There are matches made in heaven and there matches made somewhere altogether hotter, and given the fearsome track records of its two protagonists, it scarcely takes a genius to figure out where this meeting of minds and murderousness was conceived. An alias of sound sadist Kenny Sanderson, Like Weeds destroys techno with the zeal of a latter-day Savonarola, torching its vanities on a bonfire and fashioning something ugly and misshapen from the smouldering, blackened embers. The four tracks he offers here are baleful in the extreme, looming escarpments of greyscale noise that split the difference between power electronics and the heaviest industrial dub. Beats thud with contusive force, every micron of space between them choked with a boiling tar of static that corrodes the lungs like phosgene. By the time the death march of ‘Unauthorised’ fades into silence, the chest-crushing pressure is overwhelming, but don’t look to Andrew Nolan for succour; he’s too busy torturing trip-hop to mop your fevered brow. Ogreish and blood-spattered, it lurches from his dungeon, a Hallowe’en parade of grotesque miscreations primed to rip off your eyelids and drag you face first into a conscious nightmare of obliterating dub. As deadly as the blooms they’re named after, these shambling horrors may be short-lived but the bass bin-blowing havoc they wreak is prodigious. Gird your loins. It’s clobberin’ time.
Cassette release from Dayton Ohio’s Developer. An extremely Harsh, mimetic Musique Concrete explosion and confounding cut up approach Harsh Noise with sampling and loops interspersed, layered and collaged rhythmic accidents, sources appearing here and there amidst the maelstrom as less distorted and appealable to reason, then plummeting down the fucking spiral staircase of looping and distortion, piercing skewering frequencies, signals switch on a dime, disorienting and baffling, laughter…pockets of neutral audial spaces emerge… a total astringent brainwash collage. Artful and ascetic, but not too austere or serious in theme or approach. This is dynamic Harsh Noise for exploration of the inner space. US rust belt Harsh Noise mastery and mischief. “CAUTION: repeated listens or listening while inebriated may cause insanity…. It did for me on both accounts”
Bead brings the fucking basement dungeon funk straight out of the sex cult nihilist’s compound with this one, the paranoia is palpable and the feds are outside with weapons drawn but we’re nodding the fukk out anyways – brain smoothing Bass, greasy as oil-slicked hair Techno tracks with a slather of wicked funk hats and slow working venom trippin’ sequencer lines, outsider and paranoiac with a hint of come-up euphoria atmosphere and menacing vocal samples drifting in the ether of wizz, minimal low tek and lo-fi as fuck. This project never ceases to intoxicate and alienate, setting a paradigm for no wave experimental Techno that only a select few nutters and weirdos are operating within. Still available on cassette from Nice Music, mine came with a cool sticker too. Properly fucking sweaty.
Techno. Clearly not the final frontier it was 35 years ago, but to an inveterate nightmare-weaver like Justin K Broadrick, still an axe well worth grinding. Unpacking his formidable JK Flesh alias for the first time since last year’s monstrous dub double-header with Kevin Martin’s G36 project, Broadrick returns to the granite-hard beat butchery that made blowouts like ‘Rise Above’ such a fearsome proposition, the acrid pall of industry hanging heavy in the air. A paranoia-laced treatise on humanity’s enduring obsession with indoctrination, ‘New Religion Old Rules’ wastes no time in getting to the point, opening salvo ‘Brain Wash’ churning up the soundfield like a moonshine-powered rotovator, spraying swarf and slag in all directions. The kick drums are colossal, but the breaking wheel of this particular torture chamber is the bass, an evil stentorian grind ripped straight from the attrition section of the Samurai Music playbook. Broadrick’s masterly sound design keeps the action just the right side of wanton thuggery, but the deeper you descend into this hellhole of hostility, the thicker and more claustrophobic the atmosphere becomes. ‘Herd Mentality’, is a rancorous acid-damaged deathstomp that stings with the potency of cobra venom, and by the time ‘Willing Servant’ drives the last of its nails through your forehead, you’ll be yearning for the mercy of unconsciousness. Stunning. Literally.
Morbid split cassette release between two one-man Black Metal projects from the US. Kneipegeist scores a vile sombre tone of impassioned, somewhat complex Black Metal, odiously distorted and hissing in rueful obscurity with lots of Punk influence, particularly in the drumming, a gutter bloated sense of wonky melody through the Guitar and Bass work, gurning wailing necrophile vocal hysteria, storming and frozen cold with lots or clarity in the raw recording and samples woven through the music… Katabasilisk takes the cake with a slow and fear inducing keys-to-tape intro to a long and despondent screed of tormented noisy Black Metal, replete with evil production-obscured riffs working counter melodies and opposing hard rockin’ riff sections and discordant shifts in tempo, majestically distorted fuzzy Bass sound beneath and necrotic vocal emanation, enveloped in a perfectly-pitched hazed production fog. Their sound reminds me of Rhinocervs, particularly their ‘RH-07’ cassette release, and Crepusculo Negro projects like Axeman with their robust corpulent melodicism, Crust Punk and Psychedelic influences, and acid-tinged lead lines. Atmospheric, arcane and prideful, filthy, rotten grave robbery and cosmic corpse molestation, stench of pungent putrefaction on the night’s breeze, idolators of the rotten fukken skull…
Incinerating, seething-mad Grindcore project from Grindfreak Will Olter of Methlab Explosion. This comp on Cat Basket collects all their split material from between 2017 and 2020. Noisy Crust Grind outrage with lots of wild-out, wide-eyed, lit-on-fire Thrash and Noisecore parts, toxic and dangerous as fuck, scathing Grindnoise covered in microplastics and unrecyclable garbage floating in a dead ocean. Cues taken from masters like Excruciating Terror, Disrupt, Dahmer and Florist-era Anal Cunt, with lots of stop start Power Violence-like arrangement, obstinate crust chord maulings, lumpen Bass and crushing thrashing drums served up with a feast of brute vocal deliriums from such alumni as Andy Mortville, legendary grumpus and GonzoKaraoke favourite, whose contributions here adorn some of the best tracks on the compilation, sardonically assaying the various failures of his peers atop Will’s hellacious torrent of thrashed out spastic Grind outburst. Will’s projects each consistently batter, shock and amuse – Landfill is no exception. Fucking mephitic.
Killer EP from 2017. Australian trio Gutless cracks four tracks of wildly energetic, refreshingly tight and ruthlessly precise Death Metal affrontery. Furious, muscular deth thrash riffs and Suffo riffs, grinding Bass sound blurring the edges and snappy killer drumming full of superblasts and half time beatdowns, toothless low vocal incredulity emanating total rage and berzerker intent, with a primary focus on songcraft assassination. Meticulously crafted ragers to impel brute violent response in the listener – the fast parts are whipped out in an insane lather Grindcore style, then come the warped headbangin’ solos, dripping with azagthothian discord and chaos. Drooling murderous pit terminators chopping up posers and tourists in the mosh – violent and fucking crazed on blood! I await a full length from these freaks with baited breath.
A particularly smoooooth blend of atmospheric Funk House and sumptuous Vaporwave from the Fat Man dealer, effervescent shimmer beats and rolling electronic Basslines induce the nostalgia and bittersweet depression. This EP leans a little further away from Yacht Rock and into filtered, hazy House, sumptuously funky beats beneath a gated filter shimmer and sizzling Bass sounds, with the middle track acting as a downbeat interlude between velvety Future Funk-y numbers, each replete with lush nostalgia mania sampling of impossibly sacharine sizzlin’ Pop, Funk and Rock – pink and purple neon lights obscuring the contours on unknown faces in the tropical rain. Calming and introspective, very listenable and groovin’. Altogether too short.
The permeability of the membrane that separates jazz from extreme metal has been increasing exponentially of late. From the cosmic overload of Neptunian Maximalism to Starboard’s funereal chamber doom, the slew of exotic new hybrids birthed by this osmotic pressure drop haven’t just rattled the odd cage, they’ve permanently altered the contours of an entire sonic landscape. As their name suggests, Dutch improv trio Eaters Of The Soil inhabit the dankest antechambers of the jazz/metal basilica, chiseling angular monoliths of ear-scouring discord from fretless bass, guitar, synth and trombone. The album-length sequel to last year’s riveting self-titled debut, ‘E.P. 2’ is a case study in nuanced cacophony that, despite its often pulverising heaviness, shows scant regard for the protocols of doom. Expect nothing so conventional as a riff here, just boulder upon boulder of sedimentary noise whose cumulative effect mirrors the Sisyphean slab-dragging of hardline sludgemongers like Primitive Man and Body Void. Jazz is likewise stretched way beyond its elastic limit, plumes of overblown brass erupting from plateau of bass-stiffened ambient grind that thrum like a vast network of conjoined substations. Tumours of forlorn melody grow briefly in the gloom only to be excised by scissoring blasts of dissonance, whilst snatches of dialogue apparently culled from interviews with a serial killer only deepen the sinkhole of unease this nerve-shredding noise-fest opens up. Join the feeding frenzy.
Ultra brutal, merciless and violently grooved mondo-riff Brutal Death Metal mayhem from the online obscurity, sporting an imperious Grindcore like dynamic… drums sounding viciously programmed replete with murderous blast beats, thrashing switch-ups and deliciously pitched rolling tom fills sat mockingly atop the loud production, with flesh ripping scornful Old School Death riffs and bronze Bass low-end cast from the pulpit of judgement, super gurg gross low vocal, grotesque medieval torture samples, pitilessly brutalising, gruelingly heavy and grinding in a similar vein to Brodequin or Pustulated, via drum machine precision and inhumanity. Arduous and odious, gore drenched Brutal Death Metal for the motherfucking breaking wheel. Put some artwork on that first demo, chaps.
Historically, jazz has always fared best at the hands of heretics; outer-nationalists and inner-spacefarers like Don Cherry, Miles Davis and Sun Ra who squandered no opportunity to kick the shins of purism and steam full-bore into uncharted territory. Like their illustrious forebears, Belgian quintet Black Flower are seasoned recalcitrants having toed no-one’s line but their own since forming in 2014, but of their albums to date, ‘Magma’ is unquestionably the most ambitious, an intoxicating walk on the beguiled side that adds an extra dozen dimensions to the concept of fusion. Led by multi-instrumentalist Nathan Daems whose mellifluous flute leads run like threads of spun silver through every track, the band’s reach extends further than ever here, helped in no small part by the the addition of keyboard player Karel Cuelenare, a master of virtuosic understatement with an elegant line in rococo Farfisa flourishes. Sashaying seductively between fragrant Ethio-Jazz, baroque psychedelia and dub-dazed afrofunk, ‘Magma’ delivers rapture by the ream, but the twist in its tale is ‘Morning In The Jungle’, a wide-asleep waft of viridescent acid folk that recalls Beautify Junkyards at their most blissfully lysergic. Too early to be talking about album of the year? No.
Ceremonial Torture’s first full length record, released on Behest. Hellenic Raw Black Metal straight from multicolour hades – Dire, darkly mellifluent keyboard melodies casting long abysmal shadows in bleaching dungeon moonlight, largely mid-paced, Bass centric ravenous sub-symphonic Hellenic Black Metal, rude, raw, furiously melodic and uproariously brash. Tormenter daemonic vocal, deranged key sounds in the red casting runes of folkish dancing melodies, hulking Bass riff foundations and simplistic drum patterns. Hellishly noisy and refreshingly unique amidst the swathe of Raw Black Metal projects out there. Reminds me most of Hail Conjuror in it’s brazen, powerful melody and outsider rawness. Think early Varathron by way of Bone Awl or Ride For Revenge. Mesmerizing and wrong!