The feedback howls on this record. Some feedback I would describe as ‘yawning’, like the gaps between riffs on early Eyehategod that offer us a moment to breathe, to pull our head up before the headbanging recommences. madam data cannot, will not, offer such respite. This is black metal left to fester in a server room, a constant gnawing of electronic noise and horrid yowling occasionally interspersed with some good ol’ drone chords. It’s a different sort of sonic murk, less predictable than the speed-stasis of Norwegian sound, and arguably laden with more bitterness too.
The Gospel of the Devourer is a record “dedicated to trans people everywhere”, and this seems to be borne out in its blending of styles. By either metal or electronic music standards, this album is uncomfortable, harsh and (deliberately, perfectly) imperfect. The opening track ends with electronic humming, the second begins with what could be a Vangelis film sample that is then overcome immediately by digitally-distorted screams. I interpret the unending shifts in tone and the wide range of vocal styles in play as representing the liminality of gender throughout transition – there are demonic drones with voices lower than even KORPSE, there are desperate shrieks that indicate the suffering of abjection, there are roars that seem to proudly proclaim their speaker’s lack of certainty. Nothing is stable or fun on this record, and that’s very welcome.
Further, this is also a record which invokes a sense of collapse, both symbolic and tonal; the track names link together, speaking of a cosmic eschatology where eventually “at the end of space and time, we flayed the body of the ancient enemy and made his body into food for stars and the birth of new constellations”. The melodies, such as they are, are wont to be swept aside by another barrage of monstrous echoing vocalization, which frequently are victims of their own success, with hissing feedback eventually smothering the entire mix and strongly recalling classic power electronic artists such as Whitehouse. By the album’s end, it’s hard not to be completely awed by the artists’ commitment to contradiction, by their devotion (almost fetishistic) towards the moment of rupture and collapse. This is radical music in approach and content – show your support and feel your sensory organs tremble.
The Gospel of the Devourer is out now via Purple Tape Pedigree and can be ordered here.
Words: David Burke