The Killer Came from the Bronx – Purgatoried Torso (CD-R, Ink Runs Recordings)

ambient noise wall, harsh noise, harsh noise wall, Noise, Review

The Killer Came from the Bronx is another project from Julien Skrobek featuring harsh noise walls that seem inspired by slasher/serial killer tropes. The project has a few releases under its belt including the more recent Ripper 1976 on Needle and Knife; Purgatoried Torso was released in 2014 on Skrobek’s own label Ink Runs Recordings.

This disc is similarly stylized to the other releases on Ink Runs as well as the early output of Skrobek’s older label Slow Death Records. It comes in a plastic sleeve with artwork resembling the skyscraper buildings of NYC, with an unmarked CD-R featuring two massive harsh noise walls that run about 45 minutes altogether.

The first track on this disc is “Kill Again,” the longer of the two at 25 minutes, and it features a solid bass line undertone that keeps a raging boil throughout the track. On top of that is a trembling static tone full of crackle and bass, a surging throughline that keeps the wall crumbling. At first this wall seems somewhat akin to an ambient din, but as the listener progresses through its full length, the static tone at the forefront becomes crushing and overwhelming, rarely changing explicitly but seemingly ebbing and flowing minutely. This is unique texturing that often feels enveloping.

But the second track, “Static on the Line,” is the real draw on Purgatoried Torso, a heavy cut that features a raging guitar-like tone with lots of distortion, looping over the twenty minutes of wall. The surge of this sound, like a heavy metal riff repeating over and over again, pairs well with a chaotic static texture, and both of them together create a cacophony that leaves the listener uncertain where to focus attention – in a good way. The wall feels like it is constantly going to fall apart, but it holds on for the full length.

Purgatoried Torso is a great release, and probably one of my favorites from Skrobek in recent memory. The two tracks are perfectly at odds with each other while remaining rooted in The Killer Came from the Bronx’s sound, and as an introduction to this project, it certainly makes me want to check out the other releases under the moniker. Maybe it’s the serial killer in me.