Cannibal Meat Holocaust/Ataraxy - Split [Vomit Bucket Productions - 2016]
Well, this tape is a good, old-fashioned, homemade job: a colour, printed inlay, holding a Maxell blank tape, with handwritten titles. I think this is the most notably diy release I’ve reviewed for a long time, and it’s nothing but refreshing. The tape has two tracks from each project, with both sides amounting to 45 minutes each. Cannibal Meat Holocaust is another persona of Ivan Sandakov - the figure behind Sleep Column, Oasis of the Zombies, the Wall Noise label, et al; whilst Ataraxy is the long-standing project of Gag, the man behind Vomit Bucket Productions - so we’re in safe hands, here.
Cannibal Meat Holocaust is up first, with a 20 minute track called Issei Sagawa. This begins with a sample of french dialogue, before jumping headlong into a rushing, scratchy wall. The whole structure rides on a buffeting, blustering bass, like a snarling wind - the wall is very fast indeed. The most striking element is the mid-frequency scuffing, which carries a near-tonal quality. Amongst all this turbulence, the steadiest layer is to be found in the most trebly crackle, which is like an unfaltering hiss of rain. Flesh Anger, the second, slower offering, takes up the rest of the side. Straight away, it has a strangely metallic character, aided by a hollowed out sound. Here, too, the mid-frequencies scuff and flail, but the bass is more contained, creating a malevolent buzzing. The nicest feature is the odd, almost coincidental, crackle that lurks at the very edges of the speakers; this detritus flits in and out of the ear’s reach, seeming to occur in a different space to the wall itself.
The Ataraxy side begins with Cannibal Holocaust, 22:30 minutes of speeding gravel and dirt. This wall is relentless and scourging, with a nice, stuttering, high-mid frequency texture - if the bass is a speeding car, then this layer is dancing along behind it on a rope. The bassier elements tend to sit back in the mix and quietly oppress the sound-field, giving the wall a lurking dread, as well as an expansive feel. After a tiny gap of silence, Cannibal Ferox jumps through the speakers. Like its predecessor, the emphasis here is on savagery and rumbling abrasion; both Ataraxy pieces are aimed firmly at the simplest, rough pleasures of HNW. Cannibal Ferox is splintered and crushing, but undeniably beautiful too; the active, high-mid frequency scuffs and scraps are split between the speakers, creating an entrancing sound. Above this, the treble crackles away, moving with each scuff, whilst below a very strong, stumbling bass drone grounds the whole wall.
This is a great split, with both projects contributing really good work. This is the first time I’ve heard Cannibal Meat Holocaust, and I’m incredibly impressed. Ataraxy is certainly not a new name to me - I feel the project is sadly overlooked, to be honest - and Gag’s two tracks here are up to his usual high standards. I have checked the Vomit Bucket Productions website, and the tape is still available, so you have no excuse…Martin P