ALBUM REVIEW: Static-X – Project Regeneration Vol.1

The road to hell is paved with blood.”

Like many fans, Wayne Static’s tragic passing in 2014 hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw the band rise from the underground to spread their “Evil Disco” sound around the globe, touring with their heroes and influences, and even surpassing a few of the,. Wayne had much more music to give the world but little did we know. As it turns out, a lot more than we expected. Upon repeat listens to the new Static-X album listening to Project Regeneration Vol.1 (Ostego Entertainment Group), the band sounds fresh and raging as ever, and Wayne’s voice is not sad, but a triumphant middle finger from the great ether. Continue reading

Igorrr – Savage Sinusoid

Normally, when a press release boasts that no samples were used on an album, we can infer two things about the band in question: firstly that they’re trapped in a time-loop that extends no later than 1994 and secondly that they play some kind of raw, sloppy Punk/Metal that no-one would imagine for a second used samples.  For the first time in the history of music, however, there is actually a point to declaring that – if you go in to Igorrr’s kitchen-sink onslaught of Metal, dance, Balkan music, 8-bit synths and whatever else solo permanent member Gautier Selle feels like chucking in, you could be forgiven for thinking that samples play a heavy role.  They certainly used to, but in the decade-plus since the first Igorrr demo was released, Selle has gradually built up both his own musical ability and his circle of connections and collaborators, until every sound on Savage Sinusoid (Metal Blade) was created specifically for the album. Continue reading

Ulver – ATGCLVLSSCAP

Ulver – ATGCLVLSSCAP album cover ghotcultmag

Norwegian experimental group Ulver have long since shed their early black metal leanings, and since become purveyors of the electronic, ambient, and whatever else they feel like. On their twelfth record, they’ve pushed past the boundaries and taken a misstep.

New album ATGCLVLSSCAP (House of Mythology)– an amalgamation of the first letter from each of the Zodiacs – is a mammoth 80-minute mish-mash of live improve, studio tricks and samples taken from the band’s own back catalogue. While definitely moody and atmospheric, it often feels more like a series of disjointed soundscapes than coherent album; a soundtrack to a film you’ve never seen.

England’s Hidden’ is seven and a half minutes of largely ambient horns, and sets the tone for the rest of the album. ‘Glammer Hammer’ is a nice, mellow piece that builds towards something quite epic towards the end. ‘Moody Stix’ has a haunting swampiness about it, while the electro-synth ‘Desert/Dawn’ has an aura of a retro sci-fi soundtrack to it. Some are more than decent – though largely uninteresting – but many are nothing but unforgettable. Where ‘D-D Drone’ is nine minutes you could have spent sat in silence and not noticed the difference, ‘Crogmagnosis’ settles into a moreish groove.

Though largely an instrumental album, the appearance of vocals on two of the last three tracks come as something of a surprise, and changes the tone of the record. ‘Nowhere (Sweet Sixteen)’ is a downbeat crooner bristling with melancholy, while ‘Ecclesiastes (A Vernal Catnap)’ is a piano-led number full of sorrow. Depending on how you feel about the record up to this point, they’re either a welcome respite or an unwelcome distraction.

Ultimately, ATGCLVLSSCAP is about as satisfying as it is easy to spell. It’s not unlistenable, and good for background noise. But if you want thrills, excitement, or anything that generally registers above the hum of your fridge, look elsewhere.

6.0/10

DAN SWINHOE

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Fistula – Vermin Prolificus

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The opening lazy riff and bass line of Vermin Prolificus (PATAC), the sixth album from Ohio  scuzzbuckets Fistula, is so volumed up that the resonance is staggering, and is probably the lowest and heaviest rumble I’ve heard since Ramesses departed our world. It’s typically bloody nasty this, despite guitarist Corey Bing being the only remaining member from their last effort six years ago. New vocalist Dan Harrington possesses a largely guttural scream which drives opener ‘Smoke, Cat Hair and Toenails’, the message of which is forced home by an overabundance of archive recordings, including an apparently televised drugs intervention which reappears throughout.

The ensuing ‘Harmful Situation’ is grind-like punk, one of a few short and snappy moments slightly belying the sludge tag but remaining heavy and very hostile. There’s a certain dangerous irresponsibility at times with the glut of sound-bites at the head of ‘Pig Funeral’ also serving a purpose: to paint a purulent, diseased message of police hatred and murder, and lay the path for a tune that would doubtless gratify any number of cop-murdering scumbags festering behind their iron bars. Frustratingly, the track itself is a largely glorious wade through a thick, fizzing morass, picking up pace in the last third to a filthy grind diatribe dripping in grimy goop. It will have you squirming in your seat or screaming bloody revolution, depending on your point of view.

Given the seemingly puerile messages here it’s easy to dismiss this mob as sensationalist noise makers but there’s more substance beneath the shocking veneer. The brief ‘Upside Down’ displays the usual genre mantra of “Hell is other people” and is played with a real menace, but there’s a sense of pity that stirs as well as unsettles. The title track, a rumbling, oozing undercurrent, picks up on that intervention amid other narcotic messages, and the samples are often so full of despair that the band’s intent is somewhat inscrutable.

Whatever the intent, through sound alone this is an uneasy yet captivating listen, full of disgustingly dirty throbbing noise and malevolence, and despite that reliance on sound-bites, it demands your attention.

7.5/10

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PAUL QUINN