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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

Bastard Noise / Xiphoid Dementia - Human Extinction Engine [Scry Recordings, Existence Establishment, & Phage - 2019]

Human Extinction Engine is a twelve inch vinyl release  bringing together two American acts that sit in the more noise-bound end of the experimental genre- Bastard Noise and Xiphoid Dementia.

Bastard Noise are really veterans of the experimental and noise scene. This project was launched in 1991 as a side project by members of the power-violence project  Man Is The Bastard. From 1991 until today, Bastard Noise has released 58 albums, 34 singles and EP's, as well as a small number of other recordings. Xiphoid Dementia is a younger experimental project formed in 1999 by artist Egan Budd. In 2002, the debut mini-album was released, and since then the project has recorded 5 full-length albums and 4 albums of a less large format.

Human Extinction Engine is a joint, release between three US labels: Scry Recordings, Existence Establishment, and Phage Tapes. It comes in the form of multi-coloured LP. This edition is available for ordering on the sites of labels, as well as on the sites of artists.

The cover is a photo of an old rusty metal structure consisting of pipes. Most likely, this is part of an abandoned  factory. The photo is mirrored horizontally, which gives the picture an interesting symmetry. In the middle of the cover is a geometric symbol consisting of a hexagon and a triangle. In the triangle is a photo of human skulls against a tunnel of human bones. Just below the symbol are the names of the projects, written side by side in a rather large font. Bastard Noise is written in black, Xiphoid Dementia in white. just below, on a small white plate, by a dirty font that looks like a stamp, the title of the album is written - Human Extinction Engine. It seems to me that the cover is made in a too industrial style, which does not quite fit the musical component of the split. However, it should be said that the work is done professionally, although it felt somewhat devoid of more creative ideas.


The album, with a total duration of thirty five minutes and fifty seconds, consists of seven tracks. Since this is a split LP, each side belongs to one project.

The first side is Xiphoid Dementia with three tracks. The first track, called “Malevolence”, begins as Power electronics, but then increases its intensity and becomes entirely based on the rhythmic part of the processed drums, which felt close in sound to Japanese Taiko Drums. This is a very powerful and energetic track with a distorted wall of sound. The second and third tracks, called “Spirals” and “Fangs”, respectively, are made in a more ambient and industrial style. They are not as intense as the first track. "Spirals" seemed a little flawed to me. It sounds more like an intro than a full-fledged composition. "Fangs" is replete with orchestral melodic elements along with the industrial part. In each composition, there are samples of the female voice.

The second side with four tracks belongs to Bastard Noise. The tracks are called “Avenge the Global Animal Holocaust by Any Means”, “Mandatory Human Exit”, “Cries from the Pterosaur Graveyard”, and  “Extraterrestrial Spring Evening”. Since I felt the Bastard Noise side seemed to me more solid and more thoughtful than the Xiphoid Dementia side, I will not dwell on the description of each track separately. Bastard Noise presents us with a unique sound picture, based on sounds, as it seemed to me, of analogue synthesizers. This is the case when synthesizers are used to reproduce rather chaotic noise in the spirit of Harsh Noise using effects that can be called 'cosmic'. As a result, we have a very original sound at the junction of Space Ambient and Harsh Noise with a small amount of psychedelic elements. The tracks also feature vocal elements, which are best described as black metal vocals. All this creates an amazing atmosphere. Despite a large share of noise, the tracks sound, in my opinion, very thoughtful and intelligent.

So, we have a split of two projects with a completely different approach to writing experimental music. Since this album is a split, I decided to evaluate the performance of each project separately, and then give a total score. The work of Xiphoid Dementia seemed to me to be quite good, but not well thought out. There are good sound elements here, but in general, I would like to hear more originality. I give 3 points. The Bastard Noise side is, to some extent, unique material. Some of the sound elements for me were a revelation. All four tracks are integrally and create a unique atmosphere. I give 5 points.


In general, Human Extinction Engine is a rather serious and strong split album from two great projects. I will look forward to new works from these artists.

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

Sergey Pakhomov
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