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Churner - Psalms Of Aggression [Violent Noise Atrocities - 2010]

Churner's Psalms Of Aggression is a double CDr set of lengthy, thick, extremely harsh opuses exploring the Christian faith and it's politics. Buried in these slow-moving, dense compositions, you will hear clips of preaching and biblical discussion. Each of the six "psalms" on this release have a very different vibe which makes this release a diverse listening experience. I am not sure what equipment is used to make his sounds, but besides loads of various distortions, I get the notion that much of it is electro-acoustic. All of the grinding, scraping and rattling has me guessing what sort of construction equipment or scraps he has piled up in his basement. This release is not so industrial-sounding, though. He really takes his source material and annihilates it with effects.

I enjoy this work of Churner's because of his HNW sensibilities but often refusal to stick with the 100% unchanging aspect of it. His sounds usually feature long, constant rumbling and crackling like you'd expect from an HNW artist, but there are dynamic changes that occur as well as interesting creaks and shrieks that barely escape the rubble. Psalm IV especially highlights this dynamic and diverse approach because the desolate crumbling sound seems to appear and disappear giving this mysterious, almost breath-like sound in the background chances to come to the forefront before the crash of static rises back up.

Churner is not afraid to experiment with certain affects that I feel a lot of harsh noise and HNW purists avoid. You will hear flanging and phasing in Churner's work, but not stale renditions of it. Psalm 3, within a few minutes of slowly changing it's textures, comes in with a nice wall lightly flanged to give it a warped feel before it continues to explore other textures. Whether this flange effect was acquired by means of a pedal or slightly putting the left and right side out of phase with each other, it does show that Churner is much more on the experimental side of wall-like harsh noise.

Back to Psalm 3, I really like how much diversity this track has. It is fairly constant, and the wall is continuous throughout except for a few very stimulating breaks of confusing feedback and electro-acoustic tinkering, but the textures morph nicely and flawlessly. There are also sporadic percussive elements that barely jump into the foreground here and there that really require a close listen to fully recognize. Therefore, this isn't really harsh noise that you can zone out to. It is fascinating, intriguing and very experimental in nature while still remaining dark, harsh, tragic and disastrous.

It is tough to cram a lot of diversity into an HNW/harsh noise double-disc set, and all in all, there is a lot of "it all sounds the same" in this release. However, that is not a bad thing, and it's not really the point in wall-like harsh noise like this. I think this release is harsh noise for HNW fans, and near-HNW for harsh noise fans who don't like HNW. It is a nice bridge between the two territories. Churner has been pumping out releases left and right on his label Violent Noise Atrocities. Nothing of his I've heard has ever disappointed.

My only complaint about this release, and it's not much of a complaint, is that the packaging lacks a little. The insert is folded up awkwardly and encases two silver CDrs with "I" and "II" written on them (neatly, of course) in marker. Churner's artwork and printing has always been slightly mediocre but I am guessing that artwork is just not his forte. It's not terrible, and it would never make me not want to listen to his work, but compared to the artwork and packaging of let's say that of Phage Tapes, Churner's does lack. Overall, though, this release is killer and every fan of HNW and harsh noise should give it a listen.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Justin Marc Lloyd
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