Shredded Nerve – Acts of Betrayal CD Chondritic Sound 2020
Shredded Nerve is an American project of Justin Lakes who has issued a slew of releases since the early 2010s. Having not kept up with this output that now spans around 30 releases, I have to take Acts of Betrayal at face value, rather than how it may compare to or has evolved from other releases.
Although an instrumental experimental noise album at its core, Acts of Betrayal covers a wide variety of stylistic elements across its seven tracks and hour length, including jagged noise, caustic drone, scrap metal-infused industrial, and power electronics bluster. The lengthy opener Coup D’Etat is demonstrative of this, with a slow-moving yet tensile drone ambience which gradually elevates with hollow scrap metal sounds and a rising tide of crisp distortion. Flowing immediately into following track Dragged Through The Mud, the manipulated scrap metal tones are brought to the fore to create significant sonic heft, sitting in the mid to higher tonal range. Given its 15-minute length, Meridian takes ample time to unfold from the early passage of electroacoustic minimalism, but builds to a monolithic maelstrom of multilayered noise of roaring jet engine proportions. Following the hefty peaks of this track, a couple of more subdued and controlled tracks feature (Fate Deciding Life and Death and Times of Grief), which can be broadly bracketed under the descriptor ‘industrial noise meets electroacoustic experimentation’. As for the title track, it gradually increases in intensity, although a series of slowly elevating industrial-toned corkscrew loops with raw and shredding noise is added for good measure towards the track’s end. Divergent Paths features scrabbling scrap metal sonics and dour underpinning synth, plus a tone of power electronics bluster. Final track Nights Of Endless Fire spans electro-acoustic soundscapes and tensile drones, but through the last half features one final rising tide of scrap metal sonics and harsh noise chaos.
For me personally, it is the slower and more sonically spacious moments of the album that work best, but that observation says far more regarding my own listening preferences: noise heads would clearly revel in the moments that build to maelstroms of cascading sonics. But with moments swaying from those of a jagged and harsh tonality, through to segments of controlled and contemplative experimental noise atmospherics, it demonstrates both craft and attention to detail. A strong and commendable album is the result, with the CD housed in a high gloss, four-panel, colour digipack.