(Allen Griffin brings us short reviews of three new Power Electronics releases, from Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries, Whorid, and Nekrasov.)
For all the counter-culture caché one might attribute to their particular niche in some extreme music sub-genre, nothing tends to be as purely off-putting and anti-social as Power Electronics. The bastard offspring of Extreme Metal’s sonic palette and Free Jazz/Improv’s penchant for free-form chaos, Power Electronics attempts to pry open the deepest recesses of humanity’s psyche with waves of pure noise.
Over the course of the genre’s development, the sound has evolved from pure blankets of static and feedback, to a more complex and detailed approach, well illustrated by this trio of recent and upcoming releases.
TEN THOUSAND MILES OF ARTERIES
First up is the first official debut album of Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries entitled Even Spilled Seed Crawls Toward the Womb. Scheduled for release by the label Annihilvs Power Electronix on February 16, this is a concept album based on the last living woman on earth who goes on a journey seeking her own death.
The emphasis in this release is definitely on the vocals — harsh and distorted screams over desolate and repetitive rhythms. The vibe certainly revels in visions of a post-apocalyptic wasteland, bloodstorms in harsh deserts, and so on. Drones and noise certainly play an important role in the sonic architecture of the release, but despite the fact that the lyrics are indecipherable, the voice provides the narrative thrust on this last journey of humanity’s existence.
Also out on Annihilvs Power Electronix (with a release date of February 14), the latest and most mature release from noise monstrosity Whorid takes the listener through the dark underbelly of humanity’s obsessions. Themes of stalking, murder, and BDSM among other pleasantries inform the appropriately titled Bloated Pig Carcass In A Shallow Wake.
While utilizing a similar sonic toolbox as Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries, Whorid often places the emphasis in different places, making this not only an excellent release but also a great complementary listening experience to their label mate. Where Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries is all about vocals and rhythms, Whorid pushes those elements back in the mix and lets the harsh noise occupy center stage. That’s not to say that those elements are absent, but just when you lock onto their presence, they are often engulfed in a wave of awe-inspiring harshness.
Finally, veteran act Nekrasov is set to release a sixth full-length, Negative Temple. Nekrasov has always produced a hybrid of Power Electronics and Black Metal, and this latest album is no different.
The opening track is nothing short of an epic ten-minute Industrialized noise dirge that would sit quite comfortably amongst the music of the aforementioned acts. But the second piece, “Seeing the Mountain Covered in Spirits”, pushes the Black Metal to the forefront.
Yet, in Nekrasov’s case, this is Black Metal reimagined. Not the tamed and domesticated sound possessed by so many bands today, not just another cool Extreme Metal sub-genre, but instead, an alternative history where Black Metal dives deeper into its most challenging tendencies and embraces what philosopher Nick Land would term the “Radical Outside”. Here, misanthropy is not enough, seeing as how hating mankind would still be assigning it some sort of significance. This isn’t inhumanity, this is Unhumanity, the universe existing without us.
Throughout Negative Temple, Nekrasov continues to orbit between the two poles of Power Electronics and Black Metal, but the singular focus on otherworldliness remains consistent, and while the experience is challenging to the utmost, it is also ultimately rewarding.
These releases are not for the complacent or squeamish, but speak to the few who seek to push themselves that much further into the possibilities of sonic harshness. This is music abstracted to the point of total collapse, but also that seems to capture the savagery of our modern world. The more civilization crumbles around us, the more we begin to glimpse the malignant and cold universe encroaching from every direction.