AN NCS EP PREMIERE (AND A REVIEW): DEATHNOISEFREQUENCY — “HORRID DIRGE”
Straight out of Saudi Arabia comes Deathnoisefrequency. That’s right, Saudi Arabia, not the easiest platform from which to launch a new musical project, and perhaps especially not one named Deathnoisefrequency. But that’s what the duo of Ghassan Al Fudail and Ahmed Mahmoud have done. Both of them have also been bandmates in a Saudi doom/death metal project named Grieving Age, but here they’ve turned in a different direction, one that’s described as “a limitless musical experiment with an all-encompassing creepy, dark and depressive atmosphere where noise and death metal are smashed together with reckless abandon”.
In 2016 Deathnoisefrequency released a single but have now re-surfaced with a debut, two-track EP named Horrid Dirge — which itself is merely a part of a forthcoming LP projected for release by the end of this year. Today is the EP’s official release date, and to help spread the word we’re premiering a full stream of the sounds.
Of this new release, the duo have said: “The EP is paving the path for the total noise journey that’s about to come to the end of this year, it’s putting the foundations of Deathnoisefrequency sound and character, the contradiction of ugliness and hidden beauty within, the hammering noise and the peace within. Hope everyone enjoys this short EP, the trip is yet to start!”
Both tracks are denominated with chapter headings that seem to begin in mid-stream of a longer work. True to its name, “Chapter III The Mortician’s Lamenting Dirge” is indeed a gloom-stricken dirge, but one that’s hallucinatory. Anchored by a measured, head-moving bass-and-drum rhythm, the song engulfs the senses in a dense miasma of gleaming yet tension-filed noise, a kind of wondrous torment through which strange twittering tones flicker like phosphorescent birds and other bursts of abrasion crack through and disappear. It’s an eerie yet mesmerizing experience.
When the volume and intensity of the music recedes, somber gothic vocals enunciate the lyrics in a cross between a song and a chant, and, when the voice soars it proves to be as spine-tingling and as unnerving as everything else. The music climbs and swells in a display of uneasy, hallucinogenic majesty, capped by a slow guitar lament and by harsh, harrowing vocals.
The next track, “Chapter IIII Horrid Choir“, is also dreamlike, wondrous, immersive, and entrancing, just as head-nodding in its rhythm — and just as chilling. It includes a collage of sounds, including seductive and searing trumpet tones, and the vocals take a different turn — they sound like the bitter, larynx-abrading yells and wild wails of a mad prophet. Those vocals, which are intense to begin with, become even more unnerving in their intensity as deep undulating tones move through the music like a great python. The music shimmers and shivers, and then devolves into a gibbering electronic madhouse.
Horrid Dirge is recommended for fans of Anathema, Triptykon, and Melvins. It was mixed and mastered by Victor Santura, and the strange, attention-seizing artwork was created by Justell Vonk. Ghassan Al Fudail was responsible for all guitars, feedbacks, reverbs, and echoes, while Ahmed Mahmoud handled all vocals and lyrics. Session musicians on the record included Diya Azzony (keys, recording, effects, and bass) and Sarah Belle Reid (additional keys, trumpet, and noise effects).
The EP is available for download now.