Crucial Blast Records

For this schizoid split disc, Burmese stagger out of the gate with ten truncated bursts of slashing, knife-to-the-bowels bursts of white noise that bring to mind Masonna, Lightning Bolt or Anal Cunt at their most careless. Most of their tracks clock in under a minute; the longest is an epic, triple-album spanning two minutes-plus. “Your End” is frequency jamming, a la Violent Onsen Geisha. “Millions of Ways to Die” and “Pay Me In Pain” sound like Masonna and early Napalm Death warming up to an epic jam before getting the power cut. “Typical Woman Behavior” and “Spill My Fuck” (especially disorienting and well-constructed) and “I’m In Heaven” are pure noise in the sadistic collage vein of Merzbow. “Into It” is much the same taken to the nth degree, but adds the weird transient bursts of robot transmission that haunted the dreams of the protagonists in Prince Of Darkness and the sounds of the probe droid in Empire Strikes Back. Steel girders snap in the end. “Sweet Fucking Mouth/Living Wage” is like Anal Cunt crossed with Einsturzende Neubauten. Totally vicious truck — highlight of their side, especially the bass freakouts. “You Feel Good To Me” is a pleasing, hypnotic grindcore sketch that quickly decays into free jazz incomprehensibility and/or a big fuck you. “White Suicide” is a bully-boy, proto-hardcore stomp with insectoid, CB-radio vocals, then it blazes into fiery death metal rage and pure overkill.

Fistula change gears, shall we say, drastically and suddenly with a downshift into codeine-drenched riff worship. You know that “Green Lung” is going to be killer when it begins with treated coughing noises. From there, the track congeals into a grinding, stutter-step riff that constantly threatens to collapse into entropy, overlaid with loops of retching and coughing fits. Draw your own thematic conclusions; I’m too mesmerized by the scuzzy central riff that has all the power of the mighty Khanate, or a more subdued Grief. It’s a painful listen. “Powers That Be” shockingly clears away all the lingering dope haze with an initially powerful rush of hardcore thrash that comes from the same speedfreak madness of Rudimentary Peni and Dark Angel. Then the lethargy takes hold and the music remolds itself into a classic doom stomp, built around riffing worthy of the Melvins or doom-era Black Flag. A special mention must go to the throat and mind-shredding vocals — very Khanate-level visceral. “The Basilisk” continues the very effective injection of metal flourishes and punk viciousness into the more despairing/languid doom template. So the screaming/straining vocals remind me of Attila Csihar or Jeff Walker circa Carcass, and the mosh riff is pure thrash goodness, although slooooowed down to a ponderous chug, coupled with coffin-lid drumming that’s at a perfect half-speed, and the result is pretty much as euphoric in repetition and mood as the preciseness of Neu and Stereolab — it’s that one killer riff that you just want the band to play over and over again. And they do! “Caterpillar” (I’m fucking digging these classic song titles) incorporates southern boogie into doom shuffle but beats you over the fucking head with it in terms of intensity, so all enjoyment is drained and you’re like one of those Cenobites in that club scene in Hellraiser, just a slave. It then slows down into wrist-slashing, waves of mono-chord agony and screaming like the feral first Asphyx album. That’s what this is all about. Fistula end it all with a cold wind or a hollow death rattle.

Fistula are real fucking contenders in the doom genre. I’m as impressed by them as I was by Warhorse’s early efforts. Burmese, they’ll go over huge with the Load Records crowd or Whitehouse masochists. Well done to Crucial Blast for uniting them on one disc.

Cruciable Blast: www.crucialblast.net

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