September 2020 Feature Release - The Horde Edition
It's now September which of course means that we'll be nominating a brand new monthly feature release for each clan. This essentially means that we're asking you to rate, review & discuss our chosen features for no other reason than because we enjoy the process & banter. We're really looking forward to hearing your thoughts on our chosen releases so don't be shy.
This month's feature release for The Horde is 2011's "Desiccation in Progress (Version II)" album from prolific amphibian-themed gorenoise exponent Phyllomedusa. Gorenoise is certainly one of the more niche subgenres in extreme metal. We're interested to see what you lot make of it so we hope you'll give this a release a chance to engulf you with its insane brutality & tongue-in-cheek thematics. Who knows? You may just find yourself converted & joining the growing list of frog worshippers out there!
Here's a excerpt from my review:
Upon first listen I was immediately pushed onto the back foot in no uncertain terms. I had recently been listening to a release that must have had a fairly low volume level because no sooner had I pressed play than I received an involuntary physical direction to throw my headphones off in self-defence. I actually can’t describe just how loud the wall of noise that came bursting out of those speakers was however let’s just say that I’ll be lucky if I don’t experience any long-term effects. After drastically reducing the volume I was ready to give it another shot though & on my second attempt I was presented with a slightly less voluminous but only marginally less confronting audio assault. My first impression was that the production job is actually very bright & electronic sounding which is not something I would usually relate to metal music. It’s much closer to something you’d hear in electronica. Particularly on the more industrial end of the spectrum. The high end electronic noises have an ear-catching vibrancy about them however you won’t get much time to take them in as everything flies past in a matter of seconds before moving onto something entirely similar. The artificially produced snare sounds aren’t to my taste much which is a real concern given that there’s about twenty zillion of them in the ten minutes. They just sound really cheap. Kinda like one of those wind-up monkeys banging away on their little drum. They’re very much in the style of your entry level midi-keyboard sound but in all honesty, most of the nuances are completely irrelevant because everything is dwarfed by the huge, bulbous, throbbing mass of noise that engulfs everything throughout pretty much the entire ten minutes. The levels have very clearly been thrust up to eleven to make sure that there is as much distortion as possible & that everything is as loud as humanly imaginable. I’d imagine that the wave file for each track would simply be a solid bar from top to bottom.
It’s actually really hard to look at “Desiccation in Progress (Version II)” from a musical point of view because I’m not sure it actually qualifies under that term. I can see where the grindcore association is loosely drawn from in the continual use of hyper-speed blast-beats, sudden & seriously brutal changes & ultra-deep death metal vocals however this release is much further over towards the harsh noise side of the equation than the metal one. Perhaps in a similar way to some of Darkspace’s later material being more ambient than black metal. I mean you can’t hear anything like a riff here. Is there any guitar at play here? I dunno. It’s simply not possible to identify anything from the wall of noise with even the continuous snare hits being hard to pick up on occasion. The very idea of melodic composition seems almost irrelevant with gorenoise & for that reason it’s very hard for any of these tracks to identify themselves from one another. In fact, ten minutes almost seems too long for the minimal quantity of ideas going on here. I find myself losing interest fairly quickly after the initial novelty wears off so I can’t see myself giving one of these releases multiple listens without a considerable break in between & perhaps it wouldn’t be advisable for your health anyway all things considered.
The vocals are an interesting topic because it sounds like Big Frog has gone to great effort to actually SOUND like a frog & the amphibian-related effects that are included on many of the tracks would support that theory. I have no idea as to whether there are actual lyrics for these tracks but it’s highly doubtful because it would have taken much longer to write them than to compose & record the entire album. I can’t see anyone sparing the time to read them anyway as these tracks fly past in a heartbeat. I’m not too sure if the vocal delivery employs the use of pitch-shifting technology or not because it’s fucking deep but I find it much more easily palatable than some of your more obviously artificial goregrind exponents & I actually think it’s done pretty effectively.
At the end of the day, “Desiccation in Progress (Version II)” is a novelty release. Nothing more, nothing less. So if you’re looking for substance here you’ll be seriously disappointed. The sheer abrasiveness of the wall of sound is all that matters & I’d be surprised if most fans of the gorenoise subgenre aren’t really more obsessed with shocking their friends & family than becoming emotionally engaged with the music. But in saying that, I do enjoy the sheer brutality of it all in some way. I can’t say that I’ve ever come across a more brutal style of music & that appeals to me from a purely conceptual point of view. It’s therefore possible that I’ll never be as harsh as I probably should be on an album like this & my score is based on the fact that, even though it may not be my cup of tea, I’d still much rather listen to this than Heavy Load, Helloween or Warlord.
It's time to bust out the Frog Facts again. Writing that other random Phyllomedusa review was actually fun so I'll bite on another.