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White Static Demon - Apparitions [Utech Records - 2010]

This foreboding, uncompromisingly violent and harsh disk, the second by Justin Broadrick's new noise project, White Static Demon, is well titled.  Cosmic, cryptic, oppressive, and obsidian black as space, "Apparitions" erodes your hearing unforgivingly as tumultuous waves bashing away at a rocky shore.  Removed from the familiarity of the guitar, Broadrick's musical persona changes focus from riffs to complex abstract orchestrations.  The chronic melancholy of his music no longer seems to emanate from a relatable human spirit but from a vast hungry void of senseless destruction.

Though there are actually numerous subdued ambient passages which mimic such sounds as cold winds through craggy mountain passes or nebulous free-floating expanses, the blade-sharp squall of the louder sections should be intense enough to weed out all but the most resilient noise listeners.  Fascinated by the austere, dissonant eddies and deviations present in the shrill  headache of sustained high frequency feedback, Broadrick is unafraid to brood and dwell in the most uncomfortable zones of sound imaginable.

In the style of many space ambient recordings, the sound fades and billows over long stretches of time.  Divided into two 23 minute tracks, one might as well consider the album as a single longform flow, as there is no significant pause or stylistic switch between the opening "Endless Vacuum" (which would also make a fitting title for the album as a whole) and the following "Unforgiving Eidolon". 

This is not, however, an exercise in minimalism, and Broadrick's presence is always actively felt within or above the vibrating mass of noise, shaping the sounds and occasionally adding a snarl of discernable vocal.  The sounds themselves are warm, resonant, analog and often broken beyond repair, loaded with crackling and artifacts that distort the purity of the reverbs and tones, but pleasantly fade the sonic color palette, and somehow expand the soundspace to astronomical proportions.

For the first time since Godflesh, Justin Broadrick has delivered something thrillingly edgy and unrelentingly powerful.  A perfect union of chaotic harsh noise and gracefully undulating space ambience, this album should appeal equally to fans of Merzbow and Lustmord

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

Josh Landry
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