Monday, 21 April 2008

VAIN Review in Vital Weekly # 621

VAIN has been reviewed in Vital Weekly # 621. It reads:

MENACE RUINE - CULT OF RUINS (CD by Alien8 Recordings)
When I approximately 20 years ago got hold of the extreme metal-compilation "Grindcrusher (Earache records, 1989), I was especially fascinated by a certain track titled "Colostomy Grab-Bag" from a band calling themselves O.L.D. (a.k.a. Old Lady Drivers). The band's approach to the Grindcore-style was quite unusual with some weird high-pitched screaming vocals and complex rhythmic structures. As I purchased their equally impressive debut-album "Old lady Drivers", the name "James Plotkin" for the first time hit my mind. Since then that name has returned back to me in connection with a large number of interesting projects throughout the years. Flirting with both the electronic ambient-spheres and the metal-based expressions this guy knows how to melt down the borders between the two quite opposite sonic worlds. James Plotkin is the producer of this present release from the, always exciting Canadian label Alien8 Recordings. The project calling itself Menace Ruine has its roots in the
northern parts of Canada. Somehow there must be a link between icy temperatures and frostbitten black metal. Equally to the extreme metal colleagues from the homeland of black metal, the freezing Norway, Menace Ruins creates atmospheres of cynic brutality. With the sound production accomplished by James Plotkin, Menace Ruine pulls the harshness of black metal into the world of electronic ambience. The result is seven tracks of apocalypse that simply kick an impression into the listener. From the relatively controllable opening tracks "Process" and "The sky as a reversed abyss", consisting of black metal rhythms, soundscapes of electronic ambience to the completely apocalyptic terrorism of "They who enter caves" that manage to compete with maestros of black metal brutalism, Norwegian Immortal, though with the addition of evil bursts of the electronic equipment in the case of Meca Ruin. Buzzing and dark drones of electronic noise push the hyper-fast beat-blasts and screaming vocals of
pure wrath to the extremes of expression - my absolute favourite track on the album! On the track titled "Bonded by wyrd" Menace Ruine catches an almost melodic pace with some nice guitar work combined with almost ritual vocals. The end of this certain track has a quite interesting development into Industrial Ambience reminding me of the "Inde$troy" (Manic Ears Records, 1989) from Saw Throat (a.k.a. Sore Throat). With James Plotkin as a producer and with Alien8 Recordings as the open-minded yet quality conscious label, "Cult of Ruins" can only succeed and hell it does!
If Menace Ruine had a balance of 70% black metal and 30% ambient noise, Split-album between US-project Jesus Of Nazareth and Danish project Kusari Gama Kill titled "Vain" has the opposite balance with more focus on Noise but still with a heavy weight on Grindcore expressions. The album is released by the Spanish label R.O.N.F. Records that focuses on extreme expressions of grinding metal as well as of harsh noise. And the expression certainly is extreme on this split-album. "Jesus of Nazareth" opens the jolly show with ten blasting bombers based of hyper-fast drum machines, processed voices and other samples from among others Jap-noise artist Masonna. Despite the hyper-activity of the drum machines the rhythmic texture gives a great solid ground to the nine works of Jesus Of Nazareth. There are lots of interesting interventions in the noisy spheres with among others samples of early Saloon Music mixed up with almost melodic soundscapes on the track titled "Life was perfect". In other
moments the expressions reminds of John Zorn's Naked City-project thanks to the furious mixture of grindcore, jazzy drum patterns and noise. As Kusari Gama Kill hits the stage the poor listener is completely wiped out by the nasty growling of Janus Blomfrø meanwhile his collaborator Martin Weile demolish any sign of silence with his cynic mistreatments of electronic equipment. As was the case with Jesus Of Nazareth, Kusari Gama Kill uses ultra-fast machine-drumming as a nice underground layer to the symphonies of sickness. Two excellent albums from two different labels revealing the fact that the difference between electronic expressions and extreme metal can easily be melted down - with a quite nasty result!
Anyone interested in Noise created by drum machines should also check out the "Drummachinegun" released by Relapse Records in 2006. (NM)

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