False Flag – Bombshelter Nightmare (C36, Terror)

Noise, power electronics, Review

false flag bombshelter nightmare

Justin Marc Lloyd is the man behind False Flag, a decidedly different and more violent moniker for the noise artist behind acts like Pregnant Spore and Dementia and Hope Trails. The notes for Bombshelter Nightmare add to the theme that the track titles and artwork give away: this cassette is an anti-war statement, aggressive as a means to drive out aggression from those angry at their governments, police, etc. If “Rage for Peace” doesn’t echo that sentiment, then I don’t know what does.

Aided by multiple artists from different projects, False Flag throws down power electronics in droves, with the emphasis on “power.” The first side itself is a mix of spectra, from the rhythmic enchantments of the first track “Introducing Control” to the heavy, brutal repetition of “Muslim Police,” which features Boar on vocal duties to utmost effect. “Rage for Order” takes a lighter tone, opting for fuzzy helicopter buzzes and another rhythm that focuses more on repeating tones than harsh sounds. Eventually the title track, “Bombshelter Nightmare,” spreads seeds of discontent with static shudders and synth drones that sit ominously within the mix as the static threatens to overtake any semblance of musicality.

Side B starts with the rumbling “Two Brothers,” a heavy hitter that begins with PA vocals and some static rumblings only to open up with a massive wall of crackle and bass, one of the better moments on Bombshelter Nightmare for sure. There’s a staccato rhythm going on within, with just a semblance of a sustained synth note in there. “Rage for Peace” fits in Divine Shell, Boar, and Jonathan Cash in a quieter, confined drone – buzzing, a subtle motorcycle croak, and a shuddering before again allowing wall static to seep in with klaxon sirens and Boar’s vocals adrift. “Korean War” takes the usual False Flag power electronics of static, feedback, and a synth beat and adds a raucous bit of crackle that comes out sounding something like a scream to end the tape.

Overall, Bombshelter Nightmare is a heaping dose of power electronics, coming from an artist who generally doesn’t dabble in this sort of heavy noise. The synths and harshness come together without becoming off-putting, and the way False Flag is able to incorporate other noise artists works both to raise awareness of those projects if need be, and to add noticeable changes to the sonic output. Boar’s work is, notably, an elevating portion of the tape. It’s certainly something that needs to be experienced, however, if you can get it elsewhere, because Terror is sold out.

False Flag – Metal Birds (3″ CD-R, FTAM)

harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, power electronics, Review

False Flags is Justin Marc Lloyd’s other other project, an excursion into some extremely harsh realms that often features static, cut-ups, scratchy electronics, and simply a lot of other things that his other projects don’t utilize. There’s a difference between this harsh noise and Pregnant Spore’s; Metal Birds is really quite demanding, with short tracks that tend to move fast and jarringly.

There’s a hint of power electronics to False Flag, as there are some manipulated vocals that play underneath scratchy fuzzed-out static and pulsing lasers of feedback. But Metal Birds just as easily defies expectation, and the multitude of short tracks means that the CD-R moves back and forth from different sounds quite nicely.

There’s a lot to take in, from the mundane and dirge-like movements of  “Planning” to the more chaotic, intensely compressed sound of the lengthier “Manifesto.” It’s both shockingly heavy and also somewhat difficult to listen to; the constant shifts and changes of static, the little wavers in sound often don’t allow for hypnotism, but the sound is similar enough to almost warrant it. What it creates is a nice wall of noise that is difficult to penetrate, which means it’ll take multiple listens to get the nuances down, and the ear is bathed in pummeling noise each time, albeit perhaps with a different focus on what to listen to.

With that said, the generalities of the tracks do tend to blend together, and it depends on the mindset of the listener how much they’d like to decipher from Metal Birds. Should these tracks be considered a cohesive whole, or do the tracks just blend together to fit into the junk metal sound? Perhaps False Flag could use a sense of dynamism, but it’s also not necessarily a bad thing for each of these tracks to repeat motifs. However, the majority of Metal Birds does tend to blend itself into a collage of fuzz and judders.

But Metal Birds is not a bad harsh noise release, and it’s a new sound from Lloyd. You won’t hear the same things as Pregnant Spore, but you might hear much of the same sounds throughout the album. The blend of tracks can be a good thing if you allow it, but it can also be frustrating to distinguish much of the sound.