It’s really hard to find any information about Church Slut, and searching Google is best done at your own risk for this specific phrase. However, I do know that Church Slut is Brian Harvey of Earthmover Records and I’ve reviewed another release of his in the past (the Church Slut/Naked Pyramid split). What we get on this C45 is two sides from the project, split into seven tracks without much space or discernment between each segment.
The first side starts out with a lot of looping with “Tiny Tim’s Lucid Dream,” an atmospheric ambient track that sees a vocal sample cut up and stretched out along with rhythmic dreamy noise in the background. As Cubicles Are Bad For Your Health moves along, it runs the gamut between near harsh noise walls with heavy static to power electronics with Harvey providing shouted, muffled vocals over churning maelstroms of noise. Later tracks again retain some of the looping effects like an electronic klaxon sound set to harsh noise blasts and megaphone-amplified screams.
This is a pretty good tape from Church Slut, though I will say that some of the tracks – specifically the last, “A Cascade of Failures,” run a little long without having enough dynamism to keep them memorable. For fans of harsh noise and power electronics, this is an interesting tape to check out – if you can find it.
Church Slut and Naked Pyramid each share a side of this C45 split from Earthmover Records, a tape that, by artist names alone, might sound like something pornographic. No, there aren’t any moans and groans of sexual pleasure on this cassette but two heavy noise artists churning away on their electronic instruments. Church Slut is Brian Harvey, also known for his sludge/doom output in Griefhound, but this moniker finds him doing mostly noise destruction. Naked Pyramid features John Guttschall and Bob Troller from Atlantic City, New Jersey, a project I’m not too familiar with.
Church Slut is on Side A with six tracks that mostly run together without a break in the chaos. It begins with a lengthy drone of synth that the artist allows to drift somewhat aimlessly that doesn’t do much to introduce us to what Church Slut has to offer; rather, it’s sort of an unnecessary padding before the rumbles of the artist’s power electronics work begin. Church Slut’s offerings are better when they’re steeped in the harsh noise churnings that overtake the later tracks; there’s even some ripping vocals along with bass crunch. At times, unfortunate knob twiddling takes over in place of interesting noise progression, but after that first track there’s quite a bit of layering within these pieces that includes a lot of cut-up sounds, squalls, and bursts of static.
Next on Side B is Naked Pyramid with two tracks, both nearly around the ten minute mark. The first, “Indian Cabin Ruin”, begins with a droning track of guitar that soon incorporates electronics and oscillations, eventually some drum ‘n bass rhythms as well. There’s a lot of warbling in this collection of tracks, and second cut “Helter Shelter” features a warping loop of electronics and pounding that sounds like it could have been sourced from cymbals; this becomes a baseline for the duo to begin to layer feedback and other pieces of sounds overtop, but it does become a bit tiresome before the nearly nine minutes are up because of that repeating stutter.
Church Slut’s split with Naked Pyramid is a fairly good offering from both parties. It has a lot to offer including cut-up squalls from Harvey and Naked Pyramid’s brand of droning harsh noise, albeit with a few missteps on both sides. Still, it’s worth a listen from these two relatively new projects.
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.