Music Reviews



Severe Illusion: Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy

 Posted by Marc Tater (@)   Electronics / EBM / Electronica
Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 23 2014
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Artist: Severe Illusion (@)
Title: Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy
Format: CD
Label: Complete Control Productions (@)
Distributor: Bandcamp
Rated: *****
It's new to me that the both Severe Illusion peeps are going to study brain surgery. Their last year release 'Psychosurgery', a 5-track-EP physically available in a hard-to-get limited edition of 100 exemplars, fits thematically perfect and can be seen as the ideal preliminary degree examination. 'Deliberate Prefrontal Leucotomy' now represents their examination and delivers an ongoing conceptual release on 8 tracks. The musically expression of Fredrik Djurfeldt and Ulf Lundblad has changed rather in minor dimensions to their earlier works, but that was to expect. Compared to the last studio album 'No More Alive Than You Deserve', this new opus sounds harsher and more grinding; just like the right soundtrack to one of the most perverse themes committed in post-modern psychiatry. Their ability to spread salt in open socio-critical wounds is unbroken and I have to admit that to read about the theme of leucotomy and especially the 'ice-pick lobotomy' performed by Walter J. Freeman in the 1940's in more than 3000 cases has been shocking. The chorus of praise for Severe Illusion is well deserved, as they often tap our minds on barbaric past things of mankind, which nowadays fall often into the abyss of oblivion. The music delivery the typical harsh, cold, and noisy attitudes this duo is so well known for. 'Louder Than Words' and 'Postsynaptic Receptor Disruption' are both mid-tempo tracks with monotonous bass-lines and the hefty distorted vocal performance. 'Discontinuation syndrome' then offers some voice-samples based on the conceptual theme thrown into a noisy thunderstorm - it's a more Powernoise- / Experimental-minded tune than all other tracks available here. 'Hole' differs a lot to almost all tracks on 'D. P. L', because it is a lighter, very dancefloor-compatible tune with flute-like synth-pads. The most exciting track I discovered with the raw and nightmarish produced 'Tardative Dyskinesia' - already the starting metallic clanks leave scorch marks in my ear-channel! The one and only complaint on this fine and absolutely authentic sounding album is once again the far too short playing-time. C'mon guys, you've got more disturbance-stuff in your holster than to stop after 33 minutes only! It is nevertheless a must-have album filled with oppression presented in all 8 tracks.

Aderlating: Gospel of the Burning Idols

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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May 05 2014
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Artist: Aderlating (@)
Title: Gospel of the Burning Idols
Format: CD
Label: Black Plague (Malignant Records) (@)
Rated: *****
Aderlating is a side-project of Maurice (Mories) De Jong's Gnaw Their Tongues, along with Eric Eijspaart, aka Mowlawner. 'Gospel of the Burning Idols' is some My-T-Fine black metal and hellish industrial black ambient noise. 'Opening of a Tomb' foments with a sub-current of low staticy noise, while a kind of keening sound can also be heard. A hoarsely croaking voice (perhaps a lich?) rises up amidst subtle electronic ambience and voices of the dead and begins an incantation. If this was some type of Ghost Hunter reality show, you boys and girls are going to seriously regret opening that tomb as the doom drums and processed cymbals in the background and the intensity of the sonics reveal a nightmare world unlike any you have ever experienced. Too late to stop it, too late to run as the terror washes over you. 'A Vulture's Tongue Disease' begins with that necromancer's croaking voice over a low drone but soon morphs into the chaos of clattering drums, crashing cymbals and unearthly voices. You are plumming the absolute depths of darkness here my friend, as your immersion in this demonic madness is inexorable. 'The Burial Gown Reeks of Semen' (what a title!) might be the weirdest, creepiest track so far, with its palette of disparate noisy sonics, low drone tone, screams from the deep, and a gibbering processed voice raving incoherently about'¦well, you figure that one out. 'Dragged to the Smouldering Pits of Infinity' is just too ineffable to describe; there is so much going on here, so much frenetic dark energy that pandemonium doesn't even begin to describe it. 'Bondaged in Shame, Disgraced in Fear' is a bit easier to convey. As with most of the tracks, it begins minimally, a squealing metallic sound, some drone, electronic noises and echoed sounds, mournful church bell, maybe some rain, then the chaos drumming begins. Buzzing, squalling electronics, processed cymbals, an electronic storm winding down into a puddle of despair. 'Spewed On By Slave of Inhumanity' begins with a rhythmic pounding while electronic ambience and processed whispers creep in. A heavy metallic drone with noise takes over while a processed voice raves in the background. While this intensifies, percussive bashing and clatter are added. Noise hiss, controlled feedback, and other deeply chambered sounds add to the mélange until it all fades away. 'Gospel of the Burning Idols' begins with squalling electronics (oscillators gone wild) adding dark, low drone that occasionally changes pitch, and processed sizzing noise, until it ends. Most unpleasant. All in all, it's pretty good black metal industrial ambient noise, but I detect that it lacks some focus, especially in the last couple of tracks. If the object was simply chaotic doom, then 'Gospel of the Burning Idols' succeeds in that, but if there is supposed to be some deeper meaning, I didn't find it. Still, this should please most ambient black metal enthusiasts.

Himiko: Dethnoizzz

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 28 2014
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Artist: Himiko (@)
Title: Dethnoizzz
Format: CD
Label: DTrash Records (@)
Rated: *****
If you've followed the evolution of Japanese electronic music artist (and sometimes jazz pianist) Himiko, now based in Alberta, Canada, you know that she's gone from the beautiful to the absolute hideous. If you're only familiar with her early work on such albums as 'Mai, 'Mungen', and 'Shippo o Tsukame' you'll be in for quite a shock with 'Dethnoizz'. While her stint with Heavy Metal Jazz Concepts was an interesting exploration of fusion, avant-garde, free jazz infused with heavier rock elements, it doesn't even begin to approximate what you'll hear on this recording. Even as noisy as 'Heavy Metal Wannabe & Electronic Jazz Cat' was at times, it never approached this. 'Fuck Off' (2011 DTrash), her deconstructed thrash metal mashup EP was at least listenable and weirdly amusing, but 'Dethnoizz' has taken a left turn off the beaten path into sonic mayhem of the most extreme kind.

There are 11 tracks on 'Dethnoizz' but it blurs the line between album and EP because the tracks are so brief and it's over so quickly. Take Digital Hardcore, Speedcore, Death Metal, Grindcore, Goregrind, Gabber, and Breakcore, toss in a blender and set to puree, and you'll only begin to get an idea of what's on this recording. Himiko's vocals here are a mix of processed barks and shouts, and vomitous screams. It is indeed frightening stuff. If I didn't look into Himiko's musical background prior to this review, I would have slagged this off as the worst shit I've ever heard in my life. (Even my cat ran and hid when the sound hit the speakers!) But now I get the idea of what it truly is ' anti-music, and actually very well done anti-music at that. Himiko rips apart every pre-conceived notion you ever had about music, chews it up and spits it back in your face. With track titles like 'Fuel Rods Up Your Ass', 'Butchered, Mended and Butchered Again' and 'Raped, Killed and Raped Again' you can imagine this is going to be one fucked-up terror trip, and it certainly is. Brutal as the music may be, it takes a lot of work to slice, dice and shred it into something as explosive and corrosive as this, and I respect that.

I can't say I'm a fan of this kind of sonic torture, but I know there are those out there that really dig it, so I have to rate it on its merit, not my own personal taste. For what she's trying to achieve on 'Dethnoizz' Himiko definitely succeeds. Although I much prefer her earlier work, you can't fault an artist for veering off the straight and narrow and following their experimental vision. Even Himiko's look has changed from demure Asian beauty to Goregrind Diva. No doubt there is a limited market for this kind of material, but one wonders, where does she go from here? With Himiko, you just don't know until she gets there.
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Artist: Jojo Hiroshige, Pika, Paal Nilssen-Love, Lasse Marhaug
Title: Osaka Fortune
Format: 12"
Label: Premier Sang
Rated: *****
The Norwegian half of this new sonic explosive on Premier Sang has already been sprinkled from my headphones and loudspeakers: Paul Nilssen-Love collaborated with a remarkable number of free-jazz oriented and experimental collaborative projects - I remember the ones with James Plotkin and Mats Gustafsson, but I'm pretty sure that I could find something else if I check my overcrowded archive -, while I found the name and the noisy mark by Lasse Marhaug on some releases by Smalltown Supersound, one of my favorite Norwegian label. Both Paul and Lasse recently co-signed a tip-top release with Jim O'Rourke, "Love Robots", which is going to meet the taste of noisy jazz-spiced stuff lovers. On the other side of the boxing ring, we find a veteran of Japanese noise scene, Jojo Hiroshige, founder of the seminal group Hijokaidan and Alchemy Records, and the young Japanese drummer and vocalist Higashi "Pika" Mineko, whose shouts sound like yells of a child while going hog wild for a slide or an amusement ride during the hyper-energetic stuff that this quartet recorded at Osaka Chika-Ikkai on February 10th 2011 and delivered to the French label. On the first half of this session, listener have to weather the storm that drummers generated by trampling on their instruments where they perform different tasks: while one drummerviolently clobber the skins, the other one finishes drum off by subtleties which are close to jazz drumming techniques. "No Drums This Time" is the first part of the second half and as you can easily imagine, both drummers take a rest, but the scorching distorsions that Lasse and Jojo gave off are too tempting for Paul's and Pika's fuming sticks so that they keep on hitting by pushing the blazing fire ball towards savage directions, which sound less jazzy and more acid-rock steered this time. Thats's the most blistering pace that I can even see fit to a snobbish jazz club.

Acclimate V.1: Noise Pigs

 Posted by Steve Mecca   Industrial Noise / Power Noise / Harsh Noise
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Apr 06 2014
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Artist: Acclimate V.1 (@)
Title: Noise Pigs
Format: CD
Label: Samboy Get Help! (@)
Rated: *****
Acclimate is back, now as Acclimate V.1, cousins Artemis Kowalski and Phillip B. Klinger (PBK) with their first new release together in eons titled 'Noise Pigs'. While Artemis is based in New Zealand, PBK resides in Flint, Michigan making them now an international project, of sorts. I know I've heard the name Acclimate, but I don't know if I've ever heard this project before, so I can't compare this to anything previous by them. According to the one-sheet I got with the CD, PBK relates the concept behind 'Noise Pigs' ' ''¦is a life where all you can strive for is piggery; there's no benefit, no reward, only struggle and an unyielding future of oppression and slaughter. When the State destroys the workers' rights and dreams, all they can do is grunt'because they are cattle, they are pork'to be fattened on their obsessive demand for pop culture'¦' It goes on from there but you get the gist. On the first listening I had no idea of the political undertone, but now it makes sense.

In a sense, 'Noise Pigs' is a rich pastiche of everything you've ever heard in the industrial noise genre, and some things you've never heard in it. There is a aura of excess, of so many elements, so many permutations, so many different facets that you really can't pin this album down. For a noise album, this isn't quite as noisy as you'd think. Much of it is industrial and post industrial ambient, not necessarily harsh, although there are times'¦ There is a fair amount of musicality, interesting rhythms, and (mercifully) brief dialogue samples that enhance many of the fourteen tracks on this album. 'Noise Pigs' is somewhat experimental because it treads on terrain no noise project I've ever heard before treads, such as the Middle Eastern motif of the last track, 'Born of Ancient Longing'. There are elements of tribal, ritual, electronic glitch, gamelan, neoclassical, baby lullaby, and other sub-genres sprinkled throughout; one can not want for variety here.

For some noise purists, 'Noise Pigs' may be just too much'¦all over the map, not noisy enough over all, too much sonic effluvia, etc, etc., but for me, this is one of the ultimate noise releases I've ever heard. It has everything you could ever want from a hybrid noise-ambient-industrial project, and then some making it very appealing for replay. 'Noise Pigs' was engineered/mastered by Martin Bowes of Attrition fame, and also features vocals as well as a remix by Bowes. In addition, the album also features vocals from Hakim Paulsson of both Sanctum and Azure Skies, as Katrin Radman, formerly of Coptic Rain. So bring your sonic appetite, and feed at the trough of 'Noise Pigs', as Acclimate V.1 prove they're at the apex of their game. That swine on the cover of the digipak is just begging you to dig in.


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