Black Sheep Wall - _No Matter Where It Ends_
(Season of Mist, 2012)
by: Dan Lake (8 out of 10)
Modern extreme metal offers a disturbing dearth of untempered noise. Ignore that just about everyone you know thinks it's -all- impenetrably noisy. We know better. What they experience as dense and unforgiving dissonance, we hear as layers of ideas supported by conspicuous musicianship and emotional intensity. What we hear less of -- as the duel continues between musicians favoring pristine sonic clarity and the slavering masses opposing all studio embellishments -- is bleak and unholy waves of skull-to-the-belt-sander style noise. Sure, Merzbow's prolific enough to piss off even the most extreme noise terrorist, but he can't have turned us off to any sporadic and poignant inclusions of harsh, twisted signals. Right?

Black Sheep Wall hardly bring the 'bow, but they don't shy away from the occasional screechy feedback attack. Their sophomore slab _No Matter Where It Ends_ pounds the earth with the size, weight, and enraged sloth of _Trollhunter_'s superb J├Âtnar. (Anyone reading about world-scorching doom riffage who hasn't seen this Norwegian monster masterpiece needs to get on that shit ASAP.) Imagine Gaza playing with Sunn O)))'s tuning, or a grind band if they slowed down to one-eighth speed and hated you even fucking more than they already fucking hate you right fucking now. Listening to BSW's downtuned madness for more than twenty minutes will make you start hating yourself, and they've packed a full hour of it onto this grim plastic platter.

All of which would earn the record a solid 7 or so on CoC's 10-point scale, if that's all there was to it. But _No Matter Where It Ends_ claws toward greatness with hulking injections of processed noise and field recordings that add color (or at least an oil puddle's fractured reflections) to the album's paranoid pummeling. Opener "Agnostic Demon" (and how freaking cool is that title?) makes room deep in its mix for staticky signal rape; follow-up "Liminality" dissolves into quivering tone sewage; "Cognitive Dissonance" breaks into the disc's gargantuan beatdown to offer a gradually intensifying circus of industrial ambiance; and final track "Flesh Tomb" caps nine minutes of metal mayhem with three minutes of all-out amusical scree.

_No Matter Where It Ends_ is about as lovable as a rabid porcupine who lived last month in a diesel exhaust pipe and recently rolled in rotten fish guts and lighter fluid. Who wants a hug?

Contact: http://www.season-of-mist.com/

(article published 2/4/2012)


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