Shredded Nerve – In The Shadow Of What Never Was LP Chondritic Sound 2016
Shredded Nerve are a relatively new US industrial/ noise unit with a handful of cassettes and 7”ep’s to their name since 2013. This is their first full length vinyl album, although I am then not sure if any of the cassette releases are themselves to be considered as proper full length releases. So, although this can be broadly described as ‘industrial/ noise’, this rather rudimentary classification could also potentially be misleading, given it does not fully capture the diversity displayed on this complex and experimentally tinged recording.
Album opener ‘Closer To The End (in The Shadow Of What Never Was)’ kicks things off with a single LP sided track (18.5 minutes), which charts upward building motion over its lengthy span. Despite being a single track there are distinct sections or ‘movements’ found within, where the initial crude scratchy loops and the minimalist ‘metal on metal’ experimental field recordings give way to a ritualized soundscape dirge (i.e. echoed percussion, watery textures and garbled vocalisations). For the final third the mood shifts into industrial drone territory, including throbbing bass and mid toned fluttering textures which becomes progressively more chaotic through to tracks ends.
On the flip side of the vinyl it delivers 4 shorter tracks between 3 and 7 minutes each. The first half of ‘Stone, Lead and Gasoline’s is sonically excellent, being dour and contemplative in sound, mixing shimmering drones, minimalist synth melody and scattered textural field recordings (echoed knocking sounds, aquatic tones etc.). Yet without warning the latter half of the track ‘flips a switch’ and lurches into piercing and stabbing noise which are structured as ‘industrial strength’ loops. On the following track ‘Threat Becomes Clear’ it is very much a studio work out of source junk metal recordings, which have been roughly hewn into tonally jagged and fiercely intertwining loops. Conversely ‘Time Inside’ is piece of quiet restraint, where it is structured around vague ‘metallic scraping’ loops, there is distance and depth between sonic elements (…thereby allowing microtonal textures to come to the fore). Overall is a track which clearly balances its underground industrial focus and more experimental leaning, and very much reminds on the sound a feel and industrial tape experimentation coming from the Swedish scene (i.e. Arkhe, Ochu, Niellerade Fallibilisthorstar etc). ‘Without the Hindrance of Man’ concludes the album with a further understated experimental track. Being sparse and cavernous, it is highly atmospheric with grit and grime, based on crepuscular scraping textures, distant knocking resonances and what may be disembodied vocal groans.
Although at times quite experimental in approach, the sound ‘In The Shadow Of What Never Was’ is staunchly underground with its dirty and caustic feel. Although I don’t know how this compares to earlier Shredded Nerve output, here the sound is very much focused on tone and atmosphere, rather than straight aggression or sonic extremity, where the results are varied, focus and above all else amounts to an appealing listening experience.