Black Lung – The Soul Consumer (Ad Noiseam)

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Black Lung Since the release of 2009’s Full Spectrum Dominance on Psy-Harmonics, it’s been amusing to watch the conceptual conceits surrounding the creation of David Thrussell’s albums under his Black Lung alias grow ever more ridiculous and over the top. While that aforementioned preceding album saw the determinedly suspicious of government Thrussell apparently being commissioned by the US intelligence organisation DAARPA to produce a record, two years on this latest album The Soul Consumer sees him moving to an even darker subject – cannibalism (something hinted at by the meaty sleeve art). There’s even an elaborate back story provided here describing how Thrussell recorded the 15 tracks here in a safe house on the Andorran border, foregoing his usual vegetarian diet in favour of human flesh, much of it donated willingly by his more ‘devoted’ fans and collaborators (sadly, none of whom survived to see the release of this recording). Thrussell also apparently states that this was a once-off experiment designed to alter his creative outlook and that he’s now resumed his conventional vegan eating habits. What ever the case, once thing is certain ‘The Soul Consumer’ easily represents one of the most punky and riff-driven outings I’ve heard from Thrussell in some time. While ‘Symphony For The Damned’ opens things with a sweep of sinister horror movie orchestration and eerie beeping dial tones, first single ‘The First Tender Cut’s introduces the clattering, tribal drum beats that form the backbone of much of this album, as dark, distorted bass synths and wailing guitar fretwork collide in a manner that sits somewhere between Suicide and Two Lone Swordsmen, mobile phone distortion echoing through the mix shortly before getting dragged down into a black hole of filtering. The same jerky punk-informed rhythms power through the wiry sounding ‘The Soul Consumer’, with the splashy live cymbals adding a fluid sense of energy to the pulsating synth-bass riffs and whining synth figures, while ‘Sapphic Trysts And Burnt Lips’ sees Thrussell building the entire groove around a ‘Peter Gunn’-esque synth-guitar riff and then sending things tumbling through a furious of chaotically bleeping analogue synths and crashing tribal drums, the end results curiously calling to mind Fat Truckers’ electro-stomp. While driving rock drum patterns certainly power beneath much of this album’s tracklisting, the creepy ‘Nights Dreaming Of The Slab’ offers up a descent into ominous dark ambient, complete with disturbing scraping textures and what sounds like masking tape being stretched, while ‘If The Soul Resides In The Flesh’ sees Thrussell venturing further into pure noise territory as whirring sawmill tones buzz relentlessly through a thick gauze of distortion and intertwining atonal drones, the almost hypnotic atmosphere periodically disrupted with sharp bursts of static. There’s also a nod back towards Black Lung’s early dark acid-techno excursions with ‘Mr Love Teeth’, which sees oppressive 4/4 kickdrums battling for space with moody synth stabs and poisonous levels of overdriven distortion. Think of this as a dark punk-rock mambo for the coming apocalypse; and as always, it’s anyone’s guess as to where Thrussell will go next. Chris Downton

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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands

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