On paper, the pairing of doom metalheads Sun O))) and avant-garde singer Scott Walker could go either way. The two artists’ mutually exclusive eccentricities could either complement or cancel each other out—or, worse, get caught in the kind of pretension feedback loop that gave rise to Loutallica. When you venture as far off the reservation as Scott Walker does, the pitfalls are many, and it’s a fine line between genius and nonsense.
Fortunately, Soused, the unholy offspring of the Walker/Sun O))) union, is pretty much exactly what we’d hoped it would be: a drone metal opera, with Walker delivering ice-water arias over glacial guitars and frozen synths. The whole thing fairly vibrates with dread, especially when set to the ambiguous, Lynchian images of this short film by director Gisèle Vienne for opening track “Brando.”
Sometimes our readers remind me of my cat. They show up on my doorstep with the remnants of something gross and decaying in their jaws, but they do it as a love offering. I’m pretty sure it was in that spirit that reader XIC left a link to the Gnaw Their Tongues video below on our Submit a Band page.
Gnaw Their Tongues is a black metal/drone/noise project created by a guy named Mories who describes himself on his Bandcamp page as a “demon channeler.” After listening to “Destroying Is Creating” and a few other tracks, we think he may be telling the truth.
If you feel like diving deeper into Mories’ pit of despair, check out his website.
Ancient forces of evil be praised! Drone metal overlords Sunn O))) released a new two-track album this week on Southern Lord Records, and we just learned that the whole thing is streaming now on Bandcamp. I’m cranking it up with my morning glass of whiskey and beet juice (good for the skin) and it’s scratching my guitar feedback itch but good.
Here’s the second track, “Invisible/Sleeper,” which starts off with what I can only assume are the gibbering voices of the damned before the doom chords kick in and the whole thing hops a slow train to Droneytown. The Sunn O))) guys recommend: “MAXIMUM VOLUME YIELDS MAXIMUM RESULTS.” They would not steer you wrong.
In our dystopian future, when the machines take over and we humans are forced to live in abandoned subway tunnels, our new cyborg overlords are gonna have massive raves in ruined sports arenas, where they’ll blast Author & Punisher out of speaker stacks mounted atop piles of human skulls. This is ambient/industrial drone metal for Terminators, played on machines that appear to be just a few microchips away from bidding us “Hasta la vista, baby” and cranking the bass up till our internal organs turn to jelly.
Under his Author & Punisher nom de drone, Tristan Shone records and performs music made entirely on homemade instruments that look like a steampunk fusion of exercise equipment and a B-movie mad scientist’s lab. Percussion emanates from a massive side-mounted piston made of cranks and tank treads; vocals echo forth from gas masks and lunatic asylum neck restraints. Even an otherwise traditional set of keyboards gets mounted to a Tim Burtonesque set of pipes and levers that Shone maneuvers into place with the grim yet frantic determination of an axe murderer trying to drag a body down the basement stairs. It’s sort of like watching the Willy Wonka of industrial music; every song reveals a new mind-boggling toy, an Everlasting Gobstopper of skin-crawling noise and organ-liquefying bass.
At first it all seems a bit gimmicky, but there’s a raw, visceral quality to Shone’s music that transcends the machinery. He’s especially compelling at coming up with cool new ways to manipulate his voice. At one point, he appeared to be just throwing his head back and making angry faces while twisting the knobs of a handheld device that emitted a series of guttural roars; then it became clear that the device was attached to some kind of microphone or vibration sensor strapped to his throat, and those guttural roars were coming from him. At the end of the song, he thanked the whooping crowd, except it came out sounding more like a caveman grunt: “Hhhunku.” High-tech machinery aside, the components of Shone’s music are primitive: grinding drones, pounding beats, an anguished human voice.
We saw Author & Punisher this past Sunday night at the Echoplex here in Los Angeles. To see the rest of his January tour dates, click here.
It can’t be easy for Author & Punisher‘s Tristan Shone to haul his massive “doom machine” instruments all over the country. But he’s doing it again next month, and once again he’s mostly doing it as an opening act for former Pantera lead singer Philip H. Anselmo, who clearly knows a badass opening act when he sees one.
Before Shone joins Anselmo’s aptly named “Technicians of Distortion Tour ’14,” he’ll be playing a couple of shows here in SoCal opening for metal/industrial collective Corrections House. Jake and I plan to hit up the Jan. 5th show here in L.A., so stay tuned for a full review of all the Author & Punisher insanity.
Tristan Shone and his “Doom Machines” have been keeping busy. The man and the contraptions that make up the industrial/drone act Author & Punisher have just gotten back from a European tour and already they’re gearing up for the release of the fifth A&P album, Women & Children, which arrives June 11th via Seventh Rule. Shone describes his latest as “a sullen voyage from the beginning to the end of time, from primordial bliss to devastating chaos.” Based on the tracks we’ve heard so far, we’re guessing there’s more chaos than bliss.
As if all that weren’t enough, Shone and his machine menagerie will be going back on the road this August, opening for Phil Anselmo of freakin’ Pantera. Oh, sorry, that’s Philip H. Anselmo, who’s debuting his new solo gig, Philip H. Anselmo and the Illegals. Not sure why he’s suddenly gotten all formal with the name, but the music is pure thrashy goodness.
Right now, you can hear two tracks from Women & Children: one debuted, randomly, on NPR Music, and the other is available via Soundcloud. Both sound fucking epic. These machines kills fascists and anyone else who happens to be in the way.
Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals, Warbeast, Author & Punisher tour dates:
07/31 – Tulsa, Okla. @ Cain’s Ballroom
08/02 – De Moines, Iowa @ Wooly’s
08/03 – Minneapolis, Minn. @ First Avenue
08/04 – Chicago, Ill. @ House of Blues
08/06 – Cleveland, Ohio @ House of Blues
08/07 – Grand Rapids, Mich. @ The Intersection
08/09 – Royal Oak, Mich. @ Royal Oak Music Theater
08/10 – Toronto, Quebec @ Danforth Music Hall
08/11 – Montreal, Quebec @ Heavy MTL Festival
08/13 – Worcester, Mass. @ The Palladium
08/14 – Clifton Park, N.Y. @ Upstate Concert Hall
08/16 – New York, N.Y. @ Best Buy Theater
08/17 – Philadelphia, Pa. @ Union Station
08/18 – Silver Springs, Md. @ the Fillmore
08/20 – Atlanta, Ga. @ The Masquerade
The doom-metal “Drone Machines” of Tristan Shone’s Author and Punisher don’t really make us think of fairytales—but apparently they had that effect on Diego Buongiorno, an Italian musician/composer who’s made the ominous sounds of A&P part of his ambitious multimedia project, The Bush. Described by Buongiorno as “a new kind of work created by the author’s desire to promote the return of magic,” The Bush features contributions from over 60 different musicians, photographers, visual artists, designers and video directors, and will eventually encompass everything from a soundtrack album to picture and audio books, a “surrealistic film,” live performances, gallery exhibitions and who knows what else. You can read more about the whole crazy thing here.
Although The Bush seems to still be a work-in-progress, Buongiorno did release its first major component this past December: a 25-track album featuring contributions from several guest artists, including our man Tristan and his experimental Drone Machines. He’s also released several short videos, including the one below showing Shone at work in his studio on his two Bush tracks, “Intro” and “It Really Could Happen.” We’re guessing the “It” in this case refers to some part of the fairytale where really, really bad shit goes down.