boris, worriedaboutsatan

REWIND FEBRUARY: drone returns, electronica reigns

If you haven’t seen the cover of Wire magazine this month, go find it and try not to bladder yourself with excitement: BORIS ARE BACK. New album Gensho is due out in March on Relapse Records, but as ever you gotta ask, which Boris is gonna show? Skullfuck droneheads, aero-bounce popsters or garage-psych heavyweights?

Well, given that Gensho is a joint release with noiselord Merzbow means we can (probably) rule out pop’npsyche and head straight for the drone, all 2CDs/4LPs of it. Re-cooked Boris tracks on album 1, new Merzbow tracks on album 2, specially made so you can play them side by side for full Gensho. The phenomenon. Yeah, sounds bigger than big so better start getting in shape for that one – must clear the house first. Absolutego should do it.

But it’s not all amplifier worship and electrified volume that gets us through, is it? Ryley Walker fired up the Bullingdon this month – see previous post – and the new Melt Yourself Down single Dot to Dot is DEFINITELY worth a go, whatever kind of heavy Afro-contemporary jazz thing it is that they do.



Are you?

Don’t be. This northern duo’s guitarless electronic beats and twilight ambience make for some frosted post-winter listening, both dark and light. As with Melt Yourself Down, I don’t have the references for this kind of stuff but it’s doing the job right now, offering some sort of Way following the post-Bowie disorientation that’s made a lot of rock make not a lot of sense. Anyway, check The Woods and Even Temper over on bandcamp and make your own minds about satan’s fret boys.Tom Ragsdale, who is one half of worriedaboutsatan, has had his solo stuff played by Mary Anne Hobbs on 6Music as well of late.

Finally, despite major new albums by rock heavyweights like Cult of Luna and Iggy Pop/Josh Homme on the way, it’ll be a youthful oldie stealing the metal press in March surely, because that’s when the raging progthrash meisterwork  Master of Puppets hits 30. SHIT!!! Peace Sells and Reign in Blood also reach three-zero in the next few months.

1986. Nice vintage.

’til next time: BATTERY

MUTATION: Error 500


Someone puts a CD on – summat loud, brutish, fast. He or she is trying to find a track which they’ll recognise the second they hear it, but YOU know different because of their chronic SMS (shit memory syndrome). Play is pressed and you get a few seconds of metallic battery. Not it. FF flick to the next track. Another blast. Not it. Skip again. More noise. Nope, skip. Half a riff, NO. Skip. Maybe it was the first one after all? Skip back. No. ffs. FF again.

Jarred by this rapido assault of unconnected riffs, your senses are mashed. You don’t know what’s next or what went before coz you’ve been denied the time to process any of it. There’s no pattern to snag, not even a rhythm to follow, and your brain can’t keep up.

This is what Error 500 feels like – 9 tracks of mutant-bastard billion-guitar chaos, pinballing not so much between styles but between riffs, tempos and strobe-light madness to create a monstrous pile-up WITHIN every track. Disorienting stuff for sure, but who’s responsible for this barrage of ADD metal? What is MUTation?

MUTation is a Ginger (Wildhearts)-led project and this record is part two of a rumoured three-album lifespan. Napalm Death’s Shane Embury is in it, Cardiacs’ Jon Poole is in it, as are many others. Merzbow pops up. More bizarrely, Mark E Smith – yes, that one (is there any other?) – shambles in for two stagger-on cameos, shouting about shoelaces like a daylight drunk.

Does any of this give a sense of where Error 500 is going?

If not, the disjointed assembly of opening track Bracken surely does, a well-heavy/insane mash of what sounds like 5 different tracks in the first minute. Utopia Syndrome carries on the cut-and-paste attack. By the time White Leg flings a carousel spin in there, your ears begin to whisper for a lie down … not because of volume or extremity in itself, we love all that, but because of over-stimulus and the pace of change. Error 500 is a twisted hybrid of Napalm Death, Devin Townsend and Battles body parts, stitched together with Zappa thread and sparked to life by a Meshuggah defibrillator.

Little wonder, then, that it finds a home on Ipecac.

Unlike collaborations such as Shrinebuilder, where the very-brilliant sum is clearly derived from its Om/Neurosis/St Vitus component parts, or even labelmates Palms who evolve the Isis blueprint into celestial realms, MUTation is more in the Patton/Fantomas/Bungle mould – a total annihilation of the familiar and the expected. It’s a combustion. Highlights are impossible to list because the whole thing – as a statement – is a deranged highlight, though the Napalm-heavy channel-flicking Protein is a fave of mine. Over to you to pick your own bits.

Anything goes in MUTation world, and though it’s nothing like the Wildhearts, it’s everything like their spirit: technicolour, exuberant, volatile, smiling and rammed with fuck-it attitude … a gloriously demented racket. BRING THE NOISE.

Mutation: Error 500 (Ipecac, 2013)