Saturday, January 22, 2011


Massive four way conceptual split conceived by the great minds at the Ajna Offensive who once again put together an extremely thoughtful and beautifully constructed compilation embracing both the outer reaches of esoteric knowledge and outsider musicks. Based on a complicated theory of magick known since ancient times but recently put forth by occultist Eliphas Levi, and later, through him, Aleister Crowley this split seeks to attain a fertile state of mind through the efforts of its four contributors, seemingly for the purpose of ritual or trance. From Eliphas Levi directly:

“To attain the SANCTUM REGNUM, in other words, the knowledge and power of the Magi, there are four indispensable conditions--an intelligence illuminated by study, an intrepidity which nothing can check, a will which cannot be broken, and a prudence which nothing can corrupt and nothing intoxicate. TO KNOW, TO DARE, TO WILL, TO KEEP SILENCE--such are the four words of the Magus, inscribed upon the four symbolical forms of the sphinx.”

Therein lies the purpose behind this assemblage. Each of the four acts represents an aspect of the Powers and transforms the ideas behind them into some sort of auditory proclamation. Saturnalia Temple tackles the study, Nightbringer the intrepidity, Nihil Nocturne the will and Aluk Todolo the incorruptible prudence. It's a lofty concept, obviously, but so well conceived and executed by all involved that the pretensions are easily forgiven in light of the musical statement being made.
Saturnalia Temple opens things up with "To Know," a slow burning glacial piece of psyched out doom hedonism that grows larger and larger as each minute passes. Here the idea of study and contemplation is transformed into hypno-repetitive song structure, a piece built on one riff that mutates slightly throughout the song's run but ultimately remains focused and unchanged. Saturnalia Temple keep things drugged out and loping as if in tribute to Crowley himself but never forsake the necessary heaviness to pound the idea into the subconscious. "To Know" is a crushing, sleepy head-nodder birthed from the same ground as Pharaoh Overlord and Neu, a total abandonment of self into groove and tone.
Nightbringer releases the next assault, "To Will," a forceful and high-strung illustration of creation magick via fierce Mayhem-esque black metal fury and occultick distance. Already conceptually vague and intentionally obscure, Nightbringer are one of few black metal acts able to compete with the Norwegian masters musically, tapping into the same oblique melodies and blinding ferocity that distinguished so much of the initial wave. "To Will" is a crushing piece equally composed of conceptual and musical heft, replete with spoken/whispered enigmas and blinding tremelo-picked guitar lines that scream to an open sky. The sheer force Nightbringer play with comprise an apt demonstration of human willpower, easily showcasing the inner drive necessary to bring elemental magicks into being.
Nihil Nocturne also focus on willpower with their piece, "To Dare." For me this is the most surprising song here since for years i've written Nihil Nocturne off as an adequate but wholly overrated black metal act. Blessed with the prestige of being on the mighty End All Life label, Nihil Nocturne have turned out two predictable albums of black metal virtuosity, showing a definite knowledge and commitment to the ideology but very little originality, with many of their songs being watered down rehashes of past Scandinavian glories (and not in any sort of way that speaks of influence or growth-just simple regurgitation.) So to see them turn in a worthy track to accompany the rest is a feat in and of itself, easily speaking to magick and will. Here their interpretation of black metal takes the form of a languid and stretched approximation of songcraft, given over more to Burzum-styled transcendence than Darkthrone's puerile aggression. Nihil Nocturne here grasps for something far beyond in the cosmos, desperately attempting to pluck stars from the night and render them into some more powerful, insidious form. For the most part they succeed, brilliantly, giving the split one of their most fully realized (and best) compositions to date.
Aluk Todolo closes things out with their epic kraut-rocking "To Keep Silent," a hulking waste of song that obsesses over one bassline and shits guitar mess all over the steady, skittering drums. If it sounds sexual it is, as buried deep in all modern magick there exists a fixation on the energies produced during copulation. Here Aluk Todolo turns those pressures and tensions into a boiling stew of kinetic energy, the nearly open portal to another view that will distort the world we know know and turn it into some hazier sort of sight, bent on illusion and summons both. As in all their previous work Aluk Todolo completely master the idea of the repeat, clutching the listener close to the chest and lifting them up higher and higher into a breathless realm of both contemplation and understanding.
All of it adds up to some outstanding music, four interpretations of essentially the same idea, filtered through two distinct genre perceptions. Ajna has done something wonderful here; they've taken an extremely esoteric subject and made it real through music. It's the ultimate act of artistic illustration. Totally recommended.

Monday, January 17, 2011


An experiment in the penultimate form of black metal expressionism, Orrery's first and only album seeks to tap into the dark rich blood running through the vein of atmosphere by issuing one of very few all instrumental BM albums. In theory this idea should work, and it should be a resounding success, as the available templates within the genre more than allow for a wealth of creativity and it shouldn't seem to be a big issue for a band to come along and craft a piece of entirely engaging instrumental black metal. This is a genre that at its best thrives on the power of hypnotic repetition and trance-inducing, time shattering epic simplicity-what's so hard about removing the vocals and still having something worthwhile?
Apparently quite a bit, as "Nine Odes to Oblivion" is a rather boring trudge through convention. The music is fine-lo-fi and drenched in misty, foggy sonics that obfuscate as well as disorient-but without any sort of vocal expression the whole suite comes off sounding totally flat and unfinished. I came away thinking that Orrery was either a band that just half-assed one out for the hell of it or had so much trouble finding a vocalist that they just decided to record and release the songs they had, using the idea of instrumentalism as nothing more than a novel afterthought. Without vocals there's no desperation, no yearning, no real emotion to connect to. It's interesting to find myself saying that about black metal when there's so many other genres and bands that can support instrumental acts without sacrificing any of those qualities. There's just something about an anguished, wailing scream accompanying this style of music that can't be removed or replaced by any amount of processing or effects.
There have been a number of black metal bands that can work well with minimal vocals-Burzum and Weakling immediately spring to mind-and there have been plenty of bands that have issued instrumental works in their discographies that work effectively as different facets of said band's sound-think Xasthur's audial hallucinations or Paysage D'Hiver's work in cold, minimal ambience. Those instances prove that their is a place for instrumental music within black metal, but those are also bands that all have such idiosyncratic sounds the deviations from their standard aesthetics creates a compositional object of interest. It's another layer added to what's already a dense musical world. Orrery, in releasing an all instrumental album right away, show absolutely no aesthetic beyond the obvious, and while their music bears many of the geographic hallmarks of Australian BM there's really nothing here to distinguish them from a thousand other bands other than the fact that they're working without vocals. With the right vocal approach Orrery might have been a little better than the average BM band, perhaps on par with some of fellow countrymen Drowning the Light's better work. As is, "Nine Odes to Oblivion" is a tepid affair devoid of any philosophical or emotional depth, a by-the-numbers exercise in black metal that fails to realize the potential in the experiment.


Menace Ruine's latest is a frightening exploration of black metal's most outer reaches, right before the genre collapses in on itself and becomes nothing more than blazing fires of white noise. This is 20 minutes of hyper-abstraction, processed into a new sort of neo-industrialism hinted at in the band's former work, now fully embraced for absolute and total immolation into more dissonant worlds and atmospheres. Existing as a black metal band by past associations only, Menace Ruine have always courted a fringe, a caustic overlapping grid where power electronics and icy guitars collide into one another to create something wholly new and terrifying. On "Sigil Sessions" those guitars almost totally disappear and even when they do surface there's nothing that could be even remotely identified as a riff. Instead they're replaced by all manner of electrified debris, maybe even heavily processed field recordings of natural phenomena, rendered into a sound glob of blankness and extraction, a total zone of negation wherein only doubt and inward reflections of anger exist. This is close to total hate music, veering dangerously near the place Whitehouse exists. This is a piece created to instill bad feelings, to create a sense of distress and anguish both.
The EP's high point is closing track "Desert Yourself," seven minutes of pulsating hyper-distorted bass belch, drilling shards of processed feedback, caterwauling guitar dissonance and the laconic, far-away and vaguely lovely vocals of Genevieve. This style of composition was given to entirely on what was arguably the band's finest album (and my favorite) "The Die is Cast"; here it's stripped to the bone, everything unnecessary completely cut away and tossed to die in some muddy, dusted over ditch. Only the vocals create any sense of reprieve or humanity, and even then it's an attitude of cold and indifferent arrogance and elite aristocracy, a further distillation of the Death in June/Current 93 infection that informs the good majority of what Menace Ruine create. "Sigil Sessions" is perhaps the most overt homage to the extreme end of that spectrum; you'd be hard pressed to find any moment in David Tibet's discography that rivals this for sheer violence, but it's obvious where this music derives from. Simple directing of influence has never been Menace Ruine's goal. Instead it's a project focused on and obsessed with transformation, seeing how far the boundaries can stretch, and when they finally break exploring what might lie beyond them. Some uninformed or unadventurous black metal fans might accuse Menace Ruine of creating a stopgap release with "Sigil Sessions"; it's true that it's a difficult and borderline intellectual exercise in expectation and definition. But beyond that it is a simply stunning mutation of black metal aesthetic, a gauntlet thrown down in the name of reinvention and unbridled creativity and another pivotal, essential release from one of the genre's most inventive and challenging artists.


Another instance of true understanding regarding split releases, this time from Turgid Animal, facilitating a pairing of Matthew Bower's Voltigeurs project with new prog/metal experimental poster boy Horseback.
If you've been keeping up with this blog at all you know that Bower's work is held in extremely high reverence here and this latest offering from the Voltigeurs side of things is pretty much essential if you're into the whole "sound of the void" sort of soundscaping that Bower is so fucking good at. Right away you're dropped into the midst of sonic hailstorm, a relentless screaming blast of freezing, scalding winds and scraped out dying melodies, a fucked up torrent of cloudy vestige hoofing its way toward the end and catching everything in its path up in itself. Obviously this track (and Voltigeurs in general) bears a lot in common with the new Skullflower approach but the emphasis here, however vague, is on melody, or the wisp of melody. An idea gets planted into your head as you're surrounded by all the blasting frigid furnace horror, a fake memory placed there to encourage a nostalgiah that may or may not be true. Either way Bower and collaborator Samantha Davies impart a wailing sort of sadness to this composition that is as far distanced from the emotional hollowness of Skullflower as can be, making Voltigeurs a project with a much more expansive palette to draw from. Emotion means connection, and it's interesting to see Bower adding this element of near-warmth to his raging storms of frustration and disgust.
Horseback contributes two tracks on the flip and i'm pretty blown away by how good they are, easily holding their own against the strong demonstration of force that Voltigeurs lays down previous. I found Horseback's debut, "The Invisible Mountain," to be a vastly overvalued piece of "Hex"-era Earth aping shit, a plodding mess of post-western jangle and rumble that came off more comical than musical. I know a lot of people thought that release was pioneering in some way or another (and i'd love to have someone actually tell my why) but to me it was just another overhyped record thrown in the wake of Isis's breakup, an attempt at genre mashing that created little we haven't heard before and better. I love "Dead Man", truly, but the only person that needs to work off those motifs is Neil Young.
So imagine my surprise when the two tracks here are actually really fucking good. Trading in the organ-warbling western nonsense for some blasting black metal suits Horseback extremely well and they manage to meld their desert drenched emptiness with BM's cold textures in an immensely focused way, yielding a sort of psychedelicized blackness that builds up a towering wall of unapproachability. In ten minutes Horseback serve up enough atmosphere to make "The Invisible Mountain" into a meaningless prelude, an stumbling block on the way to a grander vision. If they continue working in this harsher, more metal-inspired manner i could see a place for them in the black metal macrocosm. My biggest complaint with the debut was the uselessness of the vocals, a droll near-spoken presence that only undermined the music's impact; here those vocals are completely warped, transformed into BM bile-rasps of the highest order and subsequently becoming the vessel that allows these songs to morph into their new guise. This is the direction this band needs to pursue, and the only way i can see myself taking them seriously in the future.
Turgid Animal should be commended for putting out another way cool split. This is well worth the effort involved in tracking it down. I knew the Voltigeurs side would be awesome but the strength of Horseback's contribution elevates this to a higher recommendation. Great stuff.

Monday, January 10, 2011

CURVED BLADE "BE LIKE DEATH" (Hospital Productions)

Ultra-primitive dirging black metal regressionism from this mysterious outfit, so poorly played that it's difficult to determine the degree of seriousness with which to take this tape. Released in a small run on Hospital, whose black metal leanings obviously run toward the more harsh and obscure, Curved Blade adds to the roster fittingly but struggles to really find any sort of meaningful place in the black metal macrocosm. "Be Like Death" is a ridiculously short demo (two tracks in nine minutes) that more or less pounds away at black metal simplicity with something of a half-hearted attitude and no real passion or engagement. Side A is a four minute chromatic blast of palm muted power chords, some sort of horrific stumbling Melvins riff gone dumb and wrong over which a vocalist wails and a sprinkling of keyboards attempts to add some atmosphere. It's over near as soon as it starts and leaves zero impression whatsoever.
Side B is significantly better, opening up with a little keyboard requiem and then plowing straight into a half time narcoleptic stumble. Keyboards lead the way here, creating a sick warm nest for the considerably creepier almost spoken vocals. A lone guitar continuously hammers on an open string in the background. Every now and then the drums speed up and race for some invisible finish line only to fall back into the exhausted plod of before. This track drones on for about five minutes and then cuts out, having mapped little new territory to explore or branch out in. Maybe that's the best way to describe Curved Blade at this point. Whether future efforts will show any sort of progression artistically or proficiently is completely up in the air. Right now the only aptitude "Be Like Death" conveys is one for dormant stagnancy and a fetid pool of recycled ideas.
This release illuminates a larger issue in black metal- that of amateurism masquerading and being paraded as aesthetic choice. Minimalism and lo-fi have their place, perhaps in this genre more than any other (if you've read this blog before you know how much i love repetition and minimalism), but it requires real musicianship and dedication to strip so much away and still have a piece of music that engages and rewards upon multiple listens. A band like Bone Awl or Trist can deliver on the minimalist template because they imbue their music with the requisite aggression and emotion, respectively. Curved Blade imbue their songs with neither, instead choosing to embrace a void and hope their association with a noise-centered label will excuse the lack of depth found on this demo. While Hospital's ideology is certainly served by "Be Like Death" it fails to satisfy the tenets of the black metal genre as a whole, a problem this label consistently struggles with. When noise and black metal intersect meaningfully it can be absolutely triumphant (as in the case of Hospital's own release, the Akitsa/Prurient split) but when it's used as the justification it crosses quickly over to total failure. Curved Blade and, to a lesser degree Hospital Productions, need to understand that if they're to truly add to the genre.

Thursday, January 6, 2011


I've wished many times in my life that i'd been born in a different decade so that i could enjoy growing up in either the 70's, the 80's or the 90's. I'm 31 so that puts my truly formative musical years in the 1992-1997 range (every seed was sown by then, everything after was just a branching off) but sometimes i wish i'd been an intellectual twenty something circa 1993 so i could have been privy to, and actually "gotten", awesome albums like Obliveon's Nemesis. I'm very sad to say that this record had been under my radar since yesterday, when i was reading "Mean Deviation: Four Decades of Progressive Heavy Metal." Sure, i love a lot of the bands discussed within (Atheist, Watchtower, Cynic, Death) but somehow this gem escaped me when i was getting into all that tech metal...had i been a jaded 25 year old in the early 90's i think the story might have been a different one, and i would have gravitated easily towards challenging material like this.
So after listening to this beast today, all i can really say is wow. This shit fucking slays. It slays in the best possible way, in the most head-banging, horns-raised, nostalgia-adoring way fathomable. And when weighed against the stuff i listen to today in the tech metal genre (Necrophagist, Creation is Crucifixion, Neuraxis, new Atheist) the stuff slays even more, because it's oblique and complex but not so much so that it isn't true thrash metal. This is like prime era Megadeth ("Rust in Peace" obviously) or Dark Angel with a few more deviations. It's rifftastic, most definetely, but it never lets go of the concept of fucking shit up and banging your fucking head. It's volatile, passionate metal and i am ashamed that i never got into this band back in the day.
The whole affair is needle-point precise and tight as a lash/stop on a dime triggered. Too many tech metal bands get obsessed with the idea of ridiculously complex instrumental prowess and hyper-orchestrated song structures, to the point where listening becomes a mathematical exercise and a lot of the joy and escape of music becomes void. Obliveon seemed to recognize the value of complexity and dexterity without sacrificing any of the crucial logistics of basic thrash metal. Again the obvious, glaring influence here is Megadeth but whereas Dave Mustaine was concerned with speed 100% Obliveon rein it in aways and balance all that shock-tactic riffing with mid-paced grinding groove sections and pit-ready chunk-a-thons, serving up an eight song juggernaut of utter metallized destruction. The whole thing sounds gorgeous, with ultra tight compressed guitars and forward sounding drums leaping alongside popping and undiminished bass work that is simultaneously buried and upfront in the mix. Really, this is just a fantastic piece of work and anyone even remotely concerned with thrash metal should get on board. Totally recommended.
Rattle your goddamned head. Fuck yeah.


So impossible to find that it's hard to believe it even exists, "Horror of Birth" is one of Kevin Drumm's most accomplished compositions, an excellent encapsulation of all the things he does so well filtered into a 26 minute excursion into the darkest, most tar-drenched realms of sound exploration. Released around the same time as "Sheer Hellish Miasma," "Horror of Birth" trades on the tyrannical noise maelstroms Drumm was working in at the time, bearing much in common with "Sheer..." as well as other time-specific works like "Land of Lurches" and "Impish Tyrant." But while those releases went straight for the throat and immediately into the red, "Horror of Birth" belches forth a far more menacing and potent brand of filth, a sub-bass deep listening bit of musical terrorism, a throbbing flume of hateful, boiling ambience that references his massive "Organ" piece as much as it foreshadows the work he'd do on "Lights Out." Clearly, this is an important piece in the discography.
Comprised of four movements spread across two sides of tape, "Horror..." is a growing, evolving piece that both mesmerizes and jars the listener. The deep, pulsing bass tones are incredibly relaxing but incredibly distressing at the same time, creating a sense of everything about to go wrong all at once with little ability to prevent it. Side A is all tension and build up, with Drumm building a towering wall of steady grind, bubbling like some cauldron of squalid black goo, the liquefied entrails of so much cruelty and abhorrence. Things grow steadily more intense throughout the side's thirteen infinite minutes, as Drumm layers in wheezing, escalating whines and thin strains of pained scorching feedback resulting in a conglomerated mess of dilapidation and tonal disgust. There's no release to this, only the increasing sense of dread and nausea as the track oozes towards its abrupt conclusion. Afterwards you feel like you've been washed in blood and mud, and a lot of it's never going to come out.
As disorienting as the first side is, it's nothing compared to the difficulties present on Side B. Across the space of three tracks Drumm wrangles all your guts out of your body via some fucked up voodoo transposition. Things start off lullingly enough, with two minutes of lovely droning bass tone reminiscent of Radigue at her most introspective, but that's the only reprieve you get. After the calming false start the terror erupts, with dual stereo explosions of chittering cut up static fading in and out of either side, increasing in frequency and volume while the steady windy whine of feedback drifts in the background. The tones become almost psychically caustic, and again i'm impressed by Drumm's manipulation of recorded sound to the point where it causes distinct physical unease. This shit is hard to listen to in more ways than one. When everything finally explodes into powerhouse noise destruction on the final bit, it's entirely welcome after enduring the sonic punishments that came before. Drumm lets it spill out in tidal majesty, wave after wave of thick, blackened vomit pouring forth into your ears until just as quickly and violently it dries up and stops. The noise has a strange soothing quality that i've discussed before in my reviews of KD's stuff-it's harsh but not painful. The nausea tones are what's most difficult to take throughout his material. If the overall goal of this recording was to illustrate the horrors awaiting an unborn person in modern life through sound then it's an unequivocal success; if it was just to fuck some shit up then it's a score there, too.
It's sad this tape didn't see a wider release, and sadder still that someone hasn't reissued it. It's a great example of Kevin Drumm rocking out noise the way only he can and another amazing demonstartion of the awesome power of pure, crushing sound. Highest possible recommendation.

KALTETOD "REUE" (Eternity Records)

One of my very favorite black metal bands returns from the wintry enigma, bathing us in a frigid and unforgiving blast of hyper-elite classicist blackened art. Kaltetod are one of the most under-appreciated bands in the black metal landscape; they're easily on par with underground giants like Mutiilation, Grand Belial's Key and the Ruins of Beverast yet they receive few of the same accolades. Perhaps that obscurity works to Kaltetod's advantage-they're not very prolific (this being only their sophomore album) and that lack of critical focus allows for a certain amount of time in preparing every new communication, thus ensuring an enviable ratio of quality to quantity that very few black metal projects can meet.
Hearing "Leere" back in 2005 was a revelatory experience, comparable to hearing "Filosofem" for the first time and truly beginning to understand it. Kaltetod plays with the same sort of time-stretching, blurring ideology, the warping of the now into the always and eternal, as transcendent an experience i've had with any other sort of music, be it the endless void of Skullflower or the formless sprawl Eliane Radigue's electronic meditations. Kaltetod clearly get the transformative potential of extreme composition, crafting epic pieces of black metal art that ultimately leave their conceptual grounding behind and leave a much more pure and involved engagement in their wake. "Leere" was as much a trance as it was an album of music and is simply one of the most consistently involving works i've heard in the genre.
"Reue" follows ably in "Leere"'s footsteps, boasting six more incredibly blinding, clouded songs that sound as though they've been buried under layers and layers of bitter dust and ice. If black metal is meant to be the sonic equivalent of winter (yes, i know it's an incredibly juvenile metaphor) then "Reue" is a scathing blizzard, a raging wall of screaming white blindness and numbing frigidity. Every sound melds together throughout. Guitars and vocals become textural devices meant to impart melody and extremity both; howls and wails run concurrent with dissonance and neoclassicism. Drums are machinelike and near inaudible, forcing the music along at breakneck speeds but just as easily dropping into half-time neck-crackers lest you forget that you are indeed listening to metal first and foremost. This is a band that grasps the impact of the black metal genre and refuses to dilute it; perhaps that's another reason for Katetod's relative underexposure within the scene. Black metal at its inception stood for violence and hallucinatory obliqueness; there was a sense of fright and mystery at the center of Mayhem's operations and a cultural disavowal at the genre's implied mission statements. It's not difficult to picture Kaltetod's music blasting as the soundtrack to a church burning; it's equally easy to imagine a depressed individual slicing open their wrists by candlelight as "Leere" blasts from a corner of the room. Kaltetod embody the most extreme aspects of black metal while relinquishing none of the compositional maturity the genre's exemplaries demand. This music operates and exists on a higher caliber and plane.
Philosophically the project is given over to an exploration of emptiness, presumably in both life and death. The music easily falls into the "suicidal" tag but there's more there than a simple wish for end. Like Lyrinx there's a desire not just to die but to disappear or be completely removed from the world as is. Death isn't enough, as it's still an earthly process mostly crushed under the weight of earthly attachment and ideals. There is a yearning for beyond-ness, a question thrown at the night and cast into the multitude of stars. How far does all the emptiness go? Is there a bottom somewhere in the human experience? How permeating is this malaise? How does time figure in, if at all? Can you actually refuse to take part in any of it? How? These questions are part of what Kaltetod strives for. In striving to understand the idea of removal they approach a transcendence approximated by music by that goes beyond simple extremity into a territory populated by careful consideration and near endless textural complexity. This band deals in masterworks, and while not to every taste, the music is beyond worthwhile for those seeking transformation and a deeper understanding of the self and its place.


I've been hearing Jason Crumer's name being tossed around pretty reverently in regards to noise so i figured i'd delve into his discography, starting with this little slab of destructo-wax from 2008. I chose this one pretty much based on name alone, and also because it speaks to the ideology i most favor within noise-the close kinship with extreme metal. It's hard for me to not think of Deicide's infallible "Legion" when hearing a title like "Burning in Hell" and to some degree i think that Crumer knew he had to deliver when he chose the name of his piece. Aptly living up to its moniker, "Burning in Hell" is a grinding 30 minute assault split between two sides that shows Crumer working with tapes and metals to create a shrieking gristly cacophony of unrelenting, howling manipulations.
Side A is all twist and churn, a chopped up mess of bleeding electricity fused together into an abnormal symphony of sick belch, a screaming stink of filth and stench bunched up into a thousand knots and tossed right in the listener's face. It's a ball of barbs and rusted thorns and it will cut you. Completely without vocals (never really a necessity for me in noise music, which is why i tend to veer away from most power electronics) this contortion of sounds nevertheless conveys a feeling of writhing agony, like something's eating you from the inside out, burning and scratching at you from somewhere deep, wallowed in you and eviscerating you from some hidden place until you collapse upon yourself in a fetid pile of blood and skin.
Side B plays a little more with dynamic and is far more successful for it. Things open up with two minutes or so of steady rumble, leading into another wash of electric violence, but the last half of the track gives way to a buried, steady hum of white-hot pulsing drone over which Crumer continues to layer all manner of shakes, screams and metallized scraping. I'm reminded heavily of the "thunder sheet" employed by David Scott Stone, basically an amplified cut of metal that creates a tremendous amount of sonic hell when flapped or shaken. Whether or not something similar is at work is difficult to say as so much of this sort of sound can be created so many ways, but whatever it is it's ridiculously effective. The droning buried under everything in this track is the key to the title, the neverending punishment due for a life lived in sin and wickedness. In a mere 7 minutes Crumer manages to paint an auditory image of infinite suffering, and while this material isn't incredibly groundbreaking the artist's mastery over mood is truly something to behold. He clearly understands extremity and its relation to specific genre; i think this record is a successful homage to metal and noise in the same way as Kevin Drumm's mighty "Sheer Hellish Miasma" (another work i can't help but feel Crumer was emulating a bit here). I'm way eager to hear more from Crumer. Recommended.