Shiver – Born to Lose (3″ CD-R, Diazepam)

Shiver is Mauro Sciaccaluga, the owner and operator of the Diazepam label. Shiver has only a few releases under its belt, with three of them being from this year alone. The project specializes in power electronics, with screaming vocals from the artist buried underneath rumbling bass and punctuated rhythms. This 3″ clocks in around 17 minutes, with three tracks on blank white CD-R in an oversized case. A disturbing insert with a skeletal child and a full-page spread of the cover comes included.

Born to Lose is certainly going for a more horror-themed tone, which is not only limited to its artwork and song titles but the sonics as well. “The House of Others” begins with a feedback squall which doesn’t puncture the ears, instead providing a minor irritant. Underneath is a rather dark sound clip of a group fighting, and despite the muffled vocals, a few key phrases like “don’t panic”, “call an ambulance”, and “die” resonate from within before the track explodes into a bass-heavy rhythm that recycles the feedback from before; Shiver’s unintelligible vocals echo behind. The bass has an interesting feel to it, because at first it almost feels like there’s no rhythm at all to the noise, but instead a mess of crumbling sounds. Not so – the repetition soon brings to light the hidden power electronics march, a track that is not instantly gratifying but becomes so after concentrated listening.

“There Was Blood Everywhere” continues the mid-paced saunter of noise, this time with a rhythmic throbbing buzz along with sweeps of atmospheric electronics behind it. Pounding vibrato static creates continuous beats, and sustained sounds give this track a dank, drone vibe that feels nicely layered, always being built upon by Shiver, including echoing, manipulated sound clips. The track has a slow burn to it, a method of bricklaying that eventually crafts a textured wall of moody noise that mimics the thematic story of the speaker on the track.

A heady wall of surging static and fast-moving beats rounds out the whole affair on “Poison the Spring.” This has got some energy to it thanks to the repetitive rhythm, and harsh feedback whistles and squeals on top like a deranged marching flutist. Very wall-like in design, this track establishes a density that the other tracks do not, and there’s a real sense of urgency generated with the pulsing noise. Shiver’s vocals are also their strongest on this track, overcoming the onslaught of sound with a delivery that’s better bodied than on the first track.

Born to Lose is power electronics done with an element of unsettling dread on each track. The pieces are fairly repetitious, but that returning rhythm often generates cascading noises that play over the continuous sounds to add a new dimension. With the dark sound samples and conglomeration of sounds, Born to Lose ensures that it doesn’t live up to its title.

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