The Bastard Noise & The Endless Blockade The Red List / The Bastard Noise A Culture of Monsters (Deep Six) both CD - Bastard Noise is a group I came too late, but I've gotten a crash course in the last couple months. Now is the time since the revered Chicago power noise institution has returned to its roots by kicking out bowel-thrashing hardcore doom in studio and on stage that touches on everything from The Melvins to the heyday of Earache and earlier Man is the Bastard power violence epics.
So what we get on these two blasts of prog thrash -- one a split with the equally mind blowing post hardcore spazz freaks, The Endless Blockade -- are brutal rhythms with screeching vocals and pummeling double bass percussion and bass (no lead guitars) punctuated by eerie electronics crackling like hot geiger counters at ground zero of a nuclear detonation. It ain't pretty, but you can't turn away from the ferocious doom noise onslaught of tracks like "Fallen Species" if you're into that sort'a thing. Gotta say The Endless Blockade is even more insane, like maybe a little too insane for my ears these days, but if you love blistering prog infused hardcore and electronics you could do much worse than their "Advanced Directive."
A Culture of Monsters, BN's latest long player continues the feel of the The Red List with monster rhythms smashed to pieces with thrashing beats and eerie minimal electronics. There's a perverse sense of humor about it all that makes it go down easier than one might expect with this sort of thing. Not something I'll pull out regularly but excellent enough for fans of evocative power noise with crushing blastbeats and all the ugly in between.
Locrian Rain of Ashes (Basses Frequencies) / Territories (At War With False Noise/Basses Frequencies/Bloodlust!/Small Doses) CD / LP - Two more doses of dismal metallic drone from Chicago's mighty Locrian, a band that possibly takes its cues from the bad boys mentioned above, Wolf Eyes, early Swans, black metal and even Fripp/Eno. Rain of Ashes offers an hour of live delirium captured for a radio broadcast. It opens on a sedated repetitive note with distant minor keys crawling up the spine like tiny black spiders before immersing the listener in an enveloping cacophony of tortured howls and feedback blizzards designed to disorient and overpower at extreme volumes. It's not a bad soundtrack for trailing off into a nightmare slumber if you can pass out before the screams come in.
Even more satisfying is the newer Territories, a Locrian big band affair that features members of Bloodyminded, Nachtmystium, Velnias and Yakuza along with the core of Andre Foisy and Terrance Hannum. As a result things definitely get opened up in terms of dynamics and diversity. "Inverted Ruins" offers a lurching funeral march of murky electronics and feedback beneath vocal howls that grow more intense and pissed off with each cycle across its 8 plus minutes. "Procession of Ancestral Brutalism," with Blake Judd on guitar and vocals, is a straight up black metal howler the likes of which his own band (Nachtmystium) has never conjured before -- atonal, screeching, howling at the bottomless black void metal -- designed to make your head explode before your soul crumbles into a ball of ash. How fun! Combine this with the more spectral hypnotic vibe of earlier Locrian disks, and you have something that's hard to ignore in the experimental drone metal realm. Territories comes in an edition of 500 on black vinyl, so don't dilly dally, you doom fixated dregs.