ACTUARY/DEATHSTENCH - SPLIT - LP
KING OF THE MONSTERS/KOTM056
BLACKENED NOISE/POWER ELECTRONICS/HARSH NOISE/
DEATH INDUSTRIAL/BLACKENED AMBIENT/EXPERIMENTAL
DARK/FORREST GREEN VINYL HOUSED IN A DUST-JACKET WITHIN
A FULLY ILLUSTRATED SLEEVE FEATURING EXCELLENT ARTWORK
CREATED BY DEATHSTENCH MEMBERS. COMES WITH INSERT AND
DEATHSTENCH SIGIL PATCH.
(The bones are not included unfortunately...)
Today I am very fucking excited to be reviewing a split LP
from two of my absolute favorite bands in the underground
right now. This is a dream pairing for me but I'll try to
contain my excitement enough to get this review written.
The unholy trinity of ACTUARY have been scorching my ears
for awhile now with their own unique brand of Occult Electronics.
Often very experimental in nature with a strange organic quality.
A sound that I could only describe as genuine. On the other end
of the split we have the shadowy duo DEATHSTENCH who's sonic rituals
have a grim/serious quality that few can match. Again I'd use the
term genuine when discussing DEATHSTENCH as well. Both artists present
material beyond worthy of the senses. This record is a complete package.
Everything from the layout/artwork/presentation to the aural invocations
contained within is top notch. A lot of bands do Occult themed works in
underground music. It's hardly shocking at this point...But for me I
seek more than shock value anyways. I want something legitimate...
Something pure. These two bands bring that to the table and then
SIDE A.) ACTUARY
I.) FRACTURED HARMONY / II.) WORLD IN SHADOWS /
III.) RUTHLESS THOUGHT MACHINE:
Up first we have three tracks from ACTUARY. The first being the
brilliantly titled "Fractured Harmony." Weird Industrial drones
loop with feedback and clawing rhythms. A steady pulse forms a
backbone for all manner of strange tones, Textures and resonance
to sprout out from. Necrotic Black Metal style rasps are spewed
forth over psychedelic Industrial soundscapes. Oscillators are
punished as drones sweep in to steal the spotlight from time to time.
ACTUARY must have quite an impressive gear set-up at their disposal.
There is a lot to hear if you pay close attention. Layers upon layers.
Everything is backed by heavy bass currents so when the more free
form and experimental elements come in they immediately stand out
against the backdrop. Even with the steady rhythm the track still
seems to slowly glide along like a mass of spectral nightmare beings
looking for a place to set down and terrorize. High-end signals are
sent overhead as the tempo picks up. The rhythms featured are very
machine-like...Giving the piece a cold maniacal feeling as a whole.
Minimal throbbing under a variety of synth sounds that all swirl together
in an odd blur. An urgent and dangerous track that invokes anxiety and dread.
Static spray hisses over trudging bass drum patterns as multiple strange
chirps and sonic patterns fill the atmosphere. Walls of harsh static
noise build as the vocals take on a crazed, Murderous quality. Like a
building tension/frustration. A combination that sounds as miserable
as it does powerful. Some tracks don't live up to their name...This
isn't one of them. Obscure 90's Black Metal vocals/attitude over a
slowly building early Industrial/Noise track. Killer combination.
"World Of Shadows" is another piece that absolutely fits it's title.
Sinister ambiance crawls out of the pit at the pace of creeping death.
Shimmering feedback resonates as abrasive, Scratching Noise textures
climb out from the dreary ink black pits that the drones originate
from. Inhuman Blackened rasps/growls are heard as if an ancient
evil is awakening. Things start to grow unstable. Shifting sheets
of harsh sound make their presence known through quiet explosions
of violent eruption. Caustic and unsettling. Discomfort music at
it's finest. Synths paint vibrant images within the minds eye as
the vocals are delivered in reckless agitated assaults. The rhythmic
scratching along dread ridden vibrations. A short interlude, But one
that injects a lethal dose.
"Ruthless Thought Machine" ends the A side, Taking us into buzzing
static drones coupled with spoken samples. Everything moves as a
smothering blur of light engulfing blackness. Experimental Electronics
provide a variety of Sci-Fi style sounds that are heard like alien life
forms dancing in the background. Bizarre rites from a dimension where no
human being has ever been. Solemn and melancholic spoken word vocals offer
cryptic phrases before being devoured by a maelstrom of Harsh and blown
out noise. Once again we are attacked by multiple barrages of croaking
Black Metal style vocalizations. This is by far some of the most ferocious
material I've heard from ACTUARY to date. Drones stream with immense power
sounding like they've come to rip open rifts allowing a flood of inhuman
entities through to rape and consume all in their wake. D.S.B.M. style
screams of anguish battle with low Daemonic grunts...Both soon to be
eaten away by the silence at the end of the record.
SIDE B.) DEATHSTENCH
IV.) THE SHRINE BELOW / V.) TRANSCENDING VOID:
Next we go into "The Shrine Below" with DEATHSTENCH
at the helm. Windswept torture dungeon atmospheres
arise over quaking sub-bass detonations. Dry throat
vocals wheeze into the frame soon joined by deep grunts.
A dual vocal attack that adds a "Possessed" quality to an
already supremely evil sound. Sub-orchestral patterns weave
and vanish as corrosive whispers hiss with a very apparent
hostility. Clean guitar drones and ringing feedback are heard
as scathing, Scraping noise textures create gut-wrenching dis-ease.
Low notes ring out in a slow song of black despair. The vibrations
that trace behind each note are felt physically in the body. Music
with impact...And this was only the calm before the coming Hellstorm.
"Transcending Void" is where all Hell really breaks lose. A slow
burning descent as we transcend flesh and bone. Ritualistic hand
drumming and what sounds like a large resonating cymbal are heard
first. Drones creep in forming a fevered haze over quaking sub-bass
vibrations. Just wait. It gets worse. Volume increases along with
intensity to a level right at the threshold of true punishment.
DEATHSTENCH utilize their trademark charred vocal approach as
swirling layers and negative emanations spiral into a vortex
of chaotic might. Although this is a fairly slow track in terms
of tempo, It is by far one of the heaviest and more immense works
I've heard from this fiendish duo. Occult energies are channeled
and harnessed before being let loose to reek havoc on anything
that breaths. The effect is similar to when I said ACTUARY were
"Opening rifts"...Only here we have a lot more fire and brimstone.
Scorching static blankets like harsh winter snow adding even more
of an obscure sound. John-Paul Whetzel sounds rabid and bloodcrazed
more than usual which is quite a feat to accomplish. Here too we are
subjected to windswept and uninhabitable atmospheres. Billowing waves
of pure corrosion. The track moves like an old ship at sea as the tides
slowly rock it into a watery grave...Not to say that this would be a
relaxing listening experience to most, But it does have a lull that
will pull you into it's depths. Hypnotic in all the right ways for
this type of music. Finally, Blown-out bass quakes fade into reversed
drones that carry us into nihilistic emptiness.
A DANGEROUS MEETING: