really gets you going with it’s thumping and nitro boosted rhythm throttles and the great neck snapper circular pit inducing anthem vibe, but the leads and the play between them and the drums and this scathing solo almost two minutes in just blows my skull cap clean off. The craftsmanship of Strikemaster is almost prog metal quality in terms of complexity and technicality, yet it smashes your cranium down through your torso and out your asshole rather than intrigue your brain with noodling and awkward rhythms.

Listening to Strikemaster gives a new and almost literal means of “getting smashed” as any of the 11 songs on here will whack you upside the head like a sledgehammer with a grudge and brain matter will create a Jackson Pollack right next to what was the place your body was before the event took place.

Fans of Hirax, Forbidden, early Exodus, Overkill MUST have Strikemaster!!!!!

Support metal by supporting the bands and labels!!! If you have cash for ink, beer, and pot, then you have money for buying albums, so put your money where your mouth and image are and keep metal alive.

Annthennath – States of Liberating Departure (WOHRT Records)

  All that I can really say aside from the usual “you gotta hear/experience this for yourself to fully understand...” blah is that Annthennath deliver misanthropic black metal as many of us can appreciate BUT they also delve into a sort of mystic journey on here without copping out to cliché. The album consists of 8 tracks, each representing a separate state of consciousness as one progresses through the album, and like many well crafted black metal pieces, you get that feeling of traversing through varied terrains of both sound and mind through melody, atmosphere and that certain black realm that puts the “black” in black metal. Even lovers of the crude and grimy vomitous black metal sounds (like myself especially) sometimes have to step back and be immersed into the intellectual and atmospheric territory now and again to keep us sane and somewhat refined (laughs).

check out the "Live and Livid Sounds of Filth and Fury"  page for an audio sample of this and other featured releases.