By the time that whole 12K/Line crew of ultra-ultra-ultra-minimalists
had taken noise to some sort of wholly holy level in which atonalism
equated to the angelic hum of fluorescent light buzz, in that glow you
could feel the blow of changing winds and changing pop-cultural whims.
As the new millennium ticked over in a computer-compliant haze of
tasteful laptop tonalism, you could feel both the angry young kids and
the crusty old vets longing for the return of some, well, noisy noise.
The years since haven't let the team down, either, and, whilst there've
been grand-scale/grandstanding capital-e events proclaiming the glories
of (a) musical violence/theatrics the Merzbow Merzbox, the Throbbing
Gristle reunion the greatest barometer of this sea change has been the
terrifying ascent of dissolute dread/dead-zone zombies Wolf Eyes.
Hailing from Detroit, the combo arose in the wake of a mid-'90s Motor
City scene (see: The GI & The Spykes, The Thin Ensemble, Universal
Indians) that the NME never wrote about. Nate Young first
Frankensteined Wolf Eyes to life in the dingiest depths of such a
setting, marrying guttural hominid howls to droning paleo-techno thud
programmed at the most painfully slow pace. With longtime friends John
Olson and Aaron Dilloway (vets of the above parenthesised acts) brought
on board on reel-to-reel tapes and home-fried electronics, the trio
transmogrified into an "electronics transformation" outfit.
Using the same sort of musical idiom as Finnish macho-techno
micro-tonalists Pan Sonic remorseless, inhumane beats, thudding
lifelessly in an ambient "wasteland" Wolf Eyes seem more in league
with a different set of Scandinavian extremists, appealing to the same
sort of primal nihilism that the church-burning Burzumites of Norway's
nascent black-metal movement tapped into in the mid-'90s, their
sludge-toned slowed-down grind sounding like a strung-out scream of
helpless anguish every bit the metal-esque cry of rage. Blessed with
the aesthetic of the down-home scene they'd grown from, the combo made
their name issuing unending runs of limited cassettes, collectors now
eBaying at the moon for the chance to own some of the precious missives
eked out in those early days when Wolf Eyes were first learning to
crawl. Following on from the strangely psychedelic/kraut-like mantras
of Dead Hills, the outfit made the grandest step in their unlikely
crossover, signing to Sub Pop. But, in a classic non-careerist move,
Wolf Eyes've used their breadwinning/bread-making opportunity to
retreat further into the shadowiest recesses of their home-studio cave;
calling Burned Mind "by far (our) most unlistenable thing yet."
Clocking in at 31 vicious minutes and breaking their blasts of
audio-terrorism into short "song-like" sequences, the set take their
haunted-house shtick to frightening extremes. It's the actual musical
match to those photos of disembodied corpses that used to adorn
album sleeves by the likes of Brujeria, Bloodduster, Pungent Stench et
al. back in the death-metal day.