Sentenced for Life – Cold on the Blue LP Prison Tatt Records 2015
Having not come across the Australian Sentenced for Live before, evidently this vinyl is a limited repress of an even more limited cassette version released in 2011, which musically demonstrates a loose and unrefined approach to its crude power electronics and skuzzy industrial noise. Likewise with the project’s moniker, crude home-made tattoo styled graphics and well sourced introductory samples, each of these elements provide more than a cursory hint at thematic preoccupations; that being of drug culture, criminality, underclass aggression and threatened violence. Two lengthy vinyl side spanning tracks are featured here, with each being just short of 20 minutes.
‘Broken & Corrupt I Bleed Like A Cunt’ takes up the first side, which features rough grinding layers of spitting analogue static to provide a loose cyclic structure. Yet despite its rough sonic aesthetic there is cavernous tonal depth to the sound, which only elevates its loathsome and paranoid inducing atmosphere. Although talking up the full side of LP there are distinct segments within the composition, with a gradual shift from one to the next, including the late segment which contains a distant death industrial thump. Overall the first side sits squarely within more subdued, but heavily layered, industrial noise soundscape territory and maintains an excellent control over its tone and pacing, creating a paranoid tone of lurking but unseen menace.
‘In The Guts Of A Low Mongrel Dog’ takes up the second side and after the relative subdued industrial noise approach of the first track, it ratchets up the mood a few notches into more direct power electronics pretence. Here the first segment containing a heady dose of grinding distortion and forceful pounding structures to drive its chaotic squall. The more lengthy mid to end sections then slightly reduce the forceful approach, with a laid back and atmospheric control to its low pulsing throb and grinding atmosphere (yet is still more direct overall than the first side).
Clearly the primitive analogue atmospheres and swirling industrial noise morass begs a passing reference to elements of Streicher (as a older comparison) or maybe Alfarmania (as a more contemporary one), but these comparisons are most relevant when both comparative acts are functioning in a more elongated soundscape capacity. Although Sentenced to Life not necessarily bringing anything new to this sort of material, they have nailed their chosen sound with clear intent and delivered a very strong and convincing release in the process. There is also a very positive ‘obscurity factor’ at play given ‘Cold on the Blue’ is Sentenced for Life’s only release to date and an excellent one at that. Recommended if you can track a copy down.