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Various Artists - Heavy Focus [Phage Tapes/Small Doses - 2010]

This two disc compilation was put together to fund & celebrate Heavy Focus III- the noise/ extreme experimental music festival that’s going on over this coming weekend(23rd & 24th of April) in Minneapolis. The two discs offer-up mainly excusive tracks from 22 of the artists performing at fest and there’s a lot of sonic & noise bound ground covered here we go from: Harsh Noise Wall, to Junk metal noise, through to churning psychedelic power electronics, onto aggressive & jarring electro beat scapes, through to sour & blacked dark drone matter, onto seared & ear burning harsh noise making & beyond.

The two discs come in a small  light brown card folder with two colour screen printed artwork, which is simply but highly effective. Disc one is entitled heavy & deals more with the extreme & more noise bound side of the fest with names like: Werewolf Jerusalem, Grain Belt, Climax Denial, Being,Wilt ect. And disc two is entitled focus and this deals again with mainly fairly extreme stuff but there’s more atmospheric & caustic ambient feel to quite a few tracks here & we have featured on this disc tracks from the likes of Envenomist, Teeth Collection, Cock ESP,Locrain ect. Each discs tracks are fairly short & concise(for Noise based music) and fall between the seven minute & one minute mark a piece, with each disc having a nice & flowing enjoyable arc to it & being consistent, rewarding & worthwhile through-out.

A few of my present favouritefrom disc one come the form of: the opening metal pummelling, rapid drum attack &  playful yet violent junk improv meets vocal bay & bark of Squid Fist’s ‘Hall Mall’. The ripping & violently billowing storm tone dwelling of Being’s ‘Take off’. Grain Belt’s ‘Devil’s Whip’ with it’s brooding & stuck bass throbbing industrial openings that crack-out into highly nasty yet controlled junk metal lined noise attack. The swirling ,dank and oppressive dark synth drone hypnotics of  Wilts ‘Bodies falling Away’ which keeps hinting it might sudden go all ouy noise bound, but never does & instead stays very brooding & trance inducing.

Onto disc two and my current favourites here are: The ritual gong, eerier wind blown electronics & twanging eastern strings ominous spaceiness of Juhyo’s ‘The Buired Session’. Onto  the machete hacking & obscenely muffled power electronics sour chopping of Cock Esp’s ‘ Sliced Cuntz’. through to  the furnace roaring & billowing thick smoked blackness of Infamy’s ‘Close The gates’ and it’s short sharp HNW attack that ends nicely with malevolent & swirling dark ambient ritual tone edginess.

Really there’s much to enjoy & investigate where ever you drop down on these two discs as the quality & the sequencing of the tracks is top notch & highly effective through-out. Certainly one of the better extreme & experimental music compilations your likely to come across this year & with this line-up the festival is going to be truly breath taking…so if your in the area of Minneapolis this weekend I say the Heavy Focus fest is a must & if your too far way & can’t make it pick up this double disc set and see what you missed out on!.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Roger Batty
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