Friday, May 29, 2009

G&P Review: Jesus of Nazareth/Exploding Meth Lab

Jesus of Nazareth/Exploding Meth Lab
The Seed Mouth Collection
Crucial Blast
Neil Gaiman has excavated no few nightmares during his prolific and unsettling career, but the one that has always stuck with me was “The Doll’s House” arc of his masterwork The Sandman. Who other than Gaiman would take the apotheosis of human evil on earth – serial killers – and set them in a convention replete with serial killing discussion groups, fanboys seeking autographs and fading codgers reliving their salad days. That the setting is just so banal heightens the horror. (And for crossover goodness, read Jamie Delano’s “Family Man” arc from John Constantine – Hellblazer to find out why a keynoter missed the convention.)
Like the crazed murderer shindig anonymously checking into your local no tell motel, The Seed Mouth Collection is an unsettling alliance of two similarly twisted musical minds. Jesus of Nazareth (Jake Cregger of Triac) and Exploding Meth Lab (featuring Mason of Enemy Soil) both trade in nihilistic power electronics anti music intent on excoriating lizard brain level terrors from the darkest recesses of your skull.
Jesus of Nazareth’s album-opening six songs don’t stray too far from where The Shame of Being a Child left off: blasting drums providing scant purchase for white noise shrapnel cannons and digitally warped samples that bleed from song to song, creating a scrolling canvas of brief stabs of interweaving noise mining a rich vein of ore in your ear canal with a diamond bit power drill.
Exploding Meth Lab (go Google that one day for some inadvertent hilarity)turns in a single, lengthy malignantly metastasizing song (“Exploding Meth Lab Soup Kitchen”) that seethes through the air waves like randomly spinning the radio dial in hell. It’s disorienting, assaulting, abrasive, and that’s probably the point.
After assaulting each other for about 20 minutes with the rusted out junk in Tetsuo the Iron Man’s driveway, the noisemongers’ album-closing five song tag team is a (relatively) quiet collection of songs that aim for unsettling rather than outright abusive. Playing their strengths off of each other, the collaborative tracks are like the soundtrack to a wordless avant-garde student horror film shot on grainy, black and white digital camera through the fetid underbelly of some crumbling European city. Let’s say the Sedlec Ossuary just outside of Prague.
While The Seed Mouth Collection is an effective pairing of two like-minded practitioners of musical misanthropy, the question I still haven’t settled in my mind after more than a month is whether I actually enjoy it. While I anticipate The Shame of Being a Child will get regular re-airings, Seed Mouth, I think, will taunt me from its spot on the same shelf, questioning just how extreme my musical tastes are willing to go.

[Full disclosure: Jake Cregger kindly passed along a review copy.]


Shanetera said...

This is one of the best written music reviews I've ever read. Good job sir.

SunnyvaleTrash said...

I am a huge Hellblazer fan, but I didn't really like any of Delano's work. I will be purchasing his new Hellblazer OGN though. I cannot resist interior art by Jock.

Do you still read HB? Andy Diggle's recent run was fantastic.

Andrew Childers said...

i'm a trade paperback guy. and when i do pick up hb it's usually the garth ennis era. i agree on delano, but it fit the theme at the time.