Panta Rhei/ Thar Desert - Transmuter [Enforced Existence - 2020]
Transmuter is a rather interesting split- bringing together glum- yet -often- machine churning black metal, and barrenly seared walled noise- all creating a great soundtrack for an oppressive and greyed future, where the machines have finally taken over. The release appeared last summer on Pittsburgh based Enforce Existence- coming as either a CDR (sadly out of print) or a digital download.
The sharpie written CDR comes in a see-through sleeve. This features complex drawn and pen/felt tip coloured cover featuring different abstract patterns/shapes, some of which could be seen as either faces or mouths. I like the cover artwork, though I’m not sure if its colourful tone fits the often grey & points machine-tinged oppressiveness of the sonics with-in. The split is separated thus five tracks from Panata Rhei, and their brand of black metal, and two around twelve-minute walls from Thar Desert.
So up first we have the Panta Rhuie side of the split. This black metal/ blacked hardcore band has seemingly been around since 2017, and one of the projects of Pittsburgh based Richard McKita(RJ Myato, Ouroborean Piss, Elsinore) who dips into different genres with each of his projects. Featured here we get five tracks- and these each run between three and five minutes. We go from sinisterly crawling “Intro” with its mixture of tight beats, buzzing blacked synth, slowly rolling and churning BM guitar riffing. Onto discordantly slashing- almost- gone wrong blacked machine churn of “133 189” with its manically warbling guitars, obsessively swirling ‘n’ circling percussion, and morphing vocal bays/ shrieks. Through to grimly cog-swirling tremolo, locked battering-yet-hissing drums, and demented-turned-demonic robo-vocals of “194 148”. All in all, a great collection of tracks, showing once again Mr Mckita’s talent for creating distinctive and original work in yet another genre.
Next, up of course we have the Thar Desert side of the split- this is the walled/ textured noise project of Mississippi based Nick Maloney( Blanket Swimming, Sleep Silver Lightning, Junkyard Priest), and it started in 2020. Both tracks here are untitled and hit between ten and twelve-minute runtime- the first ‘wall’ open with a blend of grey drone and loosely cluttering ‘n’ crusty noise. The drone has a great feeling of slowly shifting and roaming oppressive-ness, while the noise texture has a nice shambling-yet- bleakly cluttering feel about it. At around the sixth minute, we get another layer of noise added in a nicely jarring and overwhelming manner- and this is a slurred sorted juddering ‘n’ swirling texture. This addition literally causes a complete white-out/grey out, as if the once lulling and hardly their sun has finally been snuffed out in the dystopian machine run skies. The second track opens with inverted droning bass rattle, lightly cluttering junk texturing, and growing oppressive billow ‘n’ bay. As it moves on the feel of bass droning and thick shadowy noise grows as if a once brightly lit desert full of people has been engulfed by the huge light sucking shadow of some vast droning and black oil spilling craft. At around the seven-and-a-half-minute mark, just when you think the whole thing is going to become too greyly busy/ enveloping we cut back to just a slowly-yet- grim warbling bass tone, which is added to by scaping and hissing textural sub-tones. Once again, a rather distinctive/ original take on walled noise form.
In conclusion, Transmuter is really a rather great split- with both projects nicely focusing on very grim, at points malevolently machine edged sound. I’ll most certainly be checking out more of both projects work, and I do hope these two do another split down the line. Head over to here to check out/ download this release.