Raven – A Disease Called Man (C20, Lava Church Records)

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raven disease called man

Raven offers up 20 minutes of harsh noise on this tape from Lava Church. The segments themselves are short and bleak, both sidelong tracks on this C20 featuring some great contours and junctions for the genre. Raven’s whole setup seems like it would be placed squarely in the vein of harsh noise wall, but there’s a lot more going on on A Disease Called Man than some static and a bass repetition. Instead, side A gives off some heavy, varied textures and side B touches on the drone side of things. The packaging is also commendable; Lava Church has included a liner picture and a recycled box for the tape, along with stickers on both sides of the tape.

“From Womb to Tomb” is the first cut here, beginning with a shuddering whisper of breathy static before a droning, eerie tone kicks in. A very crunchy and warbled fuzz line is added, as well as a demented feedback loop. It all comes together with shuddering bass and an alarum-like wail, but the track moves around quite a bit within this range; Raven takes it through heavy distortion, high-pitched feedback, even with near-metallic scraping and screeching from electronics, but certainly kept within the original groove begun at the start of the track. It’s a nice mix of sound, and it’s done without losing focus of where the tones began.

“A Disease Called Man” is a more traditional mix of drone and noise; it starts off with a churning blend of out-of-control electronics, jumbled together and creating quite a mess, and then overtop of that is a deep and echoing tone that vibrates quite nicely. Raven continues to add effect to it, some underneath the drone like a steady clipping beep or a the sizzle of saw-like textures, until the whole thing comes down into a static shimmer. It’s dense and wonderfully layered, a real treat with which to end the tape.

This is some great work by Raven, and definitely a tape to have in your collection, not only for the sounds on it but also the cool packaging by Lava Church. If you’re at all interested in darker noise drones, A Disease Called Man is a misanthropic way to go.

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