Full Length, Equation Records
Genre: Noise/Industrial/Death Industrial/Power Electronics
Time to review and share a genre I'm not very familiar with but have an increasing interest in. Take my opinions with a grain of salt even more so here as I have a very small frame of reference for this style. This is a two-in-one review of cult noise sorcerer Blue Sabbath Black Cheer's new material from a live show on a 12" LP and a dedication on a 7" EP. The bundle came with these two as well as a bonus CD of unreleased material (and much more) which I will put up after this post separately sometime soon.
The focus here is primarily on the 12".
My first exposure to Blue Sabbath Black Cheer was actually a late one, that being his split with Victoria, BC's death industrial act Griefer and while both sides of the split are excellent it was BSBC's side that blew me away. Since then I've heard the Endless Blockade and a few others but not in heavy rotation; I suspect this will change.
This LP contains a 20 minute session performed live last Halloween. From the very few noise acts I've seen live it seems that while the recordings are always harrowing and cold, the performance has been something even more powerful if done right. Griefer's set when I saw it summer 2011 was stunning, even more so than his "Brute Force" album (which is marvelous), and much like his BSBC's live sets obviously bring the already oppressive undulating wall of catastrophic noise to another level. This record is evidence of that.
I would imagine it is a little more difficult to bring the atmosphere of such a style performed live and set it to physical form than it is with others, but I'd say it was absolutely done right with this one. You can barely tell it was a live ritual. It's crystal clear, and the atmosphere is thick.
The track is unsettling right from the start with deafening crashes of I would guess is a cymbal or gong with a slow, rising bass hum between the echoes. The slow start will fool you into believing this will be an ambient journey but you'll soon realize it's the complete opposite.
It feels like it was performed in some primeval sunken chamber or dungeon. It's such a slow and eerie build, with what sounds like an approaching storm or avalanche; the faint howling of wind, rumbling and eventually a prolonged moan or roar. There's something I really admire about his style of noise and that is it's literally creepy how the atmosphere expands so gradually, growing so loud at points it's nightmarish.
When vocals do emerge they're absolutely inhuman, you would absolutely believe this was some kind of paranormal or demonic entity. They take over from the halfway point onward and spike in and out, pained and heavily distorted, from the cycling, reverberating cymbals and cataclysmic crackling quakes.
At this point if you haven't shit your pants and passed out you feel like climbing out of your own skin to escape the hellish, harsh onslaught of sonic death. But it just keeps coming, growing more disturbing as horn-like noises shift pitch and drone in intimidating fashion. The sounds of possession collapse onward until they die suddenly, and all that remains is the sudden, startling smashes heard in the opening.
This record is terrifying. A soundtrack to the apocalypse. Best enjoyed in the dark with a good set of headphones. Do not listen if you have a weak heart.
After a taste of the main course, we move now to a short desert in the form of a 7" titled Destruction Dedicated To The Cherry Point which is "inspired and dedicated to The Cherry Point", another harsh noise artist (one I have not heard). It is immediately obvious that this is a far different creature than the LP, presenting a thick, muffled wall of harsh noise that drones for it's entire length, almost never wavering from this pattern. It's simple, direct and very short, and there's not much I can even say about it — I feel far more out of my comfort zone with this than the 12".
Despite the fact I'm far from a noise enthusiast at this point in my listening habits I know when I hear something great, and I can absolutely say that the LP is totally worth checking out and definitely worth buying; especially if you want to to be horrified in the most pleasurable manner possible. It has encouraged me to seek out more of BSBC's work. The EP while much more simple is an added bonus with all the other goodies that come with the full record. If you want this excellent package of merch and sounds you can storm Equation Records (or Aquarius Records) to get a copy. It comes with a bunch of excellent Blue Sabbath Black Cheer swag (all listed on their site).They're limited to 235 copies so act fast.
The Boundary Between The Living And The Deceased Dissolved 12" LP:
Destruction Dedicated To The Cherry Point 7" EP: