Werewolf Jerusalem- - Black Chapel [Urashima - 2020]Black Chapel is a masterful example of atmospheric & creative walled noised texturing from one of the inventors of the form Werewolf Jerusalem- aka US noise legend Richard Ramirez. The two track album originally appeared back 2009 as an ltd vinyl release (144 copies) on Italian noise label Urashima- this new edition of the album comes in the form of a CD.
This reissue finds the CD presented in a dull monochrome digipak-it's a four panel affair that takes in the original vinyl artwork. On it’s front cover is a silhouetted figure of a priest against an ancient cityscape, and on the inside creepy/ murky picture of old buildings- with grey texts against a black background. This release is Ltd to just 199 copies, which I’d imagine will disappear fairly quickly.
Each of the two tracks here runs just shy of the twenty minute mark. First up we have “Beyond Midnight”- and this is a relatively shifting example of the walled-noise form, as over the tracks length we have around four or so pattern shifts. Things kick off with a blend of choppy-yet-slightly muffled mid ranged chopping tones- these are set on top of ever more murky & muffled bass hacks, with the two layers blending to create a both creepily suffocating & brooding attack. Around the three minute mark we get the first shift- a sudden & rewarding shower of crisper & rattling cold static rain like tones. As the ‘wall’ moves on Ramirez skilfully shifts between the murky & creepy chop ‘n’ hacks of the start, and the more pelting/ crisper cold rain like descents- with at points a really atmospheric rumble coming into play, which sounds like a eerier wet & windy autumn storm battering around a abounded & dilapidated house.
The second track is entitled “The Last Witch”, and I guess you’d say this is slightly more of a dark & bothersome noise drone-meets- atmospheric wall noise venture- and once again it’s fairly active in it’s shifts. The track begins with a blend of a creepy trapped fog-horn like billow/ forking (at points this becomes quite intense/ pressing), and sweeping splintering static grain rush. As the track progresses we get sudden shifts into more pelting showers or crisper/ colder bass ‘n’ hacking static blends- but these deviations are fairly brief – and fairly soon we return to the blend of billowing & grain rush once more. Through out Ramirez is constantly- yet- subtle adjusting the two central tones to intensify the brooding-yet-seared feel of the track.
It’s great to see Black Chapel getting this CD reissue, as it really is a classical example of darkly moody walled noise craft- with each track simmering with both Ramirez’s talent for atmospheric noise craft & cleverly shifting noise composition. Let’s hope this release triggers some more reissues from this classic period in the walled noise genre.Roger Batty