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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

Liver Failure - Yellow Death [Altar Of Waste - 2012]

Here’s a two track cdr, on Altar Of Waste; presented to the label’s usual high standards. Liver Failure is a three-strong supergroup, with one member being Alex Nowacki (a name you might recognise from his Boar project and Breaching Static label), another being Jeff Landgraf (the person behind the excellent Oblive and Mass Graves projects), and lastly, Patrick Gilligan (I Like You, Go Home). The dvd case is covered with a gritty picture of some hands gaining entry to a body’s innards, whilst the inside has a creepy image apparently culled from a computer game. Both untitled tracks are just over the ten-minute mark, and both set their sights on surging noise.

“Yellow Death” explores the sometimes great, sometimes slight, difference between “wall-noise” and a “wall of noise”. The two tracks on the release are built around strong wall-noise textures: the first, a surging, spitting, fast-paced wall, with strong lower-mid frequencies; the second, a more frenzied, sharper, nasty attack of treble. These walls are not static by any stretch of the imagination, but there is, nevertheless, a clear appreciation of wall aesthetics on display. These textures act as foundations for the tracks, with other elements breaking the surface, or merely disrupting the “walls” from underneath. Indeed, there’s a constant sense that something is always trying to break through; though the only discernible sounds to do this, are junk feedback and the odd oscillating squeal. There are some very frenzied sections in both tracks, and the unremitting assault is only really lifted about three quarters of the way through “II”; when the surging noise evaporates for a short time, leaving scouring, airy gusts of treble hiss.

The more I’ve listened to this, the more I’ve liked it. The barrage is rarely less than fearsome and the tracks are constructed very solidly indeed - a really compressed, writhing, mass of noise. In black and white terms, its arguably Harsh Noise; but with few dynamics, a limited sound palette and a constant pursuit of obliteration, it achieves a “wall-like” oppression and sound. With Liver Failure’s personnel and impeccable HNW credentials, this is hardly surprising. So, its a pleasingly “unorthodox” slab of wall-noise, with less emphasis on “dry” stasis, and more on sheer pummel and skree. For all the violent and aggressive terms I’ve been using, the skilled craft of the three members also shows through in more articulate moments - there’s a nice passage in “II”, once the track settles down, with blasting treble squalls over a rampaging bass rumble; eventually developing to add some nice mid-frequency crunch. A very satisfying concoction of textures. “Yellow Death” isn’t perfect - the odd “loose-firing” synthy squeal is ok, but there’s a longer section of them at one point; rather dispelling the magic and removing the “monochromatic” aspect that was so pleasing - but it is a very welcome addition to any HNW collection

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

Martin P
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