Friday, February 5, 2010


I'm very wary of Skullflower on vinyl. While i hold Matthew Bower in the highest regard and consider his output to be near perfection incarnate, i can't help shake the feeling that on the vinyl format he's taking us all for a bit of a ride. Skullflower, especially present-day Skullflower, is all about the long play, the stretch toward the infinite, with songs that seem cut out of an endless body of guitar wail. The time limitations of the LP make Skullflower's aesthetic problematic and for that reason every piece of wax i have from them feels trunctuated. This side is no different. Two songs appear here, one of which, "Serene and Terrible Noontide Abyss", made its debut on a previous album, the live exposition "Walpurgis Night." This studio version lends little improvement and i find it impossible that Bower, who seems to record all day every day, couldn't muster up a new track for this split. So one strike there, and yes, it does pain me to issue a strike against Skullflower. The new track, "Necklace of Kalas", is 15 minutes of near joyful ecstatic amplifier skree, a reach for the light and probably one of the most honestly optimistic pieces i've heard from Bower since the last Sunroof! album. It's all high end glissando and heavenly choir-esque deviation, a ritual rather than requiem. This is an excellent track.
Limepit, a project devoted to sludge noise torture and comprised of members of Sarah's Charity (a guitar destruction unit that released an album on Bower's Heavy Blossom imprint) contribute two unholy tracks to the flipside. It's almost unbelievable but the Limepit tracks outshine the Skullflower one in every regard. This is terribly hateful music, drenched in depression and anger and regret, a liturgy and a confession both, the disgust reaching an almost Whitehouse level of misanthropy. This is total waste, the sound of nihilism rendered into belches of pungent amplifier puke and feedback-laden string torture. Thick and droning, like Earth's worst nightmares brought to vivid unflinching reality. This isn't safe music. Ultra-distorted hyper processed vocals shriek over everything, screaming lyrics that remind me very much of Prurient's vague isolationistic approach to loneliness. The whole thing is a scream, a cry, an expression of pain and hopelessness. At the sum this is an incredible pairing of two explorers of utter emptiness.

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