Kuwahara - "Kandyheart Afghan"
[Waiting World Records]
Kuwahara present us with some noise/death industrial in a similar vein to Stratvm Terror, Megaptera, etc. The songs employ deep, hellish drones to provide the foundation for layers of noisey textures. Most of the songs are droning and plod along slowly, though beats present themselves occasionally. There are some cool tracks like "Order of Primitives", "Feeding Tube", and "Scum Class" that have a good, industrial-tinged, rotten sewage feel to them akin to Stratvm Terror. These pieces are dirty and atmospheric, certainly residing amongst the darkest catacombs of the ambient genre, without being overly abrasive. Despite the usual ultra repetitive nature of some death industrial, most these tracks move and shift quite a bit during their duration; there are many different sounds introduced and they don't feel repetitive or overly long. The production here is about as good as you can expect from a style that relies heavily on drones and noise, although the track volume seems to fluctuate from track to track. The only thing I really don't like about this album is that a number of songs contain seemingly random noises which seem out of place and/or annoying to the ear. On "B-33920" and "Meat Bubble" the drumbeats sound totally out of left field and don't fit with the atmosphere generated by the rest of the album. Although "Meat Bubble" sounds kind of like old demo VAC or some other rough, experimental trippy industrial of that time. If you like "heavy" ambient and stuff from Slaughter Productions and so forth, give this one a try.
[distopia] - "First Sequence"
[Hesperus Records / Species Productions / Kalpamantra]
First Sequence is a disappointing album. [distopia] has all the right ingredients, but seems unsure of the proper way to mix and distribute them to maximize the impact. There are a lot of really good ideas here: the cavernous drones, the distant howling and cranking of machines, the epic strings, the mechanical percussion, etc. There are a number of great elements which could be used to make some killer and much appreciated industrial ambient soundscapes. Unfortunately, [distopia] seems a bit confused as to what he is trying to make and ultimately fails to craft good songs. The problem is that these elements don't really mesh nor play off of each other. It is as if like he took a bunch of cool sounds and layered them spontaneously with little thought to the overall flow and structure of the piece. As it stands, these tracks feel overly disjointed and directionless. For example, take "Pins and Needles". It opens up as a dark cinematic piece with epic strings and sfx, bringing to mind to an old Dracula film or Castlevania or something. Sounds good so far, but then you begin to hear some disjointed sequencing. Suddenly, everything drops out with no transition whatsoever into nothing but a quiet, rustic piano that sounds like a totally different track. This continues on for a couple minute before introducing a pad which begins to build into what seems like another (yet unrelated) epic cinematic section, bringing you to anticipate that something is going to happen...but it never does, and the strings give way to yet another different pad sound, bringing with it a further inconsistent mood, while the same piano loops indefinitely. This guy absolutely has potential and I'd be interested in hearing future output, but he hasn't quite figured out the formula yet.