Rope Society / Am Not ‎– Диархия

Rope Society / Am Not ‎– Диархия 7”ep Novichok ‎2021

Novichok ‎is a new Australian based label with the chosen name specifically referencing a Soviet developed nerve agent. Clearly this split release has carried on with this general theme, given Am Not’s track is also titled Nerve Agents and the cover features an image of Mikhail Khodorkovsky – exiled Russian businessman and Kremlin critic (although in truth I did not immediately recognise who was on the cover as the image is of a much younger Mikhail, meaning I had to seek assistance in identifying who it was). The interior panel of the cover also features an image of the interior of Salisbury Cathedral, UK which would be a reference to the 2018 novichok poisoning of Sergei Skripal in Salisbury, who is a former Russian military officer and double agent for the British intelligence agencies.

Rope Society leads off Side A with the track Bite The Hand. In noting that Rope Society is a side project to Isomer which was primarily launched to focused on harsher sonics, it is interesting that this track partially arcs back to the sound of an earlier Isomer MCD Nil By Mouth. A Russian dialogue sample and low squelching heavy electronics modulating pulse opens the track, over which a seething distorted vocal is spat and further coupled with smattering of static smears. Space and separation of tonal elements provide a spacious production which is controlled rather than unhinged in mood. Am Not follows on the flipside, and feature a track of composed yet harsh power electronics, based predominantly on an idling machine line tone around which more jagged tonal elements are framed. But where the metered vocal delivery of Tamon is a usual and trademark element of Am Not, they are notably absent here. Instead the vocals are provided courtesy of Shift, and are completely flesh searing in their aggressive intensity, where through further sonic treatment are pushed to a point of being yet another distorted sound layered.

Given the short and sharp format of this 7”ep, both groups deliver a poisonous dual dose on this very commendable release. With a number of split 7”ep’s having already issued on the label, it will be rather interesting to watch how Novichok develops.

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