Concrete Mascara – Caustic Realities MC Angst 2016
In reflecting on the comments made about the sound production of the last full length ‘Perennial Disappointment’ (reviewed here), at the time I did wonder whether my initial assessment was slightly off, but found I came to the same conclusion after multiple revisits of the album over as many months. Fast forward to this new 4 track cassette it provided further opportunity to test those perceptions, and upon hearing it to my mind vindicates my impressions of the last album’s production. Again it is not to say the production on ‘Perennial Disappointment’ is in any way bad, rather the equalization of all layers meant it lost the depth and space which made Concrete Mascara’s sound really stand out in the past. To then refer back to the trademark sound it is on full display here, being harsh and hard industrial/ power electronics (…but equally with that characteristic separation of those elements).
‘Caustic Realities’ features 4 tracks spanning around 30 minutes (2 tracks each side), and contains everything I love about the project: moments of unbridled aggression; ripping mid to high pitched noise squall; harrowing and agonised vocals etc., which all framed around a bedrock of dour synth lines. Sitting well within such parameters, an elongated ominous synth line draws you in on ‘State Disappointment’ and from there gradually introduces a variety of wailing noise textures and vocals which span the spoken to a gruff roar (…although is perhaps a more controlled atmosphere overall than normal). ‘Blacker Than Pitch’ follows and amps things up a notch with a driving synth pulse and shredded vocals (…mixed well up front in the mix), while the loose mid toned noise become increasingly chaotic as the track surges onward. On Side B ‘Relentless Affirmation of Futility’ opens with a feel of idling stasis, before layered ‘needling’ high pitch noise and manic and unhinged vocal screams push the mood of the piece over the top. ‘Drowning in Tar’ then rounds out the 4 track release, with a loose and only minimally structured affair of sprawling mid toned layers which weave and intertwine, as the barked vocals barely rise out of the sonic muck.
Although ‘Caustic Realities’ does not necessarily bringing anything new to the table of what Concrete Mascara have done before, this is still a varied and standout example of their characteristic sound. A release worthy of your investigation.