Burial Hex - Burial Hex (SNSE LP)
Can't say that I haven't been spoiled lately: three new SNSE waxes came in for my listening pleasure. Unfortunately I only had enough time to spend with one, so I picked this Burial Hex LP. The other two (Taliban/Paranoid Time 10" and Neuntöter Der Plage 12") will come in due time, I assure you. This one caught my eye because I had it lodged in my memory that Burial Hex was the pseudonym for somebody hip, and indeed it turns out that it's the "death industrial-informed" project of one Clay Ruby, he of Zodiac Mountain, Skulls of Heaven, Totem and various other endeavours I'm sure. I couldn't really reconcile the image of Ruby with the imagery of this record - sure you can feast your eyes on the way bleak cover, but what you can't see is the grim insert depicting a skull (mask) in the woods, and Old English font spelling out things like "OPPRESSIVE NECRO ELECTRONICS" and song titles like "Night Stalking the Unsilent Boneyard" and "Blood, Hair, Spit, and Semen". Is this the same longhair that was wiling out stoned blues jams like "Born Free" and "No Matter How High or How Hard" not more than a moon ago? I love it, dude. Gimmickry? No...shapeshifting! Who among us doesn't have the old liberal hophead/conservative black metal cellar-dweller conundrum constantly raging inside of us? I think Brand New even wrote a song about it, in case you needed any more validation.
I gotta say I wasn't expecting much from a record that could be viewed as what our friends overseas refer to as a pisstake, but no way man, this record brings it and brings it hard, and if it's a pisstake then I'll happily concede the joke's on me. But shit, how could it be? The first side is a fuckin' ruler and I'm not talking about the kind you measure various personal appendages with, holy smokes. There's three songs per side and the first three are the heavyiest and bestest - amazing slabs of black-cloud electronic tempest, as bleak as the aforementioned cover, and totally threatening to digest you whole at every wrong turn. Think muddled atmosphere, miscellaneous junk noise curmudgeon, and field recordings that are really the cherry on top or the spikes on the mace that give it all a real real nightmarish feel...case in point? The chorus of crows that occupy much of "A Murder of Dead Crows". It was just one of those choice moments in sound where everything happens the way you never expected it to and it sounds jaw-droppingly perfect. The last track on the side comes mighty close to topping it though - "The Storm of Ancient Nightcrawler" (X-Men?) seems to feature Ruby's buried, hell-driven screams and seriously affected/effected moans, like the Xasthur/Double Leopards mashup you've been gunning for since day one. Elsewhere my faulty radar detects anything from Cold Meat-style butchery to Navicon Torture Technologies to later Burzum to Prurient at his most subdued to Dead Raven Choir to... Whatever yr blender mix-up of choice is, it's still three tracks of awesome/awesomely desolate, dense, formless, ritualistic, bloodletting.
The three cuts on the second side are all quite a bit more minimalist and, I dare say, conventional dark/black ambient. Not sure at all what's going on in "The Great Undertaking" but it kinda sounds like coffee being brewed (coffee being brewed in the forest! Of course), although "Feasting the Nightsoil Communion" takes up the majority of the time here and it's a pretty filthy serving of looped black bile electronics and subtle percussive digs a la Wolf Eyes' on "River Slaughter". There isn't anything as immediately striking as what you'll find on the reverse so maybe that's why me and my short attention span weren't grasping it ASAP but it's really a dandy of an excursion, just nothing much to write home about s'all.
As if that wasn't enough, the entire record was recorded "while undertaking the rites of the Burial Hex during the feasts of Samhain" - how can you not be at least a little curious? And for 12 bucks, you could hardly do better, so don the robes and enter the Blood Shed already (gettit?)! Limited to a paltry 308, and this is the kind of record I'm so into I just want to buy extra copies to hand out to people I know - so don't blame me if you miss, Miss.
Night Stalking the Silent Boneyard (excerpt)
A Murder of Dead Crows (excerpt)
A Storm of Ancient Nightcrawler (excerpt)
The Great Undertaking (excerpt)
Blood, Hair, Spit, and Semen (excerpt)
Feasting the Nightsoil Communion (excerpt)
MP3s courtesy SNSE