Review: Pharmakon – Devour

Amidst all the tension of being a human being in 2019, Pharmakon charges forward with her industrial/power electronics onslaught once again, translating to sound the “self-destructing nature of humans”. Despite having the same core as all previous Pharmakon albums, Devour seems to increase the harshness of Margaret’s sound, captured for the first time here as a live recording by Ben Greenberg from Uniform. 

On Devour a more industrial presence is felt pulsating throughout the whole album. One of the main tracks that typifies this industrial feel is ‘Self-Regulating System’. It traps the listener within a chaotic machine before unleashing one of the harshest tracks of this album, ‘Deprivation’. Between ear-shattering frequencies and throbbing pulses there is of course Margaret’s voice, now modulated and distorted but as always delivered through with head cutting shrieks and shouts keeping the listener in awe through the sheer brutality showcased in all her work. Since all the tracks that comprise this album were recorded live as one performance, their names serve just the purpose of locating oneself within the sound of Devour.

The abrasiveness that characterises Pharmakon’s work is present in this album in a much more organic way than previously heard, where we can almost feel Margaret reaching out from within the speaker and screeching in our ears what being human is all about and why destroying ourselves is our natural path. Once again Pharmakon delivers her dystopian reality through music so the listener can make sense of it all and attempt to survive in this “never-ending positive feedback loop of cause and effect” of our own making. 

Devour is out 30th August via Sacred Bones Records and can be purchased here.

Words: Benjamim Gomes 

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