Tuesday, November 10, 2015

REVIEW - BLACK BLOCK - SNAPSHOTS FROM THE EMOTIONAL GUTTER - CASSETTE

BLACK BLOCK - SNAPSHOTS FROM THE EMOTIONAL GUTTER - CASSETTE
NOISE CO. 2-13
POWER ELECTRONICS/HARSH NOISE/HARSH AMBIENT/DRONE
COMES IN A "STATIC SHIELD" ZIP-BAG WITH FOLD OUT
XEROXED DIY ZINE STYLE INSERT WITH IN DEPTH LINER
NOTES. ON YELLOW CASSETTE WITH STICKER ON THE A
SIDE.


SIDE A.)
I.) HOSTAGE CRISIS:
BLACK BLOC has been doing top notch Power Electronics for around eight years now.
Politically charged P.E. with a clear message delivered through the bleeding heart
of righteous anger. Known for a blistering live performance and a dedication and
work ethic that is more machine than man. Sadly, "Snapshots From The Emotional
Gutter" will most likely be the last BLACK BLOC release but damn it's one Hell
of a way to go out. This is probably the best thing I've heard from the project
since the stellar "Strangulation Of Free Expression" album released through the
Smell The Stench label in 2007. Snapshots opens with "Hostage Crisis" where we
are lulled in by deep, resonating drones that blare like war horns. The atmosphere
is similar to the stillness before a catastrophic event. Or to be more cliche, The
calm before the storm. Spoken samples of low conversations are heard but hard to
decipher. Low rolling static comes in slow rushing patterns and scraping movement
begins as additional electronics begin to buzz and hum. The initial drones are 
layered with similar but higher pitched versions of themselves...Lead instrumentation
of sorts...And then the vocals kick in. Rough grunts. No distortion. No effects. Just
pure, raw fury. A passionate and fierce commentary on everything that is wrong in one
man's eyes. Emotional and brutally honest. They are delivered with a rage that you'd
expect to hear from a Grindcore or Power Violence band. Soon an avalanche of dense
low-end noise surges and floods all in it's wake. The sound is immense. The energy
is electrified and coursing like a river of angst and bitterness. Not the harshest
thing you will hear but definitly powerful and relentless. By no means an easy listen.
In fact BLACK BLOC is known for challenging content. I have a BLACK BLOC patch on my
vest and this tape is a good reminder of why I wear it. By the time we reach the half-
way point it's an all out slaughter in slow motion. If any project could inspire you
to stand up, speak out and fight for change...It's this one. After some time spoken
samples are once again employed, This time they showcase an older woman attempting
to file a complaint and get some help for a simple matter only to be met by machines
and excuses. No service. No help. No compassion. A true testament to the state of the
world we live in.

SIDE B.)
WHAT NONE EVER WISH TO SEE 
(LIVE AT AVANT FAIRFAX FESTIVAL AT CANDLEHOUSE, 2011):
Side B gives us a glimpse at BLACK BLOC's live show. Although nothing will compare to
seeing an act like this in person, We can at least hear the energy and dedication that
goes into a live performance. If this recording is anywhere near what we can expect to
experience in the flesh, then it is definitly worth the price at the door. I really wish
I could have caught this act when Don was still playing gigs. It's not often that you get
to witness a Crust Punk performing some of the best P.E. around in the 2000's. In fact this
is the only project I know of where this would have been a possibility. "What None Ever Wish
To See" is an excellent companion piece to track one as it's similar. Long-form and full of
pain and emotion. Between sides A and B this little cassette shows all of what BLACK BLOC is
best known for. A perfect memorial to a project that will be surely missed. Again we open 
with intense and immense drones that fill the room with the sense that something devestating
is on the horizon. Metallic scraping mimicks crashing cymbols adding a percussive element.
Harsh vocals are spewed forth in tones of scorn and contempt. Throat shredding, sick rasps 
that make it sound like Don will be coughing up blood soon after his set. Secondary drones
rise and expand like hazzardous clouds of toxic gas set loose upon an unprepared audience.
You can feel the tension weighing heavy on the air as clashing metallic loops build and
harsh patterns arise and gain momentum. The track has all the force of a hectic tug of
war in progress. One where neither side can afford to lose. The crowd is silent throughout
the performance. No chatter, no bullshit. They're either awe-struck, terrified or both.
Grinding harsh noise movements roll in and lay all to waste...Like a giant wreck on a
busy freeway. Aural devestation with a no quarter attitude. When you are in BLACK BLOC's
house...You know it. Towaards the end it's a cacophonous mess but at the same time precise
and controlled. Chaotic, yet organized. There is a reason for the onslaught and a goal in
mind. One that will be realized at all costs.

I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE FITTING WAY TO MEMORIALIZE SUCH A GREAT PROJECT. 
CONTRIBUTIONS OF MEANINGFUL SUBSTANCE WERE GIVEN TO THE P.E. SCENE VIA
BLACK BLOC. THIS IS A PROJECT THAT WILL BE REMEMBERED AND MISSED:

8/10
-ABATTOIR-

actualize.the.collapse@gmail.com
www.facebook.com/black.bloc.DSPE


Traumatic Static Webzine would like to extend the best of wishes to Don. Wherever the future takes you we hope you are happy and at peace. We thank you for all you've done over the years. Your music will be enjoyed for many years to come and never forgotten.
Happy Trails.

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