Various Artists - HNW(vol 2) [Phage Tapes - 2009]This box of caustic joy 'n' wall making is a three c45 tape box set that features a tape an act from the following HNW projects: Infirmary, Slates & A View From Nhil- with each project offer up two long tracks of distinct wall building & noise thickness.
The three tapes come in a rather classy & professional looking long white vinyl case with screen printed art on the outside & inside. And on the first tape we have two sides of ‘walls’ from Peoria, Illinois based one-man project Infirmary with the first side being entitled ‘Doom’ & the second ‘Addiction’. Side one find’s you been attacked by a thick wall of punching & tight static tone which is underlined by a long distant rumbling drone pitch. It feels like you’re rapidly descending on a cable broken lift as the track just hammers & hammers into the side of your head & the floors shoot by. The track remains pretty fixed & unblinking in it’s sonic stance expect for little twists of static aggravation ever-so often on the end of the loops . All told it’s a nice fast moving & deadly falling ‘wall’ to open up the set.
Onto side two and we have another fast moving set of tones that almost have a speedy grindcore or death metal feel to them(but of course with lack of drums)- the main tone sort of feels like someone firing a thick jetted & scalding stream gun around the room; & this is underlined by a rolling & deep drone ‘n’ boil pitch. The main tone swings & suddenly fires out longer tones ever so often in a nice devastating manner. This track is certainly more active than the first track though it still does only move through about three or four tonality shifts ;through latter there’s a rather neat slight higher prodding( for want of a better word) pitched jittering tone that I keep getting hints of it the tracks guts. It’s an effective track that feels nicely moving & skin melting in it’s intent.
Onto tape two and we have two sides from Slates with on the first we have a piece called ‘Elwha’ & on side two a piece called ‘Glines Canyon’. Side one starts of out with a nice heavy & persistent hammering rainstorm tone which starts to curl out into longer engine like purrs & throttle like judders. As the track goes on the wall of sound starts to become more engine like in it’s feel as it rapidly judders & metallic vibrates along; with at times it having an almost very tight & nasty groove to the wall. Yet unlike someone like Ryan Bloomers juddering mechanical walls it never really breaks down & it keeps feeling pretty constant & thick in it’s intent, though in the last minute or so you can clearly define the tracks motorbike engine sounding origins.
Onto side two and the track opens in a similar hammering static rain feel as the first track, through it seems more spread out and fogged in its feel; there’s also this swinging & throbbing outer tone at the edger’s of the main down pour. As the track goes on another juddering engine type tone becomes present & more prominent; with this one sounding more like a chainsaw on purring & jittering low revs. This side has less groove edge & more bloody hammering feel about it, there’s also less evidence of the tracks untouched engine origins too. This was my first taste of Slates & I’ll have to say I really like the way they build engine like textures into their walls- so I'm looking forward to hear more stuff from them,
Lastly we move onto tape three & A View from Nihil’s two sides of tape; with a track called ‘Life Is Struggle, Nothing More’ on side one & a track entitled ‘With the beyond One Kills Life’. Side one open with a very harsh slow moving crashing discordant junk like tone that sparks-off in a feedback wince before crashing headlong into a thick, crushing & rushing wall of sound that feels like walking through a slowly turning massive cerement mixer. Underneath the main crashing thick soup of tones there is the odd serrated higher ripping & roaring of steel type tone; like a machine is ripping car doors & roofs off in the distance. Side two opens straight into a no-holds barred tearing wall of static storm tone which is under hinted by distant junk like clanging this last for a time before burning up into feed-back smarts, before stopping all together to shortly be replace by a new thick & grey wall like tone; this tone is a lot more constant unchanging & thick drill like in it’s intent though with-in a few mintues this fades out to be replaced by another more rapid roaring wall tone. The tracks ok and I like the idea of differnt walls been used; through sadly the walls that are used don’t really have that moorish & hypnotic feel that really pulls you in.
A very nice & classy looking box-set offering up three distinct takes on the HNW sound- not one for newbie’s to the genre, but those who are addicted and hooked on Harsh wall making this is a must have item.Roger Batty