Saturday, April 27, 2013

Nyodene D "Edenfall" 2xcd

Nyodene D 
Malignant Records

So this looks nice. It's actually 2 cds in digipacks in a foil stamped box. Inside the box are some stickers as well. It's a pretty sweet package. I know I usually don't talk about the packaging first but it's really the first thing that struck me. The artwork and layouts themselves are fine. They look a little 1994 in general to me—big Roman type that is all center justified mixed with photoshop flavored photographs of statues—but it's done well and looks very professional. It also super cohesive, which is good but a tad bit boring for how much you have to look at. Maybe I have been looking at too much Neville Brody and David Carson stuff lately but you can make this slightly 90's design still have some dynamics.
     The music is the same way. Pretty good. It's got a little Deutsch Nepal mixed with Throbbing Gristle by way of Godflesh. It's heavy, repetitive and driven by some seriously brutal vocals. Sometimes the vocals sound a little too effected for me but overall it's a good piece of work. Although, like the layout, this album gets a little same-note for me. I feel like the first couple tracks are brutal and destroy everything and then after that I can't really tell you what happened, it all sorta ran together. I think this would have been stronger if it had been shorter. This could have been two albums easily and I'm not even talking about the second disc in this box—which is a remix disc and it's pretty good as well. Not really my thing usually but it's pretty interesting. Anyway, Nyodene D is clearly a good project and I think I will hear good things in the future from this but I am not entirely sold on this one. 

irr. app. (ext.) + Blue Sabbath Black Cheer "Discordant Convergence" cd

irr. app. (ext.) + Blue Sabbath Black Cheer
Discordant Convergence
Phage Tapes

So here's the thing… This combination released the best album of the year awhile back—Skeletal Copula Remains on Gnarled Forest/Errata in Excelsisand they haven't really ever put out anything that didn't blow me away. I pay a lot of lip service to both acts—especially BSBC—and for good reason. They have some of the best aural judgment in music/anti-music today. Both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) belong on the short list of Throbbing Gristle, Faust, Man is the Bastard, Nurse with Wound, Coil, NON, Merzbow, Wolf Eyes and SUNN0))), plus the others I have forgotten at the moment. Groups that have pushed this strange anti-genre forward. All that aside I must confess that this cd is not my favorite outing by either BSBC or ire. app. (ext.) and that is strange to me. It's still better than most things I have heard lately. Don't get me wrong, but it feels a little thrown together. The movements sort of meander a bit. There are these big spoken word moments that sort of take me out of the experience and the levels of the sounds seem a little off. I don't know. I have listened to it twice now and I will probably listen to it a few more times. I may change my opinion but I think this is missing a little of the brutality and anxiety that earlier endeavors have born. 
     I'm not really into the layout either, which probably doesn't help. The artwork is pretty good but it kinda feels like after this no one is ever allowed to use skulls again in a layout. They have all been used up. The type is all just center justified and just sorta of sits on the page in a way that isn't so much utilitarian but kinda boring. There are photos of all the people involved inside, and I like that, but again, they are just sorta laid on the page in a way that seems like an afterthought. Also you can tell that they took pictures in different places with different light and sometimes with different backgrounds. I think if you are going to use photographs of the participants in a mug-shot type way all the pictures should look the same. As if they were all taken at the same time in the same place. The lack of cohesion I think makes this not work very well. I don't know. I'm being a little extra critical because both BSBC and irr. app. (ext.) are so fucking good. This is good but it fails to get a "fucking good" this time. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Austin Noise 2013 2xcd comp

Austin Noise 2013
Instincto Records

Goddamn I love Austin, Texas. It's an island of perfection in a state that is almost totally insane and evil. The people, the food, the alcohol and the music give the kind of life saving nectar to your should that you would expect from an oasis. This compilation of 46 noise acts is an amazing sampling of what you could experience in the unions best/worst state. Some of it is the best thing you have heard all day, some of it is not the best thing you have heard all day. This is a damn good double disk and well worth listening to. Listen to this. Then book your trip.

     The layout is super simple and is basically informative more than artistic but they actually do something pretty brilliant with the type on the back. You'll see.


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Back on top. Sorta.

So, thanks to everyone who has been checking in from time to time over the last couple weeks and wondering where the hell I have been. I apologize to everyone that is waiting to have something reviewed and to those that read this thing. I have been very out of touch between illnesses, school, work and tour, the last few weeks have been crazy. More importantly though the next 6 weeks are going to be light as I get through this quarter of school. I will get as many reviews up as I can—I have some ones that have been here for awhile that I will definitely get to—but it's going to come slow and steady. If you want to send something for review, just know I am backed up. Like maybe 6 months backed up right now. I will have some reviews in the next week or so though you should be very interested in though...  especially this Total Life LP. Holy shit.

Ninika "ep-2012" cs

ep 2012
No Visible Scars

Huh. I am a little bummed I took this long to review this one. It's not a perfect record but it's damn different. This is almost songs. Drum machine, vocals, guitars, bass and lots of noise make for some interesting songs. It's like Godflesh, Darkthrone, a fire alarm and a broken car engine are all falling down the side of a mountain. On fire. It's a lurching, blackened industrial metal hell pile and it's pretty awesome. It's a total mess and the noise almost completely obscures everything else but it somehow works. I may have to come back to this one again. My only beef is that this is long. I review—or at least have to review—a lot of releases and when I see a tape is pushing the c90 length I really have a hard time getting to it. 

     I am not a fan of the packaging. I don't mind tapes in bags—although I don't love it either—but this bag is just too damn big. The artwork is pretty cool though. Nothing mind blowing but it fits. This packaging would have prevented me from buying, which would be a shame. 

It's definitely worth checking out. 

Thin White Puke "Red Lights Blaring" cs

Thin White Puke
Red Lights Blaring
Self Released

This is a name to look for Thin. White. Puke. It's relatively new to me but so far everything has been both brutal and restrained. This recording by TWP may be live but I am not sure. I do know that this is the sound that causes fear. This is where doubt and insecurity come from. This is audio that is tapped into the fight or flight part of your primal brain. Swirling and swelling drones, noise and harsh, distant vocals tear at your defenses and leave you bare. It's quite a gift. 

     Black printing on red paper, hand numbered and with a personalization to it that is brand new to me. This says it is intended for Demian Johnston on the back. They have my number.  There are only 25 of these but maybe you were lucky/unlucky enough to warrant one. It's haunting. 

Compactor "Desensitization Reprocessing" cs

Desensitization Reprocessing
Out of Body Records

More bleak and fearful industrial hypnosis from Compactor. I am not a huge fan of this genre in general but there is something maniacal about Compactor that totally works for me. It sounds like—I should actually say it feels likeit was made in the darkest point of the early 80's. There is this grit and hopelessness that also stinks of excess. It's evil in way that makes you feel like you are losing your mind. I would recommend listening to this with headphones on in the dark but only if you want to have some of your ability to love destroyed. 

     The cassette has that OOB look that I appreciate. The consistency is nice and unusual these days. They could stand to use a heavier paper stock for their J cards though. The flimsy nature of the paper feels cheap. 

Still if scary, 80's death industrial hell is your bag, get this. 

Sutekh Hexen / Prisonfood cs

Sutekh Texen / Prisonfood
Pent Up Release

So this is, if I'm not mistaken, a bootleg/remix of Sutekh Hexen—the label actually says Texen thoughby a Pacific Northwest noise soldier, Prisonfood. It's burly grating noise with just a hint of Sutkeh Hexen's already noisy music just below the surface. It's like gravel and hate pouring in your ears. Lovely.

     Not bad simple packaging. A simple sticker on the jewel case and a text free j card with black and white images that look how this sounds.

If you are a Sutekh Hexen completist you will need this. 

Note: It was pointed out to me that this might not have any SH music below the chaos but who's to say.  Fuck it. 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Remnants "Decayed Tones" cs

Decayed Tones
Imminent Frequencies

Another excellent release from Remnants. A projects that is almost the audio embodiment of architectural melancholy. Somewhat static drenched drones make up a large portion of this cassette. There is always a strange sensation of sadness that I hear on these recordings, I really appreciate that. 

    Looks nice. Pretty simple but I have zero complaints. I like Remnants overall aesthetic. It sort of gets out of the way of the music. 

Quilielfi "Forgetter" cs

Universal Consciousness

This was quite a surprise. It shouldn't be–universal consciousness has been doing the most interesting black metal releases to tape in quite some time–but I still wasn't totally prepared for how awesome and interesting this was. Quilielfi is really bizarre bedroom black metal folk in a way I haven't heard in a while. Imagine someone trekking out to the woods to record their songs because certain trees will be the drums and acoustic guitars with no distortion will be the instruments but then add crazy snarling screams and strange piercing controlled feedback. Quilielfi is something like that, but you really have to hear it to fully understand. It's amazing music and it's from my neighborhood. I have no idea who does this, Ballard is not a huge neighborhood in Seattle and I know most people but this was somehow made right under my nose. I am fascinated. 

Looks amazing. Buy something from U.C. and you will feel like it is actually worth something.