Utarm / Crown of Bone - Split MC
This installment in Crucial Blast's Infernal Machines series of limited-edition cassettes features two of our favorite bands in the current black noise/experimental black industrial underground, teaming up for this full-length album of corroded aural horror. With more hateful black noise from Crown Of Bone on one side and new nightmarish pandemonium from Norwegian necro-weirdo Utarm on the other, this stands as one of our most monstrous cassette releases so far, with cover artwork created by Mories (Gnaw Their Tongues / Aderlating), issued in an edition of two hundred copies on professionally manufactured tape.
I've been a fan of Utarm's strange, experimental brand of blackened noise-doom and blown-out black industrial since hearing the 2009 album Minus The Divine, and Utarm's more recent works on labels like Handmade Birds have featured even more idiosyncratic noise-drenched heaviness that really defies categorization. On this split, Utarm brings us two songs of that low-fi, heavily layered black murk, beginning with the filthy droning effluvium of "Reversed Revelation In The Third Dead Eye", a veil of staticky black hiss unfolding into broken-down music box melodies and fractured pieces of piano, building into a strange ghostly noisescape with howling blackened shrieks and psychotic moaning that worm their way through the gales of distortion and fuzz. The whole recording seems to be breaking down as you're listening to it, the creepy minor key guitar that pops up seeming to go out of tune as soon as it appears, streaks of melted, decomposing melody running down the curtains of murk and grime, all with that super blown-out intensity that is part of Utarm's signature sound. Its a gorgeous, hallucinatory slab of noisy grave-worship that resembles some incredibly stirring melodic black metal stripped down to just the guitars and tossed into a storm of malfunctioning amplifiers, horror-flick electronic organs, and harsh, Merzbowian distortion. The other song on here ("Restructuring The World With Dead Flesh & Razors") is an epic doom-laden riff climbing over more of that murky, psychedelic detritus, distorted and massively delay-drenched guitarshred winding around the monstrous shrieks and strange, blown synthesizers, a kind of black psychedelic din that towards the end begins to resemble a Sigur Ros song being pushed into the red and drenched in corrosive blackness, before finally erupting into an evil, blasted dirge at the end.
Since forming just over a year ago, Crown Of Bone has exploded onto the black noise underground with a rapidly expanding catalog of splits, all of which I've found to be indispensable. This project comes from a former member of black noise outfit Demonologists, and you can definitely hear the connection when listening to CoB's extreme violent electronics, while also pushing this monstrous harsh noise into even more bestial levels of frenzy. Crown of Bone assaults the listener with relentless, largely unmoving walls of crushing distorted black static on the tracks "Nazareth Impaled" and "Cathedrals Of Rot", both very much situated in the HNW vein of artists like Vomir and The Cherry Point but with a hateful, blackened vibe. If you've heard other recent Crown Of Bone offerings, you know what to expect: walls of brutally abrasive static and dense, low-end churn infested with bestial vocal vomit and guttural death-howls, artifacts of malevolent black metal-esque melody and fragments of minor key creepiness that surface through the roaring inferno, abrupt shifts between frequencies that batter you with roaring low-end amplifier-churn before suddenly exploding into blasting trebly feedback, with the occasional break in the noise-assault where the noise drops out, leaving just a minimal layer of crackling static possessed with ghastly murmurings and exhalations of monstrous black breath, or short stretches of strange, ritualistic percussion and ominous ambience. A vicious, suffocating blast of extreme electronic filth.