Cassette Assault – Metal and Noise

Get your guns, get your gurls, or mens, and prepare, for a….cassette assault!  If you’re new around here, this is when we check out a series of four different cassettes in the same review.  Sometimes from the same label, maybe the same band, but this time we’re doing a set of tapes from four different labels involving four different bands, but two styles of music, generally speaking: metal and noise.  We’ve gotten a lot of tapes in recently, and its time to pull out that Magnavox and blast this plastic in stereo so we can get these bands some press!


Myopic – Beyond the Mirror’s Edge

Yeah, mm hmm, Grimoire Records right here, enough said right there unless you’ve never heard of them.  No?  Here you go, it’s an awesome label that releases in a variety of formats, including cassette, clearly.  They also send stickers all the time so that’s a bonus point towards answering “will Deaf Sparrow review this?”  If there are stickers, yes, we will.  Myopic is a three-piece post-black metal outfit from out of the Maryland/DC area that we’ve heard before, just never reviewed until now.  Oops.  Beyond the Mirror’s Edge is like a crack in the pavement you misjudge.  You trod along the beaten path of black metal, and there it is, and we’ll just step over that…oh, damn, well that’s broken now.  Thus the reason for our ‘oops’ a few sentences ago.  Myopic unleash a frenzy of riff slashes here, all up and down your arm, as their passionate vocal delivery urges you to stay alive for at least one more day, at the same time.  It’s not worth it man, don’t do it, you have something to live for because Myopic exists, somewhere out  there.  There’s an interesting interplay of jazz, doom, and experimental elements in this plastic beauty, but so flawlessly incorporated into all that is Beyond the Mirror’s Edge you’ll never notice them as separate things, so to speak.   Another nicety is the bass, which is surprisingly clear and inventive, not satisfied with merely following the rest and adding that beef you’re never really sure is there.  Just check out that sick bass lead on the last track, “Lord of Damnation”.  Myopic almost has a clever, if not deceptively evil way of playing too.  It has a few moments of lost focus like a pilot ace running on empty who seems like he’s about to take a dive into the sea, but the sheer adrenaline of it keeps it running on empty until it’s an explosion of flames right into your ship and you understand your mistake.  Myopic Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5


Church Slut / Naked Pyramid – Split C45

Sometimes the underground is just way too underground.  Like, something of this nature is under the bedrock.  In a time when searching for a single word can net you thousands of pictures and links, it’s absolutely ridiculous for any band to not have some sort of basic promotional mechanism somewhere out there for the love of God.  We received a few different splits involving Church Slut, and this is the first we looked at, but other than the actual music we know actually nothing about the band save the fellow’s name, Brian Harvey.  In addition, we couldn’t find a single track of the Church Slut side of this split, so you have to just take our word for it, which is golden anyway, so, you know, don’t worry.  So this C45, let’s talk about it finally.  This one is straight up noise, but unfortunately it’s also straight up typical.  Church Slut opens with a single-note keyboard rumble that goes on forever and eventually develops into fuller patterns, but relies heavily on the minimalist approach, that, as you’d expect and receive, requires screaming to make any headway.  Even then, however, it’s walking seven-foot tall under a two-foot ceiling.  The majority of what Church Slut provides is about as superficial as its namesake.  If we never hear another pedal knob turned up and down, we’ll consider our lives complete.  Naked Pyramid is really the money on this one, all chips in.  But the winnings barely break you even and there isn’t much else to say.  Naked Pyramid is the preferred side, only because he (John Gutschall) has more substance to his work, not to mention they’re the only tracks we could let you hear, but they’re nothing to get your noise undies in a tangle over, there’s better to be found.  It’s only just enough to save this one from dipping down into the realm of hate mail.  Score: 3 / 5


american – Coping With Loss

Well, my, where in the hell have these guys been all my life?  These guys live somewhere close to the Deaf Sparrow offices (let’s see if you believe that last part), and they play absolutely filthy black metal of the sludge.  Noisey as all hell, hellish as all noise.  Once “Ritual Suicide” begins you’re not even sure if you have the strength to make it.  That depressing, cavernous acoustic echo, that scream, that blast of frozen hatred, you are forever frozen in stone.  american [sic] tosses pill after pill of riffs down your throat as you fill your stomach to suicidal levels of engorged.  Coping With Loss?  More like coping with true American black metal.  Hmm, is this perhaps why they are called american [sic]?  Probably.  This tape is one of those reasons why the entire cassette industry still exists.  If the industry ever died, just release this again and it will be reborn.  The amount of disgusting darkness these two guys create is the end-all to most of the stuff we receive of this variety.  They occasionally dip into noise territory, their strings snapping into pieces as they still somehow manage to pull sound out of them, the drums pounding the speakers until they’re devoured by dry rot.   At times some of the guitar-focused sections even tug at your heartstrings and promptly cut them in the middle, snapping you back into yourself and hating everything, such as you find midway through “Lamb to the Slaughter”.  These guys completely pound every sense of “the cool” you had before listening into rubble and rearrange it into a cold, cold idol.  The only bummer about it is brief; a short sample opening track two that sounds like Stephen Hawking, but that “ummm” moment is quickly destroyed, thankfully.  Other than that, the last track, which is primarily experimental noise in nature, is a bit too long for its own good, but for the kind of music it is, though obviously different than the rest of Coping With Loss, it’s definitely finely crafted, if not merely out of place in this context.  Anyway, support the tape market and buy this from Sentient Ruin, duh.  american Official Facebook  Score: 4.5 / 5


Ur – clandestine meeting park

And to finish it off we have this beauty from No Visible Scars, who actually sent us a batch of tapes we covered in a previous Cassette Assault feature.  Always dig this guy’s releases.  This one comes in splendid, clear, yellow plastic in a plastic bag with DVD-sized inserts, which is fitting for the image of the crumbling earth-covered bag that makes up the cover, which is supposed to be reminiscent of old skin.  In fact, this release evokes something horrifying, and it’s verified when you look inside and listen to it.  What?  Well, let’s just say this is the soundtrack to digging up bodies at a crime scene in the middle of a desert.  Thus, get ready to meditate on the greater things like emptiness, suffering, death, and the futility of all life.  Let it all burn.  clandestine meeting park is two very long tracks to make you break down in angst.  Ur, the creatures behind this, are a three-piece collaboration from Italy, and they clearly know what they’re doing.  We’ve heard improv noise-type stuff before, but the majority of it sounds like noise qua noise instead of noise qua music.  Ur, yeah, they’re the latter.  The levels of structure here are intense.  In the first track, for example, you’re treated to hollow shuddering from metal drums (most likely), with eerie fluctuations of unknown origin, both over top of a huge variety of sounds.  One reviewer said of this it sounds like “early Pink Floyd on muriatic acid,” but that’s rather a pathetic analogy.  Nothing better in your bag of tricks, duder?  Seriously, you know, think about it, hydrochloric acid destroys everything it touches, so, yeah, that means nothing would be left so your phrase is meaningless.  Better to say Ur, in clandestine meeting park, sound like an endless funeral procession on the way to its own grave recorded on reel-to-reel and then allowed to mutate in the sun for awhile, finally recorded and placed onto wonderful cassette for you.  There’s a wealth of proper noise and experimentation here, excellent stuff.  Score: 5 / 5


Written by Stanley Stepanic