Isolator – Culture & Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation (CD, Black Plagve)

Black Noise, Drone, Noise, Review

isolator culture

Isolator is a blackened noise project featuring The Nothing and The Sculptor; however, if those code names don’t give you any indication of their association with other noise projects, the duo features members of Set, Father Befouled, and Encoffination. From the gloomy packaging to the lyrics featured in the fold-out digipak, it’s pretty clear that Isolator are going to bring dirges of black drone to the listener, and that’s exactly what they deliver.

However, it’s not as cut-and-dry as it may seem. Though the liner notes indicate there will be a lot of vocals, there really aren’t as many as expected. Or at least, they’re not delivered in the expected manner – whispers and growls are the common denominator here. Over the course of five tracks, Isolator craft heavy drones out of their instruments; at times it sounds like guitar, but there is bass and samples on here as well. Opener “Cast Into Blood” brings the momentous clamor of the duo right away with surging pulses that climax relatively quickly, while the longer tracks “Your Heaven Will Writhe In the Chaos of My Hell” and closer “Into the Blood of Our Kingdom” are reluctant to open up.

Isolator packs a lot of sound into these tracks, but it’s important to have the volume all the way up to really notice the detail. Their drones have a tendency to blend, where the subtle shifts are difficult to hear. However, in later tracks the progression is more evident, and the finale of “Into the Blood of Our Kingdom” hammers home the main idea of Culture & Principal of Anti-Human Exaltation; the whirring feedback tone in the forefront drops out midway through to open up for percussive cymbal smashes and an electric shock of rhythmic fuzz. It’s what the album has been building to, and it feels powerful.

Isolator have the black drone sound down very well, and their tracks tend to stick to the formula frequently. They’re not copycats of Sunn O)))’s devilish guitars or the intense vocal-tinged blackened noise, but something in between the two, exploring the darkest crags of drone with aplomb.

Aderlating – Gospel of the Burning Idols (CD, Black Plagve)

Black Noise, Drone, harsh noise, Noise, power electronics, Review

aderlating

Aderlating is part Gnaw Their Tongues and part Mowlaner, or Maurice de Jong and Eric Eijspaart respectively. They’re both coming from backgrounds well-versed in blackened noise and drone, and one look at the titles of the tracks on Gospel of the Burning Idols and the artwork on the fantastic digipak from Black Plagve and no one will mistake Aderlating for anything different.

And yet the sound on offer here is 40 minutes of more nuanced noise than might be expected. Aderlating still rely on some of the usual tactics, including building up their sound for explosive release and the gruff vocal delivery of the introductory track “Opening of the Tomb” (the best track on Gospel of the Burning Idols, by the way); but there’s also a careful consideration of volume and structure that adds much more to the tracks than simple blown-out guitar, synth, and machinery.

Of note are the drum tracks, which are quietened in the mix so as not to overwhelm. Aderlating’s percussion rhythms are quite complex and poly-rhythmic, like the choppy, cymbal-laden elements of “Spewed On By Slaves of Inhumanity.” But the droning, airy qualities of Gospel of the Burning Idols are also reasons to listen – not blasting at the listener, but slowly churning.

It’s a good release made even better by the thought put into the packaging. Both artists behind Aderlating are pros at this type of thing, but Gospel of the Burning Idols doesn’t rehash their styles. It’s bold and original, and enduringly dark.