KFJC 89.7FM

Lord Gravestench

Being – “Hydrocracker” – [Oxen]

Lord Gravestench   12/7/2018   A Library, Cassette

Active since around 2006, Being is the Harsh Noise project of Dayton, Ohio’s Luke Tandy. The artist’s biblical namesake may have been the wimpiest evangelist, but like just about everything else on LA’s Oxen label, this is texturally rich centi-pedal aural destruction, excellently recorded and produced, and a head-splitter of the first order. Hyperabstractive audio sewage mixed with rusty sawblades in an old clawfoot tub; the radio, perched precariously at the edge, tuned between stations. This material explores a wide range of pitches, to put it mildly. Mr. Tandy likes to ‘hold his high notes,’ if you take my meaning (particularly on that A side track, gee whiz). The two impressive performances on this 2018 tape will satisfy noise fiends and probably confuse everybody else. They may even exceed the comfort level of some who think, based on this review, that they will be able to deal. Side A is live recording, side B is studio, but they sound vice-versa. An admirably singleminded exercise in sonic obscenity, mining the same deep vein as neighboring Pittsburgh’s genre-defining master musicians of Macronympha. There are other artists to whom I could compare the sound, but…

BTW, hydrocracking is apparently a part of the petroleum refining process, “by which the hydrocarbon molecules of petroleum are broken into simpler molecules, as of gasoline or kerosene, by the addition of hydrogen under high pressure and in the presence of a catalyst.” So now you know.

Forn – “Rites of Despair” – [Gilead Media]

Lord Gravestench   11/27/2018   A Library, CD

The brand new CD from Boston’s Funeral Doom frontrunners, whose legendary show at the Sutro Baths in 2014 (alongside Akatharsia and Badr Vogu) won them many admirers around these parts.

There’s a LOT of shitty ‘Hipster Doom’ out there these days–I’m not going to name names– BUT Forn absolutely is the genuine article. Take it from someone who’s picky about his Sludge/Doom (as Encyclopedia Metallum so authoritatively describes them). I googled ‘Hipster Funeral Doom’ and the only thing that came up was a 4chan thread where the term was deployed against Ahab, a band I actually love, and not a bad touchstone in this case, really.

Given their city of origin I think everyone half-expects this band to start sounding like Grief at any second, but there’s truly not much Sludge to be found on this release (except maybe the incredible grooving riff on t.5, one of the best songs). The largely creeping pace, echoey psychedelic guitar work and profusion of delicate interludes impart a certain thoughtfulness to this forward-thinking champ of an album, and here the band have earned the right to be mentioned in the same sentence as American Funeral Doom saints like Asunder and Evoken.

Accomplishing so seamless a merger of tenderness and brutality is no easy task for any metal band, much less one formed a mere 6 years ago; having two guitarists is of course an integral part of their complex sound, as is their fondness for sudden shifts from soft to loud. Tasteful Death Metal touches, including quite surprising ones on t.s 6 + 11, do not detract from the sense that Forn are a Doom band first and foremost, in love with stupidly big, slow, heavy riffs. Growler Chris Pinto, who once came over for some reason to the house in Boston where I lived for a time, is a versatile extreme metal vocalist and his spirited performance is also integral to this band’s sound, much in the way that the Bay Area’s own Swamp Witch couldn’t exist without Jimmy’s distinctively guttural interjections.

Speaking of the Bay Area, look for KFJC pit veteran Jessica Way (Worm Ouroborous, Barren Harvest) delivering an emotive, Current-93-esque performance on t.10, in what seems to herald the emotional climax of the album. This track, along with t.s 1, 4 + 7, is among the aforementioned delicate interludes and may appeal to non-metalheads also.

No track listing or lyrics included with the sleeve, but it’s safe to say ‘Rites of Despair’ is not coming from a happy place. Oh yeah, and Forn is Old Norse/Icelandic (same thing lol) for ‘sacrifice.’

Renoir – “Broken Tongue” – [Endangered Species]

Lord Gravestench   11/26/2018   7-inch, A Library

On this 2014 EP, their sole release, the Industrial Noize duo are trying to act like they don’t smoke pot– but we all know that they do. Side A has decaying monks like you might find in the ossuaries of Santa Maria della Concezione dei Cappuccini in Rome, not far from the Via Veneto, where ‘La Dolce Vita’ was filmed all those years ago: monks trying to sing hymns as their throats crumble to dust. Seriously a lot of monks: hardcore Industrial fans already knew what I was talking about. OK it might just be A2 but it feels like both tracks. Side B is definitely more acoustic and less ‘ugh, I put my hand in something foul’; also, fewer (no?) monks: The Death Industrial Kraf-Twerk machine beat shows no sign of tiring its slow and dreadful progress as tortured sound sources are pushed to a climax. Mastered by Kris Lapke of Alberich and Furisubi. Plays at 33.

Sophia – “This Year Give a Share to Sophia” – [Lichterklang]

Lord Gravestench   11/26/2018   7-inch, A Library

Just in time for the holydaze, here is the 2017 Christless single from Sweden’s masters of hopeless, gothic Martial Industrial. Bring it back again for this year’s meretricious airwave revelries. Hit the killswitch and be better than human as you learn to fail with members of Cold Meat Industry superstars Arcana, who bring you two hammering battlefield ballads of holiday blues resignation and distinctly Scandinavian moroseness. This material is more song-based than some of their earlier work, and perhaps even more so than the lyrically-driven compositions on 2016’s devastating ‘Unclean’ album. Peter Bjargo, the head Sophian, is also married to Arcana/Sophia siren Cecilia Bjargo. Continuing the 50s theme, hear Him on side A and Her on side B, both in full bah-humbug mode. More of an elegant Martial Pop sound on side A that gets into Allerseelen territory. Side B is the lurching, too-drunk-at-the-Christmas-party spiteful (Lina?) Barbie doll. Both sides are genius because this band can do no wrong. Plays at 45.

Thoabath – “4. KK.42H. 4” – [Madriguera]

Lord Gravestench   11/11/2018   A Library, Cassette

Andy Christian Way is a former member of Sutekh Hexen who also plays with French Radio and Maleficia, among other projects. Thoabath would be his Death Industrial unit, active since 2015 or thereabouts. The project is all about primal rhythms and desolate, hopeless atmosphere. This 2017 cassette comes to us on Madriguera Records of Puerto Rico, where Way resided for a time prior to the hurricane. This will be comfy next to KFJC’s (or my) collection of releases from MZ.412, Theologian, and Dissecting Table. Bilious, decay-obsessed electronics with a riveting sense of tension. Side A= Beats By Dis, melting flesh, babbling demon voices. Side B= Deep, deep ambience to cleanse the palate after all the blood and sulphur of the A side; just don’t get too comfortable because the zaps are coming. This is beautiful release. The quote on the interior is from France’s obfuscatory postmodern fill-o-soffer Jean-Francois Lyotard: “All corporeal identity trembles at its finitude, and for it, distraught with humiliation as much as with suffering”–or to put it another way, “life sucks.”

Demoncy – “Enthroned Is The Night” – [Forever Plagued Records]

Lord Gravestench   10/21/2018   A Library, CD

Slithering forth from the accursed swamps of the Deep South, Demoncy was one of the earliest American acts in Orthodox Black Metal, formed in 1989 by core member Ixithra, who also played with the legendary Profanatica for a time (he was the one guy wearing shorts in their infamous “dicks out for Satan” promo photo). This is his 4th full-length album, released in 2012 after 8 years of silence, and recorded without assistance from any other musician.

Like Profanatica, Demoncy is an excellent rebuttal to the claim that Black Metal is never heavy. This is a solid set of in-many-ways-traditional “cold” BM, but presented in an outstanding mix that draws out the low ends, recalling certain Finnish projects with a similar thickness to their sound e.g. Beherit, Archgoat and Anal Blasphemy. Despite these touchstones, Demoncy plays pure BM without a Death Metal influence (OK, maybe there’s some Nunslaughter in there), bringing an atmosphere of elegance and nobility to the proceedings with riffs that are as simple as they are chilling.

Ixithra seems to be pretty serious about the spiritual dimension of this Satanic music and in this there is perhaps a kinship to early Black Funeral, another foundational USBM monster. The artist does not so much play here as practice, because at its dark heart this is ecstatic ritual music for the devoted. He’s based on the West Coast these days, so go see him with his live band if you don’t believe me.

Serpentine incantations, roaring walls of guitar and nervous skittering blasts make for a dreamy twilight atmosphere not bereft of menace. Hail the arcane aristocracy…

 

Modorra – “Putrid, The” – [Plague Island]

Lord Gravestench   10/7/2018   12-inch, A Library

Modorra (Spanish for ‘Drowsiness’) is a Death Metal project from the Islamic Republic of Sweden, boasting strong patinae of grindcore and punk. Coming from Gothenberg, they have a very particular sound looming over them in a historical sense, but this is absolutely not melodic DM: the closest they get to Entombed is in occasionally sounding like Nihilist– and is that not just the recording quality? I might as well say they sound like Hellhammer in that case (they kind of do).

Ultra-low-fi, scratchy, crackly shit pressed to 300 copies of 45rpm 12″ made from harvested gender-neutral cartilage instead of vinyl. Decked with D-beats and splattery grind blasts. The mad and jaundiced rickety rush for the end is in line with the kangpunk bands for which Sweden is also known, e.g. Mob 47. Thankfully no politics here, just decay and violence. Singer sounds like he’s about to throw up throughout. Lyrics are actually semi-intelligible. Have seen them described as Grindcore, but this is encrusted old-school DEATH worship appealing to KFJC’s extensive collection of Necrot, Abscess, and Repulsion releases. I think this was recorded drunk. I hope so.

Artificial Brain – “Infared Horizon” – [Profound Lore]

Lord Gravestench   9/8/2018   A Library, CD

Artifical Brain, Technical Death Metal from The Big Bagel. Some members are also involved in the post-Hardcore scene out there.

Now I’m reading about Tech-Death online and I guess I don’t really know shit about it. I do like early Nile quite a bit (bite me!) but this doesn’t really sound like early Nile, at all. Portal meets Krallice might be a better reference point— and as we will see, I mean this as a compliment!

If I say I’m picky about Tech-Death I mostly just mean that I don’t like Gorguts all that much. My eternal Prog-metal nemesis Colin Marston, who plays in Gorguts (and Krallice), actually co-produced (with the band) this 2017 sophomore effort, as well as recording and engineering. It isn’t really a surprise because Marston is all over the NYC metal scene. I like to give the gentleman shit in my reviews here, but his touch on ‘Infrared Horizon’ probably did have a positive impact (as it did on Mastery’s ‘Valis’ BTW).

Artificial Brain’s sound is Tech-Death drawing somewhat on old Atrocity, with a bit of Black Metal melody and a dash of Isis-like Girlfriend Metal lipgloss. And the thing is, it all works amazingly well. Perhaps the fact that the band prefer sci fi horror themes (think ‘Alien’) for their lyrics (like Nocturnus, but, y’know, not totally boring) helps to make the forward-thinking/progressive/possibly overproduced sound so appropriate. Even the title track’s appearance by arch-tool Trevor Strnad, of contemptible posers Black Dahlia Murder, passes completely unnoticed. Paulo Paguntalan of Encenethrakh, another Marston project, appears on three tracks also. Main vocalist W.S. (see also: grindcore band Buckshot Facelift) keeps things gritty with a versatile mix of pigsqueals, growls and blackened shrieks.

All the music is composed by their guitarist. Dense, layered, psychotic, claustrophobic, but also kind of glittery and robotic. What sounds like utter chaos soon reveals itself to be well-structured and in some cases almost catchy Death Metal.

I think this is a rare case of a popular Death Metal band that doesn’t suck, but I haven’t seen them live yet so maybe I’ll end up eating crow. Good sound on the CD, anyway… In all seriousness, I’ve been a supporter of Artifical Brain since their first album and I’m happy for them. And the album art doesn’t remind me of the movie ‘Wall-E’ at all.

Mason – “Concrete Mirror” – [Oxen]

Lord Gravestench   9/7/2018   A Library, Cassette

Yet another deprogramming session from LA’s Harsh Noise dealers at Oxen, the label run by Unsustainable Social Condition and Leah P. This time our contestant is Abe Mason from N. Carolina., his mouth full of dust and tape. There are two tracks on side A and 3 on side B of this 2018 scorcher, and both ten-minute sides track together (wink). Side A is skittery and explosive, like coming down from methamphetamine (I’m told). Small movements in dim corners of abandoned factories. Suddenly the broken machinery springs to life; splats, tearing. Side B grinding rattling creaking, electronics and metal and a continuation of the general ‘cut-up’ theme also explored recently by Japan’s Scum on this same label.

It all seems to be pretty intricate sound design work even by the standard Oxen enforces. Very much in stereo, and kind of like a child “with ADHD” (cough) it can’t settle on any noise texture for more than about half a second. I dunno if it’s improvised or composed or waddaya waddaya, but I declare it truly impressive noise. Apparently Mason has also released quite a bit under the name Thirteen Fingers.

Pure electronic harsh noise devastation chopped into breathless adrenalin bursts. The only recognisable human sound anywhere is a brief sample of maybe a standup comic on the final track who pops in to say “It’s all just a waste of time… doesn’t matter.” Indeed.

Coil – “ELpH Vs Coil: Worship The Glitch” – [Dais]

Lord Gravestench   8/19/2018   A Library, CD

Coil seem to be legitimately famous now– posthumously of course, and is that not always the way? Every record store with a separate ‘Gothic and Industrial’ section seems to have a bunch of their records now. The erstwhile lovers and longtime counterparts Jhonn Balance and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson were legends long before they were legendary and the exposure probably would have irritated them.

Originally released in 1995, this is a reissue from this year of what may be Coil’s most abstract recording. Taking a page from Brian Eno’s book (or a card from his deck?), the Industrial mad scientists/ritual magick practitioners employed aleatory (that is, chance-based) methods of composition, subjecting their own minimal session recordings to a variety of software-driven manipulations. Balance and Sleazy dubbed the incorporeal third member whose collaborative intentions emerged from the randomised manipulations ‘ELpH.’ I’m not clear on the exact details of the methods the band employed, but it seems likely that drugs were involved, possibly MDMA, as contrary to popular belief the diagnosed schizophrenic Balance was not a real-life fan of ‘Love’s Secret Domain’ (I’m not so sure about Sleazy).

This is not ‘glitch’ in the Techno sense. Whispy, spectral, often barely musical, sometimes quite queasy and frequently possessed of an otherworldly beauty, this looks back to the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Tangerine Dream and “honorary member” K. Stockhausen but doesn’t really sound like them and gosh, I guess nothing that’s come out since really sounds like this either. Coming from a band who so defined the ‘song-based’ quadrant of Industrial music, this is challenging listening indeed, calming and maddening all at once.

It’s all over the place. T.2 is like getting smacked in the face with the pixelated alarm clock. T.8 might be singing. T.9 sounds like an aviary. T.12 is kind of fucked-up minimal techno, with hyper-sped-up voices. T.13 alleges to be an instrumental cover of ‘These Boots are Made for Walking.’ T.16, the most overtly musical piece, is a manipulated recording of Aleister Crowley’s wife Leah Hirsig singing part of ‘For All We Know.’ Most of the tracks are pretty short.

It makes no sense, and although vaguely in line with Coil’s other ‘drone’ works from the mid-90s, it’s quite atypical for a Coil album. If you play it for dogs or infants, they may attain samadhi.

At the end of the day, I think Coil was the best of the three groups formed out of the ashes of Throbbing Gristle. A truly singular pair of sound manipulators. RIP.

Amofas – “Blood Like Fire” – [Cinereous]

Lord Gravestench   8/16/2018   7-inch, A Library

Gloomy, necro Black Metal with an old skool pagan/NS sound (lyrical themes unknown). This is the solo project of one member of Bone Awl. Galloping Shadow, AKA He Who Gnashes Teeth, runs the Cinereous label also.

On this 2012 EP, neither side gets too fast, but there is a glowering aggression akin to Akitsa, early Graveland or perhaps Coldness from Portugal. Only this limited test pressing has the excellent cover art.

In terms of the classic 90s BM sound this is much more traditional than Bone Awl. Elite riffs both sides. The B side has a more aggressive vocal and a keyboard part. On the other hand, the A side has more pride and spite and it may be the better one.

Everything is rusty, broken, falling apart here. All that’s left is your honour. Must be time to kommit suicide in your bunker. Don’t forget to poison the kids first.

Ames Sanglantes – “Chindia Tower Impalements” – [Hospital Productions]

Lord Gravestench   8/13/2018   A Library, CD

Quebecois Pierre-Marc Tremblay is internationally recognised as half of the Black Metal project Akitsa, founded in the late ’90s. What perhaps fewer fans may know is that he has been equally renowned in Noise circles for about the same span of time under the name Ames Sanglantes, trans. Bloody Souls. A.S., long a member of the Hospital Productions inner circle alongside like minds such as Prurient and Alberich, is genuinely one of the harshest and most difficult Power Electronics/Noise projects your reviewer has ever encountered.

The project’s releases often seem to be intended as abstract representations of physical violence – in KFJC’s library already are albums called ‘Street Violence’ and ‘Le Cri du Pendu’ (‘The Hangman’s Cry’). This 2018 reissue of a 2015 cassette release is in a similar vein, as it were…

Inspired by European folk hero, whoops I mean infamous sadist and tyrant Vlad The Impaler, this is Slow Execution Electronics, or as the artist would have it, “Ancient Blood Soaked Architectural Column Noise,” a nod to Vlad’s starkly fortified Chindia Tower, which stands to this day. Each of the 3 CDs in this attractive edition houses two basically endless Harsh Noise tracks reminiscent of Vomir, Richard Ramirez, Maurizio Bianchi, and Whorebutcher among others.

What’s so fascinating about this album is how it manages to create the impression of a continuous, crushing wall of noise, when in fact it has many changes happening all the time, just not obviously. To a casual listener it may create the impression of Harsh Noise Wall, but up close, the very gradual variations in the pulsing electronic tones, buried samples and crumbling distortion create an incredible sense of slow, agonizing progress, rather akin to an iron stake gradually working its way up along the spine.

Play this if Brighter Death Now’s ‘May All Be Dead’ or Will Over Matter’s ‘Power Dances’ had just a little too much going on for you. Layers upon layers of ravaged electronics create maniacal nightscapes where you’ll encounter screams and sadistic laughter (1.1), night birds ousting day birds (1.2), thunderstorms (2.1), hissing dungeons (2.2), wolves, some of which may be human (3.1), and full-on burning, twisting synth impalement (3.2). Each track is a mystifying gem of the deepest blood red. Most will drive a certain kind of KFJC listener absolutely nuts; if you’re dumb enough to pick up the studio phone please remind them that they are not actually being impaled on an iron spike and that it’ll be OK. Also recite the following: “Hail Dracul! Hail Wallachia! Hail the Underground! Hail Darkness and Oppression!”

Each track is about 30 minutes long, but you can always play part of one.

Crash Syndrom – ‘Postmortem Solutions to Mundane Issues’ – [Obliteration Records]

Lord Gravestench   8/7/2018   A Library, CD

C.R.A.S.H. Syndrome (AKA M.A.S.A. syndrome) is a rare X-chromosome-linked recessive neurological disorder, characterized by Corpus callosum hypoplasia, Retardation, Adducted thumbs, Spastic paraplegia, and Hydrocephalus. To the lay-observer, the condition would likely seem a case merely of R., and that’s what they call a synecdoche.

Crash Syndrom, meanwhile, is a Japanese Grindcore band with two members (I hear they recently added a chick bassist, but anyhow it’s just two guys on this CD). Their drummer is Japanese and their vocalist/guitarist seems to be an immigrant of Ukrainian origin. Together they make beautiful traditional music. Bitch-mutilation and whore-embalming are the general themes encrypted in the bloody gargles. The guitars are surprisingly ‘wanky’ at times, but a little flourish can go a long way in this kind of thing. A nice balance of brutality and panache on this 2018 CD, their first album, with traces of the guts of Repulsion, Exhumed, Wormrot smeared here and there. The duo display tight synchrony, but not in a gay way. Deadpan nurse sampled inscrutably on t.14, which, at 3m27s, is about a minute longer than the second-longest song.

T.s 1 and 15 are proggy guitar instrumentals. T.17 is an a capella cover of Taylor Swift’s ‘Should’ve Said No’ sung by a young female wearing loud headphones. An older brotherly clandestine recording prank perhaps? Regardless, it may be the most blood-curdling thing on here.

K2 – ‘Molekular Terrorism’ – [Self Release]

Lord Gravestench   7/30/2018   A Library, CD

K2 is the Harsh Noise project of Japanohumanoid Kusafuka Kimihide, terrorising audiences since 1983. This CDr release is probably the artist’s own reissue of the 1996 album: fucked if I know.

A necropolis that never sleeps and never shuts the fuck up, blowing hot farts of scrap metal out of its torn asshole at all of hours of the night. The hammering shrapnel destroys transients and stray animals like insects, splattering blood and offal across the irretrievably filthy pavement.

This nightmarish cockophany reminds me for some reason of ’80s B-list creature features set in vaporous Lower-Manhattan Bedlams, e.g. ‘C.H.U.D.,’ ‘Wolven,’ and (my personal favourite), ‘Breeders.’

Yes it is similar to Macronympha, Taint maybe even a little Haters

Mostly scrap metal. Some screaming/singing-like sounds that will make you think of the scene in ‘Candyman’ where C.M. cuts off the retarded kid’s junk. Electronics are punctuation. You wish this was just or even mostly electronics: no such luck, cuck.

Four tracks but who cares, it might as well all be one. Go nuts.

Marduk – ‘Viktoria’ – [Century Media]

Lord Gravestench   7/18/2018   A Library

Sweden’s Marduk, founded in 1990 and named after the patron deity of ancient Babylon, is truly one of the ‘O.G.’ Scandinavian Black Metal bands. Despite many lineup changes, the core brand has been preserved, and pressed ever forwards, by guitarist ‘Morgan’ (real name Patrik Niclas Morgan Hakansson)– who, by the way, allegedly still possesses skull fragments from the suicide of Mayhem’s vocalist ‘Dead,’ which were mailed to him by that band’s guitarist Euronymous.

Marduk have shown a more-than-passing influence in Third Reich history for a long time, perhaps culminating in 1999’s divisive ‘Panzer Division Marduk,’ an album of start-to-finish, hammering ferocity and speed that declared Marduk’s intention of being the world’s fastest Orthodox Black Metal Band. With each album since that time, Marduk seem to have gotten faster AND more politically provocative; and like Slayer before them, every album has had to have its ‘Nazi’ song, e.g. ‘The Hangman of Prague,’ the masterful opener of 2004’s ‘Plague Angel.’

Vocalist (since 2004) ‘Mortuus’ has said: “A band that claims to play Black Metal must always have Satanism and nothing but Satanism as the highest priority in their music and concept as well as in their personal lives.” The occult cannot be political. The brutal experiences of German soldiers during WWII (such as half-German Morgan’s grandfather) seem to be the focus on this album. The Nazi Total War machine seems to resonate with the band’s Satanism, and they’d hardly be the first.

When Marduk announced a gig in Oakland in 2017, the Bay Area Antifa all got their periods at the same time. Some of these sad individuals (none of whom would have lasted five minutes on the eastern front) must have even gotten it into their heads that Marduk are in the propaganda business. Anyway, the cows mooed, the AK press paperbacks fluttered, and the show (to which we did have tickets) was cancelled by Oakland PD following threats against the venue.

As if in defiance, this new album is a cold-blooded killer, incorporating absolutely merciless pummelling of the kit and pithily original riffs that flicker across the surface of the battlefield, bloody shreds of Beethoven scores repurposed as munitions. Iron-throated Mortuus also manages to growl melodically on t.2. Air raid sirens and falling bombs both make appearances. The last track is CyThoth’s favourite. Marduk have always approached their sound like a Death Metal band, prioritizing hyper-disciplined musicianship and polished production, an approach that works very well here.

Tl;dr: this is ruling traditional Black Metal and a slow/painful/non-negotiable death to all members of Bay Area Antifa.

Synanon – “Angels At The End of The World” – [Dead Accents]

Lord Gravestench   7/17/2018   A Library, Cassette

One-man noisegrind from music journalist Shane Mehling, also of the WA post-hardcore band Great Falls. Bandmate Demian Johnston (see also: Sutekh Hexen, BLSPHM, noise work under his own name) runs the label.

Side A = Blown-out mathy bass assault, probable drum machine doing the full blast thing, Pig Destroyer style hardcore vocals. The last track resolves itself with about one minute of feedback.

Side B = Single piece of nearly unlistenable feedback manipulation.

A sleek and deadly example of a confrontational genre, somewhat akin to the more musical excursions of longtime KFJC favourites Sissy Spacek.

The original Synanon was a drug recovery program founded in Santa Monica that turned into a criminal mind-control cult. Couldn’t be cultier than 12-step, though (rimshot!).

Both sides about 5 minutes. The label founder says: “I am hoping to release some more of his stuff but it’s impossible to get him back in the damn studio. He spends all his time battling blackberry bushes.”

VoidCeremony – “Foul Origins of Humanity” – [Blood Harvest]

Lord Gravestench   7/7/2018   A Library, CD

VoidCeremony (Ramona, CA) play Blackened Death Metal with symptoms of Tech/Prog. Hyperactive and dense riffing goes unexpected places frequently, as if each song is stitched together from several. There is a definite affinity for melody interwoven with the chaos, occasionally evoking a schizophrenic version of (old) Goatwhore, or the elegant esotericism of Australia’s Stargazer.

Two members of KFJC live mic veterans Ascended Dead have been involved– guitarist/vocalist JR and drummer CK (see also: Necrosic), but this is definitely not an Ascended Dead side-project: in point of fact, while JR and CK are still employed as live members, on this 2018 EP, (the band’s third release since 2014) the core duo of composer/vocalist/guitarist/bassist GJ (‘Wandering Mind’) and guitarist IM (‘Nexus Traveller’) worked with multi-tracks and a session drummer. There is some similarity here to newer Yank Tech-Death bands like LA’s Derogatory (what happened to them, anyway?), SF’s ION and NYC’s Artifical Brain, but also VC sound more… evil… than any of these bands (it’s that Black Metal influence). T.3 is a dazzling instrumental.

Trippy, virtuosic and great. What the Hel is going on on that cover, though? It may be related to a vaguely articulated horror/sci-fi “concept.” Maybe the band will tell us about it when they play at KFJC on 7/20/2018?

Controlled Death – “Symphony For The Black Murder” – [Urashima]

Lord Gravestench   6/23/2018   12-inch, A Library

Maso Yamazaki is a Japanese sound experimenter best known for his harsh noise work as Masonna, with which, alongside such artistes as Incapacitants, Merzbow and Hijokaidan, he helped to define the Japanese harsh noise sound. Now at the age of 51 he has unveiled a brand-new project that is so fresh and so vital it scares the shit out of me.

Controlled death may refer to the surgical practice of inducing temporary clinical death (stopping the heart and lungs) in a patient at an extremely low temperature, a state known as deep hypothermic circulatory arrest, in which the unfortunate may be kept ‘dead’ for as long as 30 minutes without damaging the brain. If that is the source of this project’s name, it not only matches the aesthetic, but also gets at the sense of control and rigor present thoughout these compositions.

The Italian label Urashima specializes in cold and nasty Power Electronics and Death Industrial sounds, and they do a lot of reissues— we have great ones from Taint, Bizarre Uproar and Vidna Obmana in the library. This 2018 release, which could easily pass for a reissue itself of some old cassette from the early 90s, sees synth fetishist Maso explore Urashima’s favourite style. This is perverse, intense, harsh Industrial based on pulsing synthesizers and ingeniously employed effects pedals, with the occasional echoing shriek of torment thrown into the blender and chopped up. It feels so much like a conscious tribute to Marco Corbelli of Italy’s Atrax Morgue (of which Urashima just issued a massive box set) and his ghoulish Slaughter Productions label that I would be surprised to learn otherwise. Everything on this record is so well done, and so inspired, that I am convinced Maso’s been studying these styles of weirdo electronic music for years. Now he has entered the conversation himself, and I hope he releases more.

Perverted Ceremony – “Sabbat of Behezael” – [Nuclear War Now! Productions]

Lord Gravestench   6/5/2018   A Library, CD

Belgian duo of ‘Morbid Messiah’ and ‘Baron Cimiterre’ allegedly founded in 2011. Since their 2016 recording debut, their take on Bestial Black / War / Goat Metal has made a big splash in the underground, like some kind of unholy cave diver.

Hype can be pretty deadly to extreme metal bands but not in this case. Proving there’s more to my least favourite Western European country than Muslim terrorist safehouses, ‘Man Bites Dog,’ Jean-Claude Juncker’s resort for retired bureaucrats, terrifying deep-state pedophilia rings, and those fried potato stick things, P.C. deliver an oozing effluent of exultant (and on a few occasions, oddly banjo-like) tremolo riffing, animalistic growls, and precisely pugilistic percussion. For psychedelic spice (and to go with their vintage logo) they add 70s-style guitar riffing and analog-sounding keyboards to the stew on many tracks.

Their most obvious influence is Beherit, though their sound is more studied; there are elements too of Archgoat, Blasphemy, Mystifier, Hellvetron, Goatlord, Nocturnal Blood, maybe Varathron. Good company to be in all around. My point is that their sound actually does manage to come across as fairly original, and unlike so many of their influences there is a certain tautness to the playing.

I asked Rat King what they were doing on the cover. “Obviously they are having a perverted ceremony,” came her reply. Indeed.

Also included on this CD version: the tracks from the NWN! 12” LP we added 4 months ago.

T.s 1 + 10 are dungin’ synth intros.

Injekting Khaos – “Injekting Khaos” – [Blast Beat Mailmurder/Productions]

Lord Gravestench   6/5/2018   12-inch, A Library

Progressive Black Metal from Athens, active 2002-13. They only put out three recordings, of which this 2013 EP is the last. It really is great stuff, its angular and aggressive mid-length bursts balancing atonality and melody skilfully with a slight Grind influence perhaps. Included within the appealing all-paper packaging is a wordy interview—conducted by Temple of Flesh, the Cypriot label that co-released this with BBMM— with I.K. guitarist ‘MyLastBreatH.’ The following excerpts, presented in their original sequence, may help you decide whether you will like this LP:

“[W]e formed I.K. with the sole purpose to play Black Metal that departs from the Black Metal rules… Our name is a tribute to Antaeus, a very special and original band; that is telling of where we came from… A.V. of Dead Congregation appeared with us on stage… some riffs are nods to other bands that the listener can name… I cannot pick between Deathspell Omega and Black Witchery… [drummer] Syrinx blasted with the astrogrind camp of Dephosphorus before focusing on his classical music studies…”

This is not the most ‘authentic’ Black Metal in the world, but this is not a surprise as the band openly disdain the orthodox sound. There is plenty of bite here all the same.