Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Author & Punisher : Ursus Americanus
This is an album that did not make my best of list as I spend the bulk of the second half of 2012 trying to hunt it down. I first came across the video of this one man band preforming the song "Terror bird " which opens the album, If you have yet to see what this looks like and how enthralling this technological freak show of wonderment is , well take a look below as the how it is done is almost just as important in what this project is about as half the instruments he fashioned himself.
Industrial music these days is like fodder for neon dread locked trust fund kids who are more concerned with shaving their eye brows to care about the kind of music they are listening most of which is industrial in name only and really overblown edm. Author & Punisher is going to be the most oppressive and real industrial you have heard since the 90's . the most original ...no as Godflesh has certainly touched on this landscape before sonic ally, perhaps its execution it might be. this is why that factors into the experience so strongly.
Tristan Shore who graces his album cover doesn't look like someone who would be listening to this sort of music much less making. It looks like a clean cut every man from California. Not that I need him to be steam punked out though welding goggles seem appropriate and as interesting as this is to witness I could do with seeing him less in the projects presentation.
"Terror bird" This song stomps over a dark urban landscape with all the subtlety of Mecha Godzilla, the percussive elements pound like the roll of a tank. The vocals are unintelligible and heavily effected.They work as more of another level of distortion and like a lot of death metal have more of a rhythmic accent as no real notes are sung. The gears of war grind and grunt into motion. This is also the albums strongest track.
More ambiance creeps in here, the vibration of synths and the fact there is more space left open in this song. Shore's distorted roar falls somewhere inbetween Wayne Static and Al Jorgenson, it's a minimal one word chant of the songs title "Lonely". On this song it struck me more daring fans of dub step might like this as it uses odd times for the beat to drop, which is more of a crash landing than an 808 thump.
"Mercy dub" is a noise filler piece I'll skip over as its not real song and I'm not factoring it in when I score the album anyway so it takes us to " Set Flames" a more plodding piece of apocalypse for the ears.It takes it's time pulsing to life, through the crash of robotic heart beat.At ten minutes this does have a dynamic ebb and flow though when I looked at my iPod to see the first seven and a half minutes had passed without a lot happening. In the songs third act garbled vocals emerge from the inorganic ooze. Overall this song strikes me more of a soundtrack rather than song though the chant in the back ground almost has the quality of wining but it echoes too far away in the distance.
The beat of " Flesh Ants" takes on a shift in syncopation, even if from its offset there aren't many new elements being introduced. It takes on almost a doomy pulse, there is a glitch like quality through out . The vocals if that is what I'm hearing on this are buried beneath the thuds and clunks.
" Below and Above you" takes a much different shift and it's what the albums needed. The overall sound of the synth strings and sung vocals is muffled and twisted around in transmission. The tempo almost is trip hop here. The buzz of distortion slides under neath the hesitant click of the lethargic beat. This album is well produced all of the sounds cut though unless they are meant to capture another dynamic but I think whatever the case they accomplish what they are aiming for if something doesn't seem to hit the ears rig it sbecause it's meant to be abrasive and off putting.
"Ill consuming" closes album with a slower grind than the album began with but remains consistent with what Shore does. Sure theres repitiition like an military drill, but it's part and parcel with what he is trying to achieve , when the last song collapses in on it's self into a minimal vibration , it works and the vocals which come back into differ for the delivery found earlier on the album , a similar take to what Wreck and Reference does but not as melodic or focused on traditional song structure or songs in. General , the heavy build back on this one is effective.
The thing I had to wrestle with in scoring this one was, while. The album is powerful and sounds great it's a collage of great crushing dark sounds but there is not any real song writing, I think they introduction more sounds rather than hitting us with the entire battle field at once ,ight have been wise for pacing, but Shore powers through the albums problem areas in the structural components and it's. A success at what it sets out to be so I'll give it an 8.5.