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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Richard Ramirez / Black Leather Jesus - Scrapyard [R.O.N.F. Records, Phage Tapes - 2010]

“Scrapyard” is seen as one of the classic recordings of mid 1990’s American Harsh noise scene, and it originally brought together two tracks from Richard Ramirez and one lengthy twenty plus minute track from Black Leather Jesus. This reissue adds on an extra new track from Mr Ramirez.

The album original appeared back in 1995 in a ltd vinyl form on german noise and industrial  label Praxis Dr. Bearmann. This reissue is on a pro pressed CD, and comes with new artwork from Jovan Hernandez(ex Black Leather Jesus, Anatomy Of A Blackout and Voidmate).

Opening up the release we have the two Richard Ramirez tracks- first up there’s “The Collapse Of An Industry Long Forgotten” which comes in just under the nine and a half minute mark. The track finds Ramirez boiling up a very brutal slice of industrial tinged harsh noise matter which offers up a tight and shifting mixture banging, ripping and churning noise tone. It shifts from deep tonally roars and grinds, up to higher pitched seers and slices of feedback, mixed in with the shifts and seers of  noise textured are the odd more bombastic and rhythmic textures; but nothing ever becomes constant or truly rhythmic in it’s feel. The track is extremely active with Ramirez shifting through all manner of textures in a very brutally yet entertaining manner.

The second Ramirez track is wonderfully entitled “Male Nudity Among American Wreckage” and it comes in at eleven minute mark. This track is still a very active slice of Harsh Noise with industrial elements, through it’s often more defined and dwells a little longer on certainly elements.  The tracks first minute and a half  starts out  with a selection of looped based industrial noise churns ‘n’ chugs that are broken up by sudden noise pitch sustain or off pattern tone dwells. Then at just before the two minute mark this great juddering higher pitch electro alarm tone takes centre stage- this tone alternates with sudden low tone feed back dwells. Then we move into thick & descending yet churning noise dwell which are seared by sudden higher pitched belt slipping, with the higher pitched alarm tone appearing once again towards the 6th minute. From just after the six minute mark Ramirez adds in these weird buried male vocals which moan then suddenly scream- these vocals nicely fit the tonal shift of the track. The last two or three minutes of the track finds Ramirez quite atmospherically looping out his noise textures in quite a neat and grim fading then intensifying manner. Truly this is a great slice of creative, brutal and atmospheric harsh Noise making.

Then we move onto the Black Leather Jesus track  “Human Connection (An Obscene Turn Of Events)” which originally took up the whole of the second side of vinyl with it’s just under twenty one minute runtime. The tracks a really great example of the BLJ at their best and most shifting noise meets extreme industrial jam type mode. The track moves from: brooding and sinister noise bass dwell ‘n’ grind  meets extreme industrial textural churn ‘n’ higher pitched swirls. Onto roaring noise buzzers meets slicing and off-centre slow junk metal collisions. Through to slow electro phaser like swarms and slices of sound, onto accelerating and zooming aircraft take off meets chug noise grains. Theres a alot of movement and  shifting layers with-in this track- but it’s executed in such a rewarding and creative manner. With out doubt one of my favourite BLJ tracks.

Last up we have the new Richard Ramirez track from 2010 which is entitled “Just Like Me” and comes in at just under the ten and a half minute mark. The track starts off with near on two minutes of gay porn sample with two guys clearly enjoying each others members. Then we kick-in with a mixture of: layers of speed up slicing, chopping and clamouring junk like tones, sudden swelling banks of roaring noise, and the odd high pitched circling/billowing run. The tracks a great 'n' urgent, and at times quite a fun bit of noise making. It’s a great addition to the other three original tracks.

So all in all this is a great and highly worthy reissue that offers up some of Ramirez’s and Black Leather Jesus best and most consistent mid 1990’s  work, plus a great extra new Ramirez track. Really a must have item for those who enjoy  Ramirez’s more Harsh noise based work & anyone who enjoy's active/ creative Harsh noise with an American flavor.

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

Roger Batty
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