Sterile is influenced by the sound source that The Thin White Puke includes late on the B-side of this tape, a sort of paranoid document about doctors sterilizing their female patients after certain events in their lives. The Thin White Puke gives us power electronics, not the sort of thing that might obviously stick out as unoriginal though. There’s a lot on Sterile that feels fresh.
On this C20, there’s a lot of movement between tracks. None of what’s on this cassette sounds exactly the same, which is something that I feel plagues a lot of power electronics. The vocal deliveries aren’t always the same, the rhythms are always varied, and some tracks aren’t even really PE at all. Short tracks like “Gulag” deliver quick bursts of aggression, whereas “Heat Stroke” heads more into harsh noise territory with a droning longer track of textured noise.
“Paper or Plastic” works well because of The Thin White Puke’s vocals; this track tends to cut out the noise while the lyrics are shouted, and Sterile often switches between being focused on the noise or the vocals. I like that, and I like how cleanly shouted the vocals are. In the case of PE, the vocals are simply another instrument of brutality delivered with the aggression of the noise, and Sterile uses this for great effect.
It surprises me that Sterile is such a short cassette at only 20 minutes, because there’s a lot packed on it. 10 tracks, two minutes apiece – they’re all volatile in their stunted length, and The Thin White Puke gives a powerful performance in both noise and vocals.