Saturday 2 November 2013

Gnaw - Horrible Chamber (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 15/10/2013
Label : Seventh Rule Recordings

HORRIBLE CHAMBER, track listing :
1).Humming 5:26
2).Of Embers 5:14
3). Water Rite 7:05
4).  Worm 4:48
5). WidowKeeper 9:43
6). Vulture 6:32
7). The Horrible Chamber 12:05
Bio :
New York’s favorite malignant noise instigators and recent Seven Rule signees, GNAW, will unleash the diseased fruit of their sonic discontent this October. GNAW is the maniacal anti-creation of Alan Dubin (Khanate, Old, O.L.D.), Carter Thornton (Enos Slaughter), Jun Mizumachi (Ike Yard), Brian Beatrice and Eric Neuser. Together they’ve manifested a terrifyingly claustrophobic, seven-track journey of sound where the collective sentiments of fear, trauma, rage and repugnance collide into a cathartic state of brooding, audio disease. Fittingly titled, Horrible Chamber, the follow-up to 2009’s This Face, which Exclaim! proclaimed “noisy, demented and twistedly glorious,” and The Obelisk crowned “extreme, experimental and sonically unpleasant,” was recorded at Seizures Palace by Jason Lefarge (Swans, Akron/Family, Khanate, Angels Of Light), mixed by Brian Beatrice at AudioEngineand mastered by James Plotkin (OLD, Scorn Khanate, Khlyst etc).with additional elements recorded by Beatrice, Dubin, Thornton, and Mizumachi in various chambers.
The Band :
Alan Dubin
Brian Beatrice
Carter Thornton
Eric Neuser
Jun Mizumachi
Review :
I'll be honest, I've had this album in my grubby little hands for a while now without actually being able to fully realise how to accurately convey its existence in words. Gnaw are, as best I can attempt to describe, an experimental doom-noise troupe from New York, featuring within their ranks ex-Khanate vocalist Alan Dubin. Their latest opus of pure terror is the more than appropriately titled 'Horrible Chamber'.
And I'm struggling to review it...
The album begins with 'Humming', an innocent enough illusion. This feeling of innocence is reinforced initially by some simple (yet creepy) piano keys, before it all become clear what the true and vile intentions of this music really are. Ushered in by factory assembly line noise (a bit like that press that crushed the original Terminator), it becomes very disturbing very quickly. And then Dubin opens his mouth, and hell marches forth. His vocals sound like torture tapes, and the lyrics read like excerpts from a padded cell wall featured in a video nasty. It's fucking hard to listen to, man. But in some twisted way it will reward you for your perseverance. It's utterly mystifying. Did I say perseverance? I meant endurance.
'Of Embers' could be praised for its more traditional doom approach, were it not for the fact that it still remains completely horrific. There's no middle ground anywhere here, not even a whiff of fairytale or any kind of happy ending. This ends in a wooden box, every time. EVERY FUCKING TIME. And yet I'm compelled to listen to its hypnotic grimness. Heavy as balls riffs abound. Is there something wrong with me for liking this? This is a serious question, yet like it I certainly do.
'Water Rite' is primarily just a continuous loop of electronic noise. Like a rhythm in the randomness. Like if your kettle could be used to make music. How they manage it, I have no idea. That continuous beat is ritualistic in nature, and could probably be heard echoing through time. Pretty sure it's a warning from the past, most likely translated as "abandon all hope". I really dig this album, but it scares the ever loving shit out of me at the same time.
I'd also like to single out 'Vulture'. Perhaps as 'conventional' as Gnaw are capable of being, it's also maybe one of the heaviest tracks on the entire album, and it all comes down to the rhythm section. As much as the vocals are possibly the star of the show for the most part, here the drums and bass take to the floor like a jackhammer to a skull. Achingly loud and viscerally brutal, the background invades the foreground and stands on your neck. Absolutely incredible effort.
As I mentioned at the start of this quasi-review, or as close as I can get to covering whatever I just subjected myself to for the umpteenth time, I initially struggled to approach any kind of write-up for 'Horrible Chamber'. And that only made me admire it even more. It's well documented within human nature to be drawn in by something that terrifies us. A bit like watching a car wreck. And I suppose that's pretty much what this new Gnaw is - an audio car wreck.
Better buckle up.
Words by : Matt Fitton
You can buy it here