Monday, June 8, 2009
Blue Sabbath Black Cheer - Crows Eat the Eyes From the Leviathans Carcass (Release the Bats CD)
Humorous though their name may be, Blue Sabbath Black Cheer actually sounds like anything but. Primarily the duo of wm.Rage and Stan Reed, this collection pulls from several out of print releases while also adding two unreleased tracks. Call this fine collection a "best of" if you want, but be warned: this is some brutal material. Perhaps "best of the worst" would be more apt.
Let it be known though that these two do what they do extremely well. The seven tracks presented here each see the duo expanding the definition of blackness, seeking out its various manifestations and finding new examples lying between the cacophonic blood-boiling noise found on the first untitled track and the brooding and spare scrape soundscapes found on the second track, also untitled.
More or less everything else here falls somewhere in the middle of these two approaches, the duo always finding new ways to intermingle their gutteral vocals, oscillators, tapes, guitar and bass. "Genocide" finds a vocal bellow on par with some dinosaurs while high-end oscillators ring about in richly textured pools of mud. It may be harsh but the layers intermingle fabulously, and even the noise newcomer could find elements of interest to lose themselves in here. It is one of the finest demonstrations of the group's sound presented on the disc. "Maggot" crackles like coals sizzling in some lava pit in Sumatra while avalanches roll about above. The sound is certainly an ugly one, but ambient elements are present, and the sheer level of action keeps the piece on its toes throughout.
Whereas many of the tracks here feel like a compactor squishing various noise tactics into one another, the fifth untitled track is truly a dark ambient work, gliding along menacingly while wagon wheels and feedback shoot shards of color into the piece, if only momentarily. The patient control exhibited is one of the group's strengths, as they exhibit their interest in unified works rather than all out blow-you-away noise.
The centerpiece of the disc is no doubt found in the 17-plus minute "Borre Fen/Untitled." Beginning in a drifting netherworld of screeching tapes, the piece builds from musique concrete openings into a bleak post-apocalyptic portrait before descending into complete bone-sucking mayhem. The work moves through so many spaces that it is difficult to touch on all of them, though it does take the shape of a mini score of sorts, each scene represented with fine dexterity and finesse. The closing untitled track is a harsh high end palette cleanser, securing the group's position as dark noise practitioners of the highest degree, far more closely aligned to artists such as Cousins of Reggae or Spykes than Sunn 0))) or even Robedoor.