Sissy Spacek – Brath (CD, Oxen)

Sissy Spacek is pretty much legendary in the noise genre, but even if you haven’t heard the band specifically, its member John Wiese should definitely ring familiar. The band has gone through a series of members in its lengthy run, but Brath finds Wiese working with drummer Charlie Mumma alone to create noisegrind out of squalls of electronics and percussive elements. The album comes as a nice professional release from Oxen.

This incarnation of Sissy Spacek finds the band shredding over two tracks of raucous, ragged grind. Brath is split into two parts, but ultimately there’s nothing to really distinguish one track over the other. Mumma delivers insane blast beats under squalls of electronics that are so blown-out that the actual rhythm and structure is lost in a whirlwind – occasionally, those beats come out, and often you can hear Mumma wailing away at cymbals or a ride, but a lot of the definition is lost in searing noise.

The growled vocals are a regular throughout the two pieces, hyperbolic deliveries that add to the absolute chaos and disintegration of traditional grindcore. Brath is similar to what one might hear if they stuck their head up to a jet engine – an overwhelming soundwave, along with the ticking and clicking of machinery working at maximum capacity.

And that’s why Brath is so enjoyable, an assault on the senses that forces the listener to get lost in the wall of sound created by the instrumentation. Attempt to follow Mumma’s drumming and find the logical pattern; struggle to figure out the repetitions in the pieces. It’s nearly impossible in these blasts of sound, and that keeps me coming back to Brath, listening to things I missed the first time around and blowing my ears out in the process. At only 25 minutes, Brath encourages the listener to put this thing on repeat.

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