Posts Tagged ‘Demonic’

Panurus Productions – 29th May 2020

Mantis Shrimp is the second Shrimp release following their eponymous debut released just over a year ago, in January 2019. A collaboration between various luminaries of the underground scene in Newcastle, England, and Ryosuke Kiyasu, who has enough projects to his credit to render him a one-man music scene in Japan, they describe their sound as ‘chitinous free grind onslaught’.

Now, if ‘Shrimp’ has connotations of small fry, the proverbial puny weakling, and their debut laid waste to those associations with a devastating cacophony , then it’s perhaps worth approaching this instalment with the knowledge that the mantis shrimp is the brutal bastard of the small crustacean world: a violent predator, mantis shrimp typically eat fish, crabs, clams, snails, worms, shrimp and squid, and can take on animals significantly larger than themselves thanks to their ‘calcified clubs’

According to Wikipedia, these hard exoskeletal bastards are sometimes referred to as ‘thumb splitters’ ‘because of the animal’s ability to inflict painful gashes if handled incautiously…—mantis shrimps have powerful claws that are used to attack and kill prey by spearing, stunning, or dismembering’.

This pretty much how it feels listening to the four pieces here.

There’s a strain (and strain is an apposite word choice) of experimental jazz that sounds like the end of a piece, where the instruments all clatter and rumble as they wind down from a climax, only that is the piece, and each piece lasts an eternity. That’s this. Only with grating guitars and bowel-ripping guttural vocals, which add depth and detail to the calamitous, chaotic racket.

‘Sealed Explosion’ eases it in gently, with thirteen minutes of stop / start percussion and stuttering discord that crashes and stumbles in all directions. It’s an absolute headfuck, and it’s only more intensely difficult from hereon in, with the sludgy squall of ‘Grasping Pincers’ bubbling through a relentless racket of crashing cymbals and stammering anti-chords and screeding feedback. The lull after four and a half minutes feels like an immense relief – but then you realise there’s another ten minutes to go as Watts starts up the gasping growl (first mistyped amusingly but perhaps appropriately as ‘sharts up’) that will continues to rasp through the bewildering tempest of noise. There’s some wild funk bass played at a hundred miles an hour around the ten-minute mark, but it’s submerged beneath a brain-shredding wall of noise. That’s no criticism, just a mere statement of fact.

‘Boiling Swamp’ spring and spurs, eddying electronics and guitars that sound more like they’re tuning up than playing actual music dominate the thrumming, humming drone of feedback and bass groans and tweeting sonic contrails. It gradual descends into a bass drone miasma, while shrill top-end feedback shrieks all around. Not a lot happens, but amidst the turbulence, there are wordless howls and hollers. Or, if words, impenetrable. As they ought to be. Watts resorts to guttural snarls in the dying minutes of this chthonic noise dirge that evokes Sunn O))) minus the growling low end crossed with Whitehouse, and which leaves ‘Endless Collapsing Staircase’ in prospect.

It’s 28 minutes of trippy experimental electronica that straddles noise, power electronics and various ambient forms. Percussion rattles erratically amidst trilling industrial scrapes, gradually building through wordless vocal drones and swelling layers of extranea. Anguished howls, shrieks, and barks punctuate a mess of feedback and flailing percussion. It’s a fucking horrible mess of noise: there’s a stab at a fractured bass groove in amongst it all. It never quite gets going, and 14 minutes in, it sounds like it’s all over as it collapses into a mess of pedals, but we’re barely at the midpoint. Watts sounds like he’s being gutted in a ceremonial act that’s been incorporated into a Large Unit performance. Or something. It hurts. But it works.

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Dio Drone – 9th December 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

OvO’s evolution over the last couple of albums has been substantial: the brutal, demonic mania of Cor Cordium was utterly terrifying in terms of just how dark and full-on it was. Not that Abisso was exactly a stroll in the park – in fact, it was truly petrifying – but some of the unbridled power of its predecessor was exchanged for a greater range, and a closer attention to nuance with the incorporation of texture and depth-bringing electronics.

Creatura marks another shift, and yet again, they’ve come up with something that sounds like it is not of this world. Pushing hard through the loud / quiet dynamic – with major emphasis on the loud, of course – the sound is has a dense, industrial quality. Combining live and programmed drums, with the bass and percussion tracks being first recorded live and then looped, sampled, overdubbed, overlayed and generally embellished, mangled and fucked with, it incorporates elements of black and industrial metal, but it’s so much more. And so much more spine-shakingly scary. This is beyond the realms of horror. It’s extreme, for sure. It’s an album that will smash your psyche.

The stop / start drums and snarling bass calls to mind early Pitch Shifter. Above all, it’s the percussion that dominates. The mechanised double-pedal bass drum sound pounds like fury while Stefano shrieks and howls through shards of feedback on opener ‘Satanam’. ‘Eternal Freak’ explodes with drums on drums, the snare sound approximating planets exploding, and guitars like jet engines roar with cranium-cracking intensity. The deep, snarling vocal on the title track is from beyond the bowels of hell and cannot possibly have emerged from the throat of anything with even a strand of human DNA. What kind of creatura is this? It’s a mutant beast from the deepest netherworld, and that’s for sure.

While the bulk of the material is driving and muscular, the sample-strewn experimental breakdown of ‘Matiarcale’ strips things back to a kind of mutant hip-hop. The fear chords which swim around the pulverizing drum track introduce another layer of disturbance.

The appropriately-titled ‘Zombie Stomp’ reveals a hitherto unseen facet of the band, manifesting as a glam rock boogie – OvO style, of course. It’s still loud, hard and heavy, but there’s even an approximation of a vocal melody, albeit one as performed by Alvin Stardust’s reanimated corpse after it’s been possessed by the spirit of Zuul.

‘Buco Nero’ continues in this vein, a post-punk track at heart, with a tune and everything, but churned to a gut-wrenching doom-filled sludge. Counerpart ‘Buco Bianco’ is a techno-disco behemoth, along the lines of Chris and Cosey collaborating with Bathory. It would be a danceable pop tune if it wasn’t so utterly fucked up. The same can’t be said of ‘Bell’s Hells’, which is a minute and a half of thunderous savagery. Closer ‘March of the Freaks’ has hints of Nine Inch Nails about it but the stuttering beats and gnarled vocals make even Broken sound like Soft Cell.

It’s the fact that Creatura so often hints at accessibility which never emerges in actuality which renders it such a fearsome and disturbing work. Whereas Cor Cordium and Abisso were truly other-wordly, Creatura inches close enough to recogniseable forms to offer a warped reimagining of the world we know and as such, is deeply uncanny, in the Freudian sense. Weird, dark and intense, it’s an album only OvO could spew out: it’s also eye-poppingly awesome.

 

OvO cover