Ecco - The Wicked Warden [Breaching Static - 2014]The Wicked Warden is the second release from Julien Skrobek’s (The Killer Came From The Bronx ,Ghost, The Sandman Wears A Mask, Ruine, Butch Bag, Gasp, Ruine, etc) from 60’s & 70’s grind house themed walled noise project. This CDR on Dubuque Iowa based Breaching Static, takes in two lengthy slabs of raw walled noise.
The un-labelled CDR comes in the house style Breaching Static cover- which is a black crape paper slip sleeve, that features a stuck on monochrome picture(This time it’s of a brooding sky scape) & a single paper inlay taking in the track details.
Theme wise this release is based on 1977 Jess Franco film Ilsa, the Wicked Warden; this was the third entry in the sleazy & violent Sexploitation/ women-in-prison Ilsa series. The plot featured Ilsa( played by Dyanne Thorne) , as a vicious warden, who runs a mental-hospital for young women. A girl deliberately "checks" in to the hospital to find out what has happened to her sister who stayed there. Meanwhile Ilsa and one of the guards are forcing the inmates to have sex with male prisoners, filming them and selling it as porn flicks. As you can guess from the above plot the movies a sleazy mix of female flesh, sadism, and cheesy dialogue.
The release opens with “Her Prison”- this twenty six minute track starts with a sample from the movie, which takes in a scene were a female prison office is undressing a new inmate & making comments on her body. With-in a minute the ‘wall’ kicks in, and it’s built around a slowly tumbling yet persistent pattern of rumbling flame like roasting, which is mixed with a crisp ‘n’ crumbling jittering. The whole thing is fairly pared back, stark & simplistic in it’s unfold- yet it’s never the less rather compelling in it’s continued tumbling semi awkwardness, which nicely fits the feeling of more grim women-in-prison-movies.
The other track is entitled “Hotter Than Hell”, and once again this just over twenty minute track starts with another movie sample- this time it’s of a female prison telling the new prisoner to not give their name to anyone , as they are likely to get tortured. With-in a minute the ‘wall’ kicks-in, and it brings together a muffled stretched out droning which is over played by a crisp ‘n’ crumbling jittering pattern. I was less taken with this track, as I felt it was a little too tonally similar to first track, yet lacking the rewarding detail of the first track. Sure I can understand trying to keep the same tonal range on a release, but for me it was a just a little too close for it’s own good.
So all told I found The Wicked Warden rather a game of two halfs- with the first track been stark yet brutally compelling, but the second track was rather a let down due to it’s tonally similarities to the first track. I wanted to give this a mark of two & a half, but as we don’t do half’s I’ve gone for a three instead.Roger Batty