Demons - Life Destroyer (A.A. Records CD-R/CS/DVD-R) / Video Madness IV (A.A. Records DVD-R)
Last Suoni batch was from a show I didn't even get to see, as I had to take off early (same night as Michael Flower, for the record)...of course, I did get in some shopping, and picked up these two audio-visual treats from Demons, the newish group featuring Wolf Eyes' Nate Young and Steve Kenney on audio and Alivia Zivich on visuals when applicable. I've only ever heard the Demons/Hatred split tape A.A. put out a ways back and whatever may have appeared on the lathe compilation LP, so I was keen to check out the visual aspect to the group, especially having missed out on the first (much-lauded) Video Madness DVD-R.
The "Life Destroyer" box consists of a tape (in its own case with full art, no less), a CD-R, and a DVD-R, and there's a good bit of meat to chew on - the tape's about 20-25 minutes, the DVD-R's 20, and the CD-R's 35. Nothing to complain about there, though after getting through it all I wish it was longer because it's all so very excellent. The tape features two side-long pieces from Nate and Steve, "Sick by Water" on side A and "Life Destoyer" on the flip. "Sick by Water" boasts a totally sinister Outer Limits creep/snarl forming an enchanting, oscillating near-dub synth groove as the track's foundation. Huge, drawn-out noise scrawls and bombings git slathered over top via junk electronics, tweaked synths, and who knows what else. It's way more zonked than 'm making it sound though, trust me. This whole side is as cut out of its mind as the dudes who laid it down when they laid it down, if you can dig that. "Life Destroyer" is even more of a downshift in comparison, but its slow-building dark ambient grind didn't spellblind me the way it would've if my tape deck was not, in fact, a piece of shit, but alas I had to do a lot of start/stopping and fast-forwarding to get it to play right which killed the mood somewhat. I did hear enough to know that it was much looser in structure (e.g. no rigid loop forming the basis) and posed a lot more sonic threat by way of suffocating drone and sinewy circuit board squelches. More disparate, more abyssic, more alienating...more fun.
The CD-R has three tracks averaging out to 10 minutes per. The two that bookend the disc, "Early Year" and "Smoking Homes" both feature the kind of spacey, sci-fi dissonance that marked "Sick by Water", ghoulish, dreadful tones soundtracking post-apocalyptic visions of scorched earth and blood-red skies. The middle track "Hellstorm" lives up to its name a hundred fold, a throbbing, noisy, block-rocking track that seems to owe more to 80's punk and early black metal than to 60's synth records. It bowled me over contiuously for its entire duration and I'd go back and start it again once it ends in a heartbeat, that's how ridiculously infectious and straight-up rockin' it is. I knew I got my money's worth for the box as soon as I heard this one track, that's how much I dig it. So too should you!
The "Life Destroyer" video is a 20-minute clip featuring an extra-morose organ-tinged, frayed electronic buzz for a soundtrack. The embryonic film & light manipulations revolve around a shape/color-shifting blob that eventually explodes into a transmutating hyperprisms, gemstone glimmer, cold supernovas, and a whole lot of "else". The Demons track in the background dips into weird crescending near-prog synth loops and combine with Alivia's visuals to create an ultra-hynotic effect on the viewer. Later on the audio takes another turn for the strange and, kinda like what the tape did from side A to B, is far more chilling and isolating while the glowing static orbs on the screen make me think of Videodrome...which can't be a bad thing neither.
The "Video Madness" is also about 20ish minutes long, with three seperate tracks - first two from Demons and the last by Hatred (Nate solo). The first two, er, chapters see Demons' brand of churning synthesizer (going for the record on number of times I use "synth" or a variation thereof in one post) vitriol paired up with Alivia's visuals, in these instances looking like neon cobwebs pulling together and apart in a darkroom. I'm no student of the film so I wish I could describe her techniques at length but I'm pretty much clueless, safe to say they're far out and beyond my tiny realm of understanding and that's good by me. The third chapter sees more mind-engulfing, subtly psychedelic circle/spiral altering while the last one or two are insane black/white/red strobing nightmares under a great urban warfare/industrial insurgence crawl featuring somebody thrashing away at a drum kit much in the same way the screen thrashes away at your eyes. Not very highly recommended for epileptics or anyone coming off a full bag of Cheetos, but no finer way to maul a few synapses for anyone else. I know it seems like I just said something like this (cause I did) but these are definitely a couple of my favorite buys all year. I can't recommend the "Life Destroyer" box enough as it's covering all the bases. The "Video Madness IV" DVD, while featuring the better visuals, is a bit on the short side as a standalone. However, both are still available through the A.A. website, where you can also check out some preview clips of the "Video Madness" stuff so you'll at least know what to expect. Somewhat.
Click here to listen to MP3 samples from the "Life Destroyer" CD-R