Before this split release I hadn’t heard anything from Josh Lay as a solo artist; he used to be a part of Cadaver in Drag (which I love, and I cherish the one cassette I have by them), and he’s also got his own moniker of Swamp Horse. Crown of Bone is a project by Dustin Alan Redington who runs Occult Supremacy (shameless plug: Tomb of Trinkets’ Drugged Lunch will be coming out on that label shortly), and also makes up part of the group Tenebrious. On This is a Tourniquet of the Light, the Black Obituary. (period included on the release), both artists offer up oppressively bleak tracks that span over 20 minutes apiece.
Josh Lay’s track “A Shroud of Ice & Bird Feathers” is first. This track is quiet – both literally and minimally – so you’ll have to turn it up a little bit. Lay layers twinkling atonal music box tones, screaming witch vocals, and his own blackened screams on top of each other, all of it rushing together with a gurgling background. It’s all very minimal – there’s no explosion of sound besides Lay’s grunts, so you’re not going to get bombarded – but the creepy crawl of this track gets to you all the same. It depends on how you feel about Lay’s vocals, though; at times they seem a bit corny paired with the quiet of this track. If you can get into the black rasp of his voice, you’ll have a good time with this.
Then Crown of Bone comes in with “Tormented in a Gouge of Razors.” Be ready to turn your system down! This is mastered loudly, but the first moments of the track are meant to throw you off. A quieter bit of static lulls us away until an absolutely crushing wall filled with deep growls drops on the listener. This is a mixture of harsh noise wall and more; the wall continues for a while, but it does change to different textures in the middle of the track until that wall comes back. In the distance we can hear little chirrups of sound, sometimes strands of bass-driven static or higher-pitched crumbles. It’s all very thick and entrancing, and the vocals are excellent.
You can’t go wrong with This is a Tourniquet of the Light, the Black Obituary. Two great artists with different takes on horrific black noise get their own space to terrify, and the CD comes from Obfuscated Records, meaning the package is put together extremely well.