Gruntsplatter & Wilt – The Trough of Armageddon 2xCD Phange Tapes / Cipher Productions 2021
This split release is from two long-standing American projects and is conceptually interesting given each CD features a single artist who has used sonic source material from the other as the starting basis, and further sculpted and augmented it into their own material.
Gruntsplatter leads off with the first disc titled Indoctrination and functionally twists Wilt’s source material into Gruntsplatter’s own frame of reference, which means it is a textbook example of their crushing claustrophobic bleakness. Foreboding waves of corrosive sounds abound, with nary a fleck of light managing to piece the tonal gloom. Functionally, the tracks are minimalist but also operate as hefty atmospheric soundscapes, where multiple tonal layers combine into a grinding sonic mass. In generally articulating a barren post-apocalyptic landscape and ashen cloud atmosphere, the tonally windswept elements have a natural timbre, combined with others elements with a clear mechanical churn.
Moving onto the second disc, Wilt’s album is titled Repercussion and differs from Gruntsplatter’s side given it immediately displays a subtle spaciousness to the sonics. Melancholic and contemplative is the general flavour of proceedings, with an open and floating sparseness, coupled with the occasional tasteful use of minimal synth melodies. Although through the middle and back half of the album the sound of several tracks do contain a more forceful tonal bluster, and sees the use of abstracted mechanical rhythmic loops which gives a nod to the more typical sonic elements of Gruntspatter.
The end result of this collaborative release is one that displays the best elements of each project, and while there are subtle differences between each half, they are equally very complimentary as a combined release of high-grade, noise-industrial inflected dark ambience. The double gatefold dig-pack on thick card stock rounds out the cleanly designed and packaged presentation.