Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse (C30, Out-of-Body Records)

It always amazes me how much darkness Flesh Coffin can produce on each subsequent release. It’s an art form to feel that oppressed when listening to noise; the drones and shudders of Andreas Brandal’s work shine forth in exquisite detail on this cassette from Out-of-Body Records, and the eerie artwork of the j-card (notice the child’s face on the seam!) adds that extra dimension.

Two side-long tracks split up the tape, each side coming in around fourteen minutes in length. “Stage 1” is a noisy mix of contact mic’d junk, chimes or bells, and often swirling synth sounds that mix together for an industrial drone. The track subtly shifts between pared-back notes of darkness and explosions of sharp electronics, meaning the listener gets little time to rest before being bombarded with a surprising jolt of sound. Sometimes you can hear the quick edit cuts; other times, Flesh Coffin routinely shifts into scratchy static mode. It makes everything very unstructured, and there’s no reason to expect anything other than random shifts from quiet to loud.

“Stage 2” is similar, starting off with a distant industrial clatter accompanied by a droning of synth work. Flesh Coffin provides ample evidence that this recording was in fact done in a slaughterhouse, as much of the noise sounds derived from chains and metal smacking against each other, like cows being carted off to the grinder. It builds into static and another wave of crunchy, shifting electronics, often piled on top of another into a makeshift wall, although purists won’t find Flesh Coffin’s noise rigid enough. Instead, there’s an expansion to “Stage 2”, often with new layers until we get to a very out-of-tune organ playing a rhythm the phantom of the opera would enjoy.

Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse moves quickly, offering up slabs of harsh noise and then backing off for more sinister drones before hitting full-force again. It’s a swift piece, and Flesh Coffin knows how to produce dark passages that explode at surprising times. Flesh Coffin is a portrayal of those dimly lit places of the mind; in this case, the slaughterhouse is your brain after this tape finishes.

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