Whore’s Skeleton is a harsh noise project from Columbus, Ohio, and on Honey, a CD-R of just under ten minutes, the project presents one live-recorded track. Whore’s Skeleton has released a couple of other albums, but apparently none of them have been easily producible in a live setting. Honey is meant to change that.
It certainly does feel recorded in a live setting, and the electronic sounds all feel authentic to the session. The track opens with a lingering, melancholic drone which acts as a frame for the rest of the track. There are a few vignettes in this sub-10 minute piece; the first one begins as what seems like a sound sample from a movie, but it has been distorted and/or looped to create screams and a pounding that mimics what one might hear in power electronics. It’s a good use of sample, and quite effective.
The track moves on like a bus, using the drone to carry the listener until we get to a second wave of noise, this one being a washed-out electronic whir with harsh vocals from Whore’s Skeleton. The noise buzz is only mediocre – it seems as though there’s too much room within the sound, and it’s probably due to a recording element rather than a lack of texture. Finally, another sample, this time from The Tracey Fragments (which could be the source for the other sample, but I’m not sure), carries the listener out with a discomfiting thought.
It’s an interesting, sometimes fairly original, piece from Whore’s Skeleton, and it creates a sense of wonder of what the project can do next. It’s not perfect, but neither is performing live, and that’s kind of the point of this release. A well thought-out effort.
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.