Gnawed – Terminal Epoch (CD, Phage Tapes)

terminal epoch

Terminal Epoch is a full-length Gnawed album from Grant Richardson, and he’s become quite the aficionado of the power electronics scene. All of Gnawed’s output is consistently grueling; the devastating recordings are populated with the staples of the PE genre without feeling like the same tracks over and over again. That’s a difficult thing to do with a full-length like Terminal Epoch, with twelve tracks to fill. But the CD, clocking in at over 40 minutes, never repeats the same thing.

It certainly fits into the style of power electronics that Gnawed has been putting out for years, though. Tracks like the opening “Savage Judgment” paired with “Taken As Scorn” would sit well on any cassette Gnawed as put out; they use the vocal manipulations and pounding, slow synth beats that make up traditional PE tracks. But what always amazes me about Gnawed as an artist in the forefront of the field is that his tracks always feel incredibly powerful, mixed with the clanging industrial beats as emphatic as feedback is with harsh noise artists.

Gnawed varies things considerably, however. It’s not all about the methodical rhythmic beats; “Lip Service,” “Retribution,” and “To Crawl” manage to loop industrial rhythms without needing a thudding stomp. “Deconstructed” only sticks around for a minute, while other tracks make use of unusual source sounds like a monotone scrawl of static or a quiet sampled vocals. Gnawed’s signature whorled screams are still present, but they’re muffled occasionally.

The source sounds elevate Terminal Epoch above other PE tracks. Screeching electronics is par for the course, but piecing together specific sounds, like the synth line from the title track, takes a lot more foresight. It makes it well worth the listen.

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