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.

Negative Climax – Kālá (C40[?], Terror)

Drone, Music, Noise, Review

kala

Negative Climax’s Kālá is an amalgam of drones, ritual sounds, and odd rhythmic music. The duo from Japan use vocals to great advantage, combining ghostly female chants with tribal tones and electronics. Much of it is looped, the vocals simply hanging in the drones; at other times, Negative Climax allows the haunting Sanskrit lullabies space to breathe without any electronics.

Often the drones are at the forefront of each piece, like opener “sidhyati,” the eerie vocals mixing well for a hypnotic blend. On “Kāma (Unplugged),” the vocals are chants that imbue a foreboding sense, not even needing any loops to give it atmosphere. There is an overwhelming sense of culture in these tracks, and many of them wouldn’t even be considered noise at all if not for the more chaotic recordings of flute or synth work, the sounds blurring a little because of volume or the way in which the instrument was played.

Negative Climax is listenable for the average music lover, though, and many who enjoy tribal rhythms or Indian sitar will find much to love on Kālá. There’s not a lot of noise on offer here, but there are more than enough lulling drones to keep everyone interested in their work.

Street Sects – The Morning After the Night We Raped Death (7″, Not On Label)

Industrial, Music, Noise, Noisecore, Review

the morning after the night we raped death

Street Sects is the duo Leo Ashline and Shaun Ringsmuth, performing loop-based noise/grindcore. It’s the sort of thing that works well when paired with the aggressive vocal delivery on this five minute 7″ record. The Morning After the Night We Raped Death is the first in a five-series set of LPs titled “Gentrification: A Serial Album,” and on this vinyl, you get the double-sided singles plus an insert with an essay.

The first track, “Bliss,” hammers away at the listener for just under two minutes. Street Sects define their motif on this track, punctuating moments with blurry, seared vocals. The loops are utilized to their full potential, at times stretched to give a 4/4 time signature while remaining significantly raucous, then switching to considerably faster speeds for a breakneck finish. It’s difficult to tell what is used for each loop; they kind of meld into one another, and some of them may be so damaged as to be indecipherable. But it’s fun to listen to “Bliss” and attempt to figure out what’s being used, whether it be a simple guitar line sped up and chopped or actual songs mangled up to form the basis of a new, noisier track.

Side B, “Fate On Her Knees,” is a little slower, a little less noisy. The first part of the track takes on an industrial march of sorts, the loops toned down to highlight the percussion over the mass of sound. There are a lot of vocal differences here, and I’m not sure if that’s due to manipulation – speeding up and slowing down pre-recorded vocals or something else entirely – but it makes a really interesting listen that, again, makes the audience wonder what’s going on behind what we can actually hear.

Street Sects is a wonderfully interesting project, and their five-part “Gentrification” series is well on its way. At this time, part two is done and up on their Bandcamp. In the meantime, you can check out both of those works here.

recommended

Mark Van Fleet – Veiled Front (CD-R, Little Miracles)

dark ambient, Drone, harsh noise, Music, Noise, Review

veiled front

Veiled Front is one of Mark Van Fleet’s only solo works (that I can find – I’ll have a review up of his other release Alien Versions soon), but he’s been around in the noise community for a while. In fact, he was part of Sword Heaven and a bunch of other monikers – and I love jamming to Sword Heaven. On Veiled Front, the spastic drums/vocals/guitars/etc. of that former project are dropped in favor of tape manipulations, synth, and the clanging of miscellaneous machinery.

The release starts out with the excellent whir and warp of tapes, plodding along and fading within a wall of sound that best summarizes Veiled Front – it is an experiment in texture, and it should be apparent to the listener fairly quickly that the expert combinations of keyboards, tapes, and other sounds have been carefully constructed with an ear for the formulation of hypnotic noise.

It is “Verde Fog,” Veiled Front‘s third track, that hits hard – Van Fleet destroys the calm with blaring horns, the kind of thing that could be cloyingly dissonant. But they aren’t; instead, they’re another great moment in a series. And then the most despairing moment follows with the lengthy finale “Version Flop,” a weaving soundscape of melancholy notes that ends Veiled Front on a high that eventually can lead right back into the opener.

Mark Van Fleet’s solo work is as excellent as his group efforts, and it certainly is recommended you check out Veiled Front from Little Miracles. It’s a shorter, mesmerizing listen.

recommended

Delchia/Trolis & the Giberlingers – Kvantinis Osciliatorius/Mirror Gaze (C70, Terror)

Drone, dub, Glitch, Music, Noise, Review

trolis delchia

Terror presents us with an interesting pairing of bands on this split between Delchia and Trolis & the Giberlingers. Delchia are a two-man group consisting of guitar and vocals, and they mostly do lengthy drones throughout their side, labeled “Kvantinis Osciliatorius”; Trolis & the Giberlingers have a penchant for playing glitchy synth-laden breakcore, and their offering is much more diffuse on “Mirror Gaze.”

Delchia starts things off with the two-part “Kvantinis Osciliatorius,” which mostly spirals along lines of guitar and heady bass parts throughout its run time. It is so droning, in fact, that it’s difficult to note where the first part ends and the second begins; perhaps that is just a reference to the length rather than any meaningful track break. The second piece, “Bedimensinis Dydis,” adds whispered vocals to the otherwise similar pairing of plucked strings, although on this one there are additional notes added to the drone to vary the piece towards the final moments.

Trolis & the Giberlingers open their side with “Magist,” a glitchy synth-pop instrumental with pounding bass, a staccato synth track, and just a hint of static manipulation underneath it all. It’s catchy, in a similar fashion to Fuck Buttons if they were a bit more abrasive. Included are both the regular and live version of “Mirror Gaze,” wandering synth tracks that lead right into each other. “Tu Busi” is heavy on the drum tracking, along with vocal interruptions of deep spoken word. “Beda” is the final cut with a return of the spoken word as well as a slurry of watery electronics that is the closest to noise Trolis & the Giberlingers come. But it’s also insanely catchy.

Kvantinis Osciliatorius/Mirror Gaze is a split that features two very different sonic soundscapes. While Delchia toil in the fuzz and drone of guitars, Trolis & the Giberlingers rave with synth and glitch. From one extreme to the other, this split is a great slice of what both artists can do.

Oorchach – Vigilia (C40, Terror)

Drone, Music, Noise, Review

vigilia

Oorchach’s blend of tribalism and synth-based drones doesn’t sound like anything new to a reader, but take the time to listen to all 40 minutes of Vigilia and you might feel differently. There’s a scope and magnitude to this work, and an obsession with repetitive forms that just barely morph throughout the tracks, that keeps Oorchach from falling into the same territory as those before. With three tracks, Vigilia punctuates the artist’s ability to hypnotize with texturing.

Vigilia‘s first side consists of both “Vigilia Nervosa” and “Vigilia Nostalgica.” The former is a track with a repetitive synth loop, hammering rhythmically away at the chords while Oorchach adds subsequent layers of vibrating noise and siren-like calls. It pulls the listener in, and then at the end “Vigilia Nervosa” blooms like a flower, adding all of these elements up to create a raucous conclusion. “Vigilia Nostalgica” follows a similar pattern, with another looped synth texture starting things off (fast-paced without space) while non-harsh feedback and high-pitched notes squall around it. Eventually a heavy thud adds the sound of something falling – a beat.

But the kicker on this tape is the final track, the entire B-side, called “Vigilia Aurora.” What starts out as subtle drones attempting to find a balance between noise and music morphs into an intense climax, where a rumbling percussive element joins with the warbling, siren-like crescendos of the synth. It’s a track brimming with explosiveness, and the build is incredible.

Vigilia‘s three tracks are full of great drones with original concepts, and Oorchach has the ability to make them noisy without losing the shape of the sound. This is hypnotic tape you’ll want to grab from Terror.

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The Transplant Mountains/Chapels – Split (C54, House of Alchemy)

ambient, Drone, Music, Noise

transplant mountains chapels

This split from the Transplant Mountains and Chapels is a double-dose of odd drones and noise effects, entrenched in a strong sense of flowing rhythm. Justin Wiggan, Relmic Statue, Daniel Hadden, and Rob Savage make up the former group’s ensemble, while the latter is simply Adam Richards working solo.

The first side comes from the Transplant Mountains, called “So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World,” also part of their Tumblr page’s URL. It’s got a solid mix of sounds, from the dronier manipulations and sworls of noise to the hissing fuzz of static late in the track. But the best part of the lengthy track is Daniel Hadden’s saxophone, which lends the Transplant Mountains a sort of free-jazz tone that works well within their dreamy, fluid piece.

Chapels’ side, title “It Was Snowing and It Was Going to Snow (Decline),” locks into a droning groove early, with a synth layering that flutters along with interlocking loops of solitary guitar pluckings. A while in, the louder synth pulls back, giving the piece an ominous tone; while Chapels doesn’t vary the sound, the atmosphere of the accompanying layers, as well as the slow escalation of volume, are more than enough to coax listeners.

Both sides of this split are excellent variations on drone; while The Transplant Mountains tend to enliven their work with ensemble-driven rhythms, Chapels takes minimal synth sounds and pairs it with added textures to hypnotic effect. The whole tape is worth a listen, and preferably in one sitting, because this is a split that is quite cohesive back-to-back.

recommended

Sludgethrone – A Megadose of Unusual Gain Structures (CD-R, Earthmover Records)

doom metal, Music, Noise, sludge

sludgethrone

Sludgethrone is another project of Harvey (I recently reviewed his other noise/sludge project Griefhound), along with Mike and Ram. This time, though, their sound is more entrenched in sludge and doom, without any of the noisy interludes that their alter-ego utilizes. What A Megadose of Unusual Gain Structures brings is an intense 20-minute workout of repetitive sludge song structures with heavy riffs and an excellent vocal delivery.

There are three tracks on the album, and they’re mixed with a grainy quality that gives them an added dosage of grittiness. The vocals are dry but echoing, and they feel right at home with the slow drudge of the instruments; the drums themselves are played with such a robotic tenacity that there’s no stopping the doomy procession.

Sludgethrone don’t really change up the rhythms much in each song; the riffs tend to stay the same, but the way they’re played switches from mechanical slowness to more nuanced portions, especially towards the end of “Street Trash/Catastrophe,” which branches out from its initial riffs in the last few minutes.

While A Megadose of Unusual Gain Structures doesn’t break the mold for sludge/doom, it does fit right in with other acts that are doing similar things right now. Sludgethrone aren’t afraid to take a riff and smother you with it, but they’re also open to changing the structure of their songs as they see fit. It is, however, the unique vocal delivery that really makes the album come alive.

Griefhound – Griefhound (CD-R, Not On Label)

doom metal, harsh noise, Music, Noise, Review, sludge

griefhound

Griefhound is an interesting doom/noise project from Harvey and Novak, both members of various other projects including Snuff Film and Leach Mine. Their self-titled release finds the duo working through five tracks of heavy riffing laced with selective noise and drone works, switching back and forth between the two with relative ease.

The first couple of tracks, “Holy Flesh” and “Mizzah Mills and the Temple of Gloom,” sit more comfortably within the slude/doom territory of Griefhound’s sound. They combine heavy bass riffs with Novak’s pounding percussion, often a bit more frenetic than most doom metal allows for, and occasionally mix in noise atmospherics akin to Indian or Buried At Sea. It’s an effective element, and Griefhound does it well.

The final three tracks are noticeably longer and filled with more noise, relying less on doom song structures and taking breaks to incorporate longer passages of drones and swirling, pulsating sounds. “Behemoth,” at over 20 minutes, works as a series of vignettes; the riffs give way to noise, then back to riffs, then noise, a concept that sounds good enough but is perhaps a bit too extended. “Ghost Ship” and “Date Raped By the White Wizard… In Space” allot nearly all the running time to buzzes and hiss, a nice way to break up what could have been more of the same gloomy doom.

Griefhound is a great introduction to this duo’s output, a release that caters to doom and noise fans. Those who don’t like their music filtered with grating harsh noise might be turned away, but it’s unlikely, since Griefhound’s heaviness is attractive to those with more experimental palates anyway.

The Elderbranch Campaign – Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey – Book II (Not on Label, MP3)

ambient, Drone, Music, Noise

book iI

The Elderbranch Campaign has been pumping out releases that fall into the category of the Jovian Survey, an idea that encompasses the exploration of life on Europa and Jupiter’s moons. It’s a sci-fi idea that fits right in with the kind of fantastical sounds that drone can often encompass, and Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey captures the essence of space quite well by flooding the listener with sound.

The release offers two tracks that float just a bit past the 20 minute mark. The first, “And the Extinction Event Came In the Form of Ice,” is a strong opener that contains an intensely cold experience; synths wail and scream, layered upon each other with just the hint of a rhythmic yield underneath it all, each layer ebbing and flowing with elongated tails of sound. It all resembles the sound of a howling windstorm, but this would fit in on a movie soundtrack about a horrifying space exploration trip just fine. There’s a denseness to the work that’s both intriguing and suffocating.

“They Coded Resurrection Seeds Into Digital Microbes” features a similar concept, with a droning track slowly building to cacophonous levels, and the sounds continue to waver and flow without completely ending. There’s a feeling of perpetual chaos within the sound, that whatever event is being portrayed sonically is horrifying – almost like the continual trill of flute and violin in a horror movie soundtrack, except this drone is stretched to lengthy extremes. Eventually the track moves into more recognizable synth tones, a chilly but beautiful melody that sustains for the rest of the track.

It’s easy to get lost in Aural Histories of the Jovian Survey – Book II and write it off as two lengthy tracks that do relatively the same thing, but that would be overlooking the grander scope of these pieces. Though they resemble each other, and use a wall of drone in each, the feelings and attitudes of the tracks are different, and only appreciated by a calculated listen akin to harsh noise wall.