Self described as “an ongoing conversation about the role of military aggression as the support structure for the illegitimacy of the US Government ”, industrial noise project Whitephosphorous deliver devastating noisescapes filled with hammering gunshots, white noise, siren screams and reverb. Cruel And Unusual Punishment is the American nightmare in audio form; a soundtrack to thirty plus years of military aggression in the Middle East and the ever creeping nature of a surveillance state on home soil.
Opening track ‘Mundane Barbarism’ flickers with audio crackles as shots are fired in the distance. The sound of an armed nation, this could be a US high school cafeteria or an assassination in the foothills of Pakistan. The coarse and startling sirens heard on ‘No Knock Raid’ are a reminder the police are never far from your door whilst the distorted voices and harsh noise of ‘Rising Tides’ give the picture of a fractured and chaotic country as much at war with itself as anywhere else. Closing track ‘America The Beautiful’ is the most subdued piece here but also one of the most uncomfortable, as violent slamming sounds are punctuated by a solitary sounding person weeping, suggesting things are very far from beautiful.
An uneasy listen for sure, but for an album with very little lyrical content, Cruel And Unusual Punishment has an incredible amount to say about both US foreign policy and the treatment of its own citizens. A disturbing and thought provoking journey to the corrupted dark heart of American politics.
Cruel And Unusual Punishment is released 10th April via Trepanation Recordings and can be purchased here.
Words: Adam Pegg