Vanhala, Jaakko – “Here Be Lions” – [Freak Animal Records]
Pure wrist slitting catharsis from Finnish noise lion Vanhala. This marks a pinnacle in harsh noise with fans all over raving, and rightly so, with his meticulous attention to detail and elaborate grasp of texture and dynamics, not to mention the orgiastic onslaught of temple drilling highs and chest crumbling lows. There is an admirable hands-on approach here as well, with focus on physical objects and acoustic spaces for sound sources, using only analogue filters and tape manipulation for processing. Sometimes he cuts out the distortion almost entirely to lay bare the source materials, letting you contemplate the respite of quiet and familiarity before resuming the purge. Apparently he has a background in more ambient endeavors and it shows, starting with the subtle build and persistent hum on the invocation. The 2nd and 3rd tracks, previously released on cassette on the Sprachlos Verlag label, are more unrestricted sonic obliteration, like running freely through fields of glass letting it tear your skin away layer by layer. The 4th and 5th tracks are previously unreleased; Reality Shredded down to a drone, fully immersed in the fury of its frigid hurricane and the Secret Dream a glimpse into a shattered and fractured mind, torn down to showers of fiery feedback. Despite the use of “noise electronics” on the final track, this album is testament that analogue is truly better. The most visceral and cleansing of emotional release. Lacerate your brain and bleed out.