Regosphere / The Vomit Arsonist – Split 7”ep Phange Tapes / Obfuscated Records / DumpsterScore Home Recordings 2013
One clearly positive aspect to split releases is that it provides opportunity to check out an act you might have otherwise missed. Whilst I am already well acquainted with The Vomit Arsonist, for this split Regosphere is the newbie act for me.
The US project Regosphere step up to take the lead on the A side with their single track ‘Death, Like A Thief’. Here the composition is a multi layered affair with a prominent mid paced pounding beat / pulse upon which wavering noise, loosely rhythmic metallic clatter and distortion drenched vocals are overlaid. Focused and relatively straight forward, in some ways it resembles a more subdued and lurching version of Mental Destruction, which is more than positive introduction to the group. The group’s self described style of ‘anxiety electronics’ is also pretty much on the mark.
Another rising US act, namely The Vomit Arsonist, take up the flip side with their track ‘Mind Turns Violent’ and deliver a composition within their trademark blending of death industrial and power electronics. The track is defined by a bass heavy, muffled and distortion overloaded production, where underneath this dank sonic mass an ominous droning synth and vague industrial rhythms can be detected, whilst the screeched vocals cut through with malice and spite. Great stuff as expected.
The cover is a black and white doubled sided card fold out sleeve, including lyrics, which is a nice touch seeing as the vocal delivery and production on both tracks renders them indecipherable. With a limitation of 300 this is a straightforward 7”ep with commendable tracks from both projects.
Gnawed – Terminal Epoch CD Phage Tapes 2012
Following a myriad of cassettes, split releases and CDr’s over the last three years, ‘Terminal Epoch’ arrives as the debut album proper from Gnawed (featuring 12 tracks over 51 minutes). So for those not familiar with Gnawed, they are amongst the current crop of US power electronics/ death industrial artists who have been receiving a fair amount of positive interest in recent years, which includes the likes of Nyodene D, The Vomit Arsonist, Steel Hook Prosthesis etc. Thus taken from this perspective ‘Terminal Epoch’ presents yet another solid and pulverising release from the US power electronics/ death industrial scene.
Generally speaking I would say that Gnawed are slightly less polished and refined when considered alongside the aforementioned acts, but nevertheless they represent a project which appreciates the means to deliver a forceful album. Each of the tracks follow a fairly straight forward structure and tend to quickly establish their core elements – distortion, feedback, synth drones, vocals etc – and then loop the formed structures for the length of the track (which range from the shortest at 1.36 minutes to the longest at 7.07 minutes). Yet as the average length of tracks is in the order of 4 minutes, it seems the modus operandi of Gnawed is to quickly establish the tone of each piece, but not extend it to a length which becomes tedious or otherwise loses impact. In effect this is somewhat similar to the short, sharp and to the point approach of Ex.Order.
Overall one of the clearest impressions I get from this album is that it achieves an atmosphere which welds the aggressive with the ominous, which is certainly a positive combination. The multi-layered aspect of sound helps achieve this via an array of elements including: sustained/ fluctuating noise; tense and atmospheric synth layers; scrap metal abuse; drilling distortion etc. The vocals are also an absolute highlight, presented with a raw, harsh and searing treatment of the power electronics variety. Ultimately ‘Terminal Epoch’ is a heavy, no frills, and straight to the point power electronics/ death industrial album – and a commendable one at that. Recommended.