Metadevice – Turba

Metadevice – Turba CD New Approach Records 2021

Following the disbandment in the mid-2010’s of the highly respected Portuguese industrial group Sektor304, former member André Coelho has since busied himself with other projects, with Beyond Enclosure and Metadevice being the most visible by virtue of being released on Malignant Records. Metadevice is the newest project, with Turba being the third album since 2020.

In a general sense, Metadevice are concerned with a sound rooted in a rhythmically pummelling and broadly ‘industrial’ style, but has also incorporating wider aspects of dark ambient, death industrial and power electronics. Additionally, on selected tracks more unusual elements are introduced such as twilight-noir atmospheres, as well as battered and overblown electronica. Sonically speaking the fizzing static and harshly brooding soundscapes are further inflected with a percussive rhythmic drive, which perhaps obviously give a nod to Sektor304. Also, despite my assumption that Turba is mostly constructed with programmed equipment and studio trickery, there is still a thread of a band format rather than a straight studio project, given the use of occasional low-slung guitars, metallic percussive tones, and the general vocal approach. To further mention the vocals, they differ from earlier albums here being courtesy of collaborator Rui Almeida, and are notable as they are delivered in both Portuguese and English, and range from spoken word narrative to a more urgent half-sung style. Over Turba’s ten tracks span an hour’s playtime substantial sonic territory and harsh atmospheric spaces are covered, and while each track functions as a stand-alone composition, equally they strongly solidify as a collective album whole. To perhaps to speak of one misstep, the frenetic soloed guitar on Vectores Miragens sounds rather out of place with the balance of the album. But equally, on a more positive note, it is interesting to realise that on more than a few occasions Turba begs a comparison to the ‘power industrial electronics’ approach of Stratvm Terror, which is a stylistic approach infrequently emulated.

Packaging-wise, the CD is housed in an 8-panel digi-sleeve making a strong feature of the striking artwork, noted to also be from the hands of André Coelho. With the painting featuring an amorphous assemblage of faces, it thematically reflects the album’s concept, being: “about collective alienation, raving individualism and a deep dive into the hyperreality of our modern times”. In all aspects of sonics and visuals, Turba is very much worthy of attention.

Cloister Recordings cassette batch 2021

Subklinik – Neuroskizm MC Cloister Recordings 2021

The long-standing death industrial/ death ambient project Subklinik returns with a new four track tape, where the featured material heavily slanted toward a death ambient sound. A constant element found across the tape are the low brooding synth layers which ebb forwards in various atonal patterns. Sonic variation is then provided with windswept textures, muted ritualised beats, lamenting chants, wailing horns and semi-burred dialog samples etc. However, the shortest track Pulverise stands out substantially for the rest with its employment of a rudimentary drum machine beat, which when coupled with angular stabs of sound reminds of the early pivotal phase of SPK. The remaining three tracks then have greater consistency, being expertly crafted and sonically restrained in capturing a tone of creeping dread. An all-round strong tape.

Lust Fist – Forflatning MC Cloister Recordings 2021

Forflatning is the follow up to the debut tape Kropper Uten Mellomrom (reviewed here), which showcases a further five tracks of no-frills but absolutely on point European styled power electronics. The title opening track is a brooding instrumental and features a sample commenting on the current ills of society by referencing “moral starvation”. The following track then edges things up a notch with multi-layered caustic loops and wavering modulations, with the shredded megaphone vocals being semi-buried in the mix. The Birth Of A New Man Regenerated Through Labour opts for a gloomy cinematic edge, and feature the flange processed and over-saturated vocals which were such a standout element of the debut. To then make reference to my review of the debut, it highlighted that tape: ‘deftly balances aggression with a sense of lurking menace’, which is equally applicable here. Yet perhaps there is an elevated attention to sonic detailing as well as tonal variation between each of the tracks on display. Without doubt Lust Fist again strongly impress on their new release.

DAYOFWRATH – And The World Will Perish In Flames MC Cloister Recordings 2021

As I understand it DAYOFWRATH is a new solo project which has risen from the ashes of the defunct Barcelona based ritual ambient/ death industrial project DE·TA·US·TO·AS. Therefore, based on general similarities in sound, this new project can be viewed as a follow on from the earlier project (final DE·TA·US·TO·AS release reviewed here). Four tracks feature on the tape, where the lead off track Voidhanger very much wears its Trepaneringsritualen influence on its sleeve. Heavily pounding ritual percussion drives the track forwards, coupled with gruff invocation-based vocals, while a black metal tremolo riffed guitar line is relegated to the background. A similar tone and instrument construct is featured on Imperfection And Oblivion, but the overt forward drive is paired back slightly to brooding pace. The programmed and almost industrial-techno beat of The Warior’s Pilgrimage functions to give DAYOFWRATH’s sound a more individual slant, and which continues on the final track Death To The World. Here the black metal riffed guitars are brought to the fore and coupled with further pounding rhythmic programming to create an anthemic track with undercurrent of a ritualised rhythmic sway. As an overall comment the driving ritual death industrial mood remains the central focus, and regardless of the obvious influence, the use of the tremolo riffed guitars and programming functions sets DAYOFWRATH apart. For a formal debut this is a very impressive tape.

JT Whitfield – Pressed Pill

JT Whitfield – Pressed Pill 7”ep Damned Gates Recordings 2021

The name JT Whitfield was vaguely familiar when I received this, although equally I could not immediately place it. But with further investigation it is noted that JT is a Texas based artist operating within the underground and specifically the in-between spaces where noise, industrial, dark ambient and experimental techno collide. In further contemplating the abstracted skull image of the cover and the unintelligible font (which is somewhere between a black metal logo and calligraphic scrawl), it belies the actual musical content pressed on the wax.

As for those sounds, the 45prm 7”ep features two tracks of lumbering, caustic and stilted industrial rhythms which equally hints at a tone of experimental noise and industrial techno without fully embodying these either. A thick fractured bass pulse and fleeting horror synths kick things off on Press 1, while further fractured off kilter rhythmic elements keep thing darkly wonky. Slowly tidal washes of rising distortion are added for good measure and there may be a vocal line in there too – or is that just another noise texture? Not quite sure. Press 2 follows on the flipside, and contains more of a mutated techno kick combined with mid toned scrabbling textures, but it too retains an off kilter and slow-paced forward roll. Also, although not specifically recommended, I did note that this can also be played at 33prm without sounding wrong and actually provides an positive ‘screwed’ effect – meaning that of a drawling drugged haze provided by the slower speed.

The limited run pressing of 50 copies also comes with a series of screen-printed insets, rounding out a decent little release, issued on this boutique Melbourne based label.

Screloma – Dirt / Rotten Sarkoma

Screloma – Dirt MC Vanity Recordings 2020

Screloma – Rotten Sarkoma MC Vanity Recordings 2020

Screloma is a Japanese solo industrial noise project Jun-ichi Takahashi operating since the early 2000’s. Yet these two tapes do not feature new material, rather are reissues from the earliest phase of the project, namely the debut Dirt from 2004 and the sophomore Rotten Sarkoma from 2008.

Straight out of the gate Dirt, displays a thick and punishing industrial ‘rhythm and noise’ approach which was very much in vouge in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s and catagorised by labels such as HANDS and ANT-ZEN. Given its original issue of Dirt in 2004 it place it very much the middle of the movement of that style at the time. Featuring over the top mid to fast paced clanging metallic beats, swirling noise and thick pulsing basslines, the sound is still nowhere near the ‘over the top’ sound of another Japanese industrial project Dissecting Table. With each of the six tracks which make up Dirt exceeding fives minutes in length, the longest track Skum-Teck is the longest at nine minutes and by doing away with a driving beat and dialing up on the distortion is the sonically most freeform. Likewise, although Rosten provides some early respite with a slow elevating intro, but soon enough it launches headlong into a chaotic maelstrom of fast pummelling beats, throbbing bass, air raid siren tones and lashings of distortion.

Released four years after Dirt, Rotten Sarkoma immediately displays a reorientation in sound and approach from industrial ‘rhythm and noise’, to a hasher and more freeform noise and power electronics frame of reference. Beats are present, yet are buried under a plethora of distortion, and wile bass is also present, it is generally not as a central driving element, thus the greater mood is one of rough and blustering industrial noise / power electronics with occasional random samples and vocals making an appearance. In fact, the main stylistic link between the two tapes is the new hash noise blasted version of Skum-Teck II [At 20000V], which is the most divergent track to the rest of the material on Rotten Sarkoma, being partially structured, spitting and fierce material, yet which also knows when to show moments of moody restraint. Atomic Test is a particular standout of mid-paced swaying loop, charred vocals force-fed through warbling distortion effect. Nuclear Winter is another standout with its slow pounding oil barrel and freeform metal type percussive approach, where the scorched vocals are rendered as a layer of noise.

Perhaps my general appreciation of the material featured on Dirt comes for the perspective of it being a heady ‘blast from the past’, rather than something I would typically seek out to listen to today. While on the other hand Rotten Sarkoma clearly feels to have a far greater individualistic / stylistic bent and more closely aligns with my current listening preferences. As for presentation, each tape is pro-duplicated with pro-printed case and j-card, and limited to run of only 100 copies each.