Antinatalism is a broad term that means, more or less, the voluntary extinction of humanity. There are varying schools of thought about how this can achieved, a minority believe this can be done through violence but most advocate humanity simply stop having children. The driving idea behind this belief is that humanity is a detriment to the Earth and to each other such that it would be better if we did not exist at all. Indeed, there are even some religious schools of thought who concur that it would be better had Man never existed. This is a bleak solution for a species capable of reason and and modifying behavior to embrace less destructive paths, but a cursory glance at news headlines suggests otherwise.
One only needs to look at the title of the opening track to see where Sluice Room stands in the spectrum of antinatalism; 'Here's What I Think of Your Gift (Parental Homicide).' When you hit play, the Antinatalist Variations opens with all the subtlety of someone pouring a jug of ice water down the back of your neck. Layered harsh textures of noise that seem to come from electric guitar distortion, elongated into a continuous and abrasive drone field, and then run through a series of effects. However, Sluice Room does not share their methods of audio mayhem, so the sounds could come from other sources. There are four tracks here that range from just over seven minutes to just over twelve, each as cataclysmic as the last.
Parts of 'Here's What I Think...' resonate with an intense, low-end reverberation that adds an evocative texture to the otherwise harsh effects of distortion, giving the stereo woofers a good work out. The following track, 'Secret Exit Path' has interesting frequencies that evoke the film, White Noise, starring Michael Keaton, which is about Electronic Voice Phenomenon (EVP) wherein the dead try to communicate with the living through analog cel phone, television and radio signals. The undulating textures of noise are such that the ear can almost make out human voices that seem to struggle through the dense field. My ears strain to decipher what they have to say. Next, we have 'The Forced Meat Goose Step', which has less harsh noise fields and accompanied with rhythmic mechanical clicks but mid way through some powerful generator surge pulses kick-in, followed by banshee-like distortion screeches that could be rage or agony or both. Then again, this is just noise and the human brain strives to 'humanize' sounds that could come from mundane sources. The Antinatalist Variations Closes with 'Cloistral Convalescence', which offers an industrial grade drones and low end reverberations, co-joined with what seems to be mechanical power tools that cut through...the artist's parents, perhaps? The packaging and track titles set for darker overtones but the sounds are some hefty, relentless noise with a wide enough range of textures and intensities to keep the listener engaged. Some very nice noise that stands up to repeated listens. Should these talents be of the violent variety of Antinatalism, we may not hear what other sounds they cook up (or forge) next, and that would be a pity.