Ghost Miner – Shadow Factory (C25, Out-Of-Body Records)

darkwave, EBM, Industrial, Music, Noise, Review

Ghost Miner is Nick Cabrera (also of harsh noise project Ascites), and he joins the canon of other great releases on Out-Of-Body Records with this C25 titled “Shadow Factory.” A factory is correct – of loops, that is, because the eleven tracks on this cassette are full of repetitive minimal tracks with heavy beats and drum tracks. It’s a lot different from the expected assault of Ascites, and a nice change of pace at that.

The first side is filled with seven quick cuts, the second with four longer offerings. These tracks are filled with beat-driven noise that compiles synth layers and drum machine programs, softly alternating their rhythms with minimal texturing changes. The A-side really flies through its 12 minutes without stopping, and it’s often difficult to tell the shift from one track to the next; these are good, but the B-side shines with the longer cuts, allowing Ghost Miner to add more detailed and nuance to the repetitive tracks.

These are moody synth scores in the vein of ’80s industrialized movie soundtracks, and Shadow Factory adds a number of atmospheric songs. “Evasion” is the longest at 5 minutes, operating with an echoey synth and drum duality and adding in ghostly vocals throughout; it’s the sound of a sinister toy-making facility, all off-key and atonal, and it shows how successful Ghost Miner can be with drawn-out pieces.

Shadow Factory is a great release of minimal noise-driven beats, and it’s interesting to hear Ghost Miner’s dark dancework in comparison to Ascites blasts of noise. Like everything Out-Of-Body Records has put out so far, this is material that’s definitely worth picking up.

Human Vault – Tears of the Quiet Ones/Souls Inflicted (2xCD-R, Exabyss Records)

dub, EBM, Industrial, Music, Noise, Review

hukman vault

Human Vault is Mortum, an industrial artist whose work has been released on a variety of different lables. Exabyss Records is re-releasing Human Vault’s ouput, and Tears of the Quiet Ones/Souls Inflicted is a combination of two recordings on a 2-CD-R set. Tears of the Quiet Ones is a regular full-length album, and the second disc, Souls Inflicted, is a set of four remixes by Vinnui and Gary. It’s a nice package from Exabyss Records, especially if you missed Human Vault output in the past; the electro death industrial music he puts out isn’t for everyone, but the noisy dance sound is nonetheless done well.

Human Vault often uses a standard repetitive beat for his tracks; programmed drums provide the background beat, while various synth tracks lay out the gothic feel, often dark and haunting but hypnotic as well. Most of the tracks clock in around lengthy four- or five-minute marks, using their repetition to lock into a groove as Human Vault growls or snarls over them.

None of these are too noisy, although they have a semblance of that to them; “Void in Fetus” starts out with crackles of static, only to erupt into a bass-driven jam with squeaky interlaced in the mix. “Stupid Sadistic and Suicidal” is an intro piece that lays down more electronics than beats, with a sound sample late in the track that shows where the title came from.

The snarly vocals are the draw here for me, although I have to say that all of Tears of the Quiet Ones’ beats are catchy. The sounds are compiled well, and all of the tracks generally have one or two moments where the song morphs ever so slightly, like “The Defeat of Creation”‘s subtle synth notes in the background. The final track onTears of the Quiet Ones, the Gary remix “The Defeat of Creation,” slows things down quite nicely for a dreamy outro.

Souls Inflicted is a nice bonus for listeners, especially since some the original tracks aren’t included on this release. It gives a quick look at what other sounds Human Vault has created, and at the same time allows Vinnui and Gary some exposure as well. It’s a short CD-R, but definitely worth a listen.

Exabyss’ package of this Human Vault reissue is really nice, and an avid listener of industrial would feel right at home with this album. With that said, I’m not too knowledgeable with industrial myself, but Tears of the Quiet Ones/Souls Inflicted is definitely a beat-heavy album with a lot of good sounds, worth a check even for those who like more noise than music.

Terror’ish – Weak Stance (C20, Ratskin Records)

EBM, Glitch, Industrial, Music, Noise, Review

I wonder if the artist name for Terror’ish comes from the P.O.S song of the same name? Not sure, because I can’t find much information on Terror’ish besides the Myspace Music page of his (which does feature an reenvisioning of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” that is apt for the holidays). Weak Stance is the only actual physical release that I can find; released in Ratskin Records, it’s got five tracks over the course of twenty minutes, and it’s all very rhythmic noise focusing on industrial-tinged glitch and dubstep beats that incorporate lots of harsh sounds along the way.

There’s the tribal clicking and clanging of “Last Slice” that sounds like it’s being played on overamplified tubes that the Blue Man Group might use on stage; the two A-side tracks, “As Long As the Outcome Is Income” and “Over Your Skin”, are longer, letting the repetitive rhythms sprawl while Terror’ish adds new layers throughout. The former even features some drum programming that highlights the similarities between the clicks of sticks and the sharp bursts of differing static sounds that begin to crash away at the listener. “Over Your Skin” drones at first, adding low volume breakcore underneath synth tracks.

These tracks are strangely hard on the ears, even though they do stay fairly rhythmic. It’s like listening to a dying washing machine, metal scraping along inside of it while it judders up and down, left and right. To that end, Terror’ish does a good job of keeping Weak Stance barely listenable for those who like beat-driven electronics akin to Fuck Buttons; for those who like noise, it’s still harsh enough to craft a trippy and surprisingly melodic cassette.

 

Melted Cassettes – The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings (CD, Mind Flare Media)

EBM, Glitch, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

The duo of Melted Cassettes combine trashed synths with other noises for a decidedly rhythmic take on noise music; there’s also an emphasis on screamed, whorled vocals that pepper each track, adding their own type of unique sound to the amalgamation.

“Shining Figures” is easily the best track on The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings, a Locust-ian tune that features no distinguishable real instruments at all. Instead it churns into a rhythmic mess of downtempo glitch, as if a crusty grind band were playing with busted, fucked synths instead of guitar.

With that said, none of the other songs on this disc reach the same crescendo as “Shining Figures.” They’re still good, but they fall into the same patterns and aren’t done to as well as the that elevated track. The vocals swirl within the crunchy glitches, harping with synths and programming that are mostly catchy. “Plastic Bubble Byter” is another excellent cut, but these good ones are often frustrated by “Lor” or “Sounds From Hell Vol. 2”, which never quite click.

But The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings does end on another good note with the noisy “Xzrzrz” that differs from the other tracks with little rhythm or vocal sounds; there’s a good zippy sound to it, and it shows that Melted Cassettes don’t need to yell over their grinding music.

All told, The Real Sounds From Hell Recordings is a promising record if you’re into the sort of noise rock that The Locust or Daughters play; this time, though Melted Cassettes aren’t playing with recognizable instruments. Sometimes they don’t hit with their pseudo-dance beats, but “Shining Figures” is definitely worth a listen.

Cheezface – Circumstantial Pestilence (CD, Mind Flare Media)

dark ambient, EBM, Glitch, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

As you can tell from the cover artwork and song titles on Circumstantial Pestilence, Cheezface is a particularly serious individual playing mature noise. At the end of “Fancy That, A Fire In Your Kitchen And Me Without My Pants”, there’s a sound sample of a man saying, “When she farts, it’s going to smell like…” Now you know what you’re getting into, if you didn’t realize it at first.

Honestly, though, I think Cheezface is doing himself a disservice with all of the ICP/pornogrind imagery he peppers his release with, since that sort of thing isn’t entirely well-regarded by the masses (myself included, and I put off listening to this album somewhat because of that I must admit). You see, Cheezface actually does the IDM/grindcore thing fairly well, and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really dig the ADD-addled spirals and cuts of samples that it’s known for.

There are some delightful little pieces of tracks on Circumstantial Pestilence, though; the first track’s drone gets you ready for a darker, more serious jaunt than one might expect. The second, “The Tokyo Sandblaster”, is programmed blasts of grindcore, violin samples, and even a sexy ’80s nightclub saxophone solo. “Gary Glitter Loves the Kids” is a good example of how Cheezface can write good poppy riffs with random digital noise.

It’s surprising how many different samples are included throughout the release, even moreso how good the drum programming is. It’s very nuanced, often with small bits that unobservant ears might not hear. Still, there are rhythmic tracks that just tend to float by unnoticed, like “Let Them Eat Urinal Cake” or “Doing Blow With Foghorn Leghorn”. The best on this end of things might be “Syntax Error Remix”, a MIDI-type atmospheric piece with flowing synth tones that works well until obliterated by drum beats.

The album ends with a five minute closer in five parts; it’s a good example of everything you might hear during the course of the album, and it helps summarize what Cheezface and Circumstantial Pestilence is – having fun with the ridiculousness of what you can do with noise, the areas where contrived bullshit can meet with more serious fare. Kick back a few beers and get down to this if it’s your sort of thing, because Cheezface does it well.

Auto/Sexual – Ultra (MP3,17 Sons Records)

EBM, Glitch, Music, Noise, Review

Auto/Sexual is another 17 Sons Records label artist that I can’t find much information about. This project has a few different releases out on the 17 Sons label, mostly Internet-download and MP3 formats of shorter style EPs. Ultra has five songs of decaying dubstep and rhythmic noise, often redacted and studded with manipulations of beats and sounds. The main focus seems to be the use of patters in the background, drum beats that have been fashioned out of different textures of sound and electronic noise.

Your enjoyment of Ultra, and quite possibly the whole Auto/Sexual project, will depend on how susceptible you are to electronica beats and rhythmic, noise-influenced rave glitch jams. There are moments of blown-out noise sound, like in the opening of the short “Disengagement is Betrayal”, and each of the songs uses electronic noises as music for beats, but for the most part Auto/Sexual is more interested in crafting jumpy, bass-heavy jams out of potentially destructive sounds rather than vice versa.

But the ideas that Ultra extols are nicely nuanced, alternating from loud extremes to pared down beats that click and clamor in the background until slowly evolving into more danceable songs. Each track often features a Venetian Snares-like breakcore drum background, but while it’s intriguing for a little while, the notion tends to wear thin once the tracks have reached their repetitive hook – for instance, “Obey or Die”, which loops through the same drum riffs over and over again.

The project is much more successful when it’s recycling more apparent electronic noise along with the drum beats, like on “Wolves or Bees” or the more minimal “Main Target”. That pairing works nicely, especially the low bass notes with the staccato click of static or glitchy samples. It’s the moments where the main focus of the track is the electro-drumming that Ultra falters, tending to mistake repetitive beats as hypnotic sound.

Marsupium Massacre – Hydrocephalus (CD, GMR Music)

EBM, Industrial, Review

Another mysterious album turned up in my mailbox, a promotional CD from Marsupium Massacre called Hydrocephalus. Unfortunately, it was only the disc in a slipcase rather than the entire package, so I can’t really comment on the album as a whole, but it does have all ten songs from Hydrocephalus, along with a picture on the CD of two mask-wearing individuals that remind me a lot of Slipknot or ICP. The music’s not the same nu-metal trash as those bands, but it still has some of that goth punk vibe that combines screamed vocals with rave- and trance-like electromanipulations.

Album opener “The Corpse” has a nice industrial vibe to it, combining some slamming drum lines with distorted metallic riffs and yelled vocals overtop of it. It’s quite repetitive, but there’s a few different noises incorporated within to hold the attention, and I think that the rhythm is quite catchy. Next track “Vitsa,” however, drops that upbeat vibe with a stale techno beat underneath some really annoying almost-spoken vocals. Most likely it’s the way the vocals are mixed with the beat, being so much at the forefront of the sound that they become cloying in their tone. However, there’s little on this track to attract anyway, being too overtly repetitious and simplistic.

Much of Hydrocephalus has this type of EBM style, industrial-tinged techno rhythms coupled with abrasive vocals. While it’s not really my thing, especially since I’m not a huge fan of the electro-rave DJing or electronica club scene, there’s definitely a hook to most of Marsupium Massacre’s songs. “Meatgrinder Death”‘s thematic core is very similar to that of “The Corpse,” and that theme is to overlay textured electronic rhythms with aggressive vocals, occasionally allowing them to drop out for periods of instrumentals. It’s not overly original, nor do the tracks stray far from the same type of structure, but it is something catchy to listen to that uses sizzling electronics to provide instrumentation.

I find it most appealing when Hydrocephalus drops this method of song structure, however. “Kill Some Rich People,” while somewhat cheesy in its vocal delivery and thematic choice, has a more ambient texture than the majority, making it immediately stick out from the pack. “500 Pounds” attempts to waver from the harsh vocal delivery at times with sung vocals, yet it’s obvious why Marsupium Massacre chooses to scream and yell rather than harmonize – the singing is often more grating than the yells.

Overall, though, it’s difficult for me to comment on this based on my limited knowledge of the EBM/electro industry. I’ve relatively little to compare to, and based on my own listening interests, recognize that this could have appeal to others while failing with me. The most I can say is that the pulse and rhythms of the electronica songs are catchy, but the vocals and fairly linear song structure fail to capture my attention. Perhaps if you like this style, though, you’d find it a pleasurable listen.