Monday, 24 December 2018

ALBUM REVIEW: Author & Punisher, "Beastland"

By: Elliot Paisley

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 05/10/2018
Label: Relapse Records

The savagery does not dilute in the presence of melody, and instead, it complements the moments of pure mayhem that are indeed present throughout.

“Beastland” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Pharmacide
2. Nihil Strength
3. Ode to Bedlam
4. The Speaker is Systematically Blown

5. Nazarene
6. Apparition
7. Night Terror
8. Beastland

The Review:

There is no artist in the world quite like Author & Punisher. One may accuse such a statement of hyperbole or ignorance, but when one analyses the character of the man and the nature of his work, it is clear such art is being made without relevant precedent. Aesthetically there is influence from Godflesh, Nine Inch Nails and Throbbing Gristle, but even those bands feel entirely distant from what Stone is producing. While the project can be loosely defined as a ‘one-man industrial doom metal band’, when one discovers the story behind it and the music being produced, this feels woefully lacking.

Tristan Stone, the brainchild ofA&P , is not just a musician, but also a mechanical engineer. This may sound like unnecessary trivia, but it is important to bear in mind when listening to this album. The majority of the instrumentation and controllers he uses, affectionally labeled "Dub Machines" and "Drone Machines", are designed and constructed by Shone from raw materials and electronic circuitry. This level of individualism scares off pretenders, who are simply incapable of recreating it. His live performances employ the same tools, and visually it barelen resembles a musical recital.
“Beastland” is his 6th studio album, but it was only on his album “Melk En Honing” when the music world at large appeared to finally take notice. While it is evident that the metal community has been far more welcoming of Author & Punisher than experimental music circles, he is just at home in both. A guest appearance on Cattle Decapitation’s 2015 effort “The Anthropocene Extinction” endeared him and signing to Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records endeared him further to metal fans, to the point where Relapse Records took notice and employed him on their roster 2 years ago. Following up “Melk En Honing” was no easy task, and many feared that A&P, like their influences, was doomed to fall into repetition and not explore the necessary frontiers

However, on this album, perhaps with the confidence that comes with the backing of a cult fanbase, Author & Punisher has strode into even more experimental territory. This is the most wildly diverse album he’s released thus far, and for that reason, it is also his finest achievement. Music of this nature can wear on one’s psyche upon repeated, unrelenting listens. However, “Beastland”, with its refreshing experimentation and unwillingness to compromise, cures this ill. While there are plenty of ‘home comforts’ (for lack of a better term) present here, with such songs as “Pharmacide”, “Nihil Strength” and “Night Terror” providing the unrelenting, atonal bludgeoning fans have grown so dependent on, A&P remains unafraid to explore new horizons. “Apparition” and “The System Has Systematically Blown” sees Stone channelling his inner Trent Reznor, as his will for arcane melody bleeds through to the surface. This is the closest they have come to replicating the style of another band, and it would possibly prove problematic to fans, was it not done to such a marvellous standard. The savagery does not dilute in the presence of melody, and instead, it complements the moments of pure mayhem that are indeed present throughout.

This album is also the most complete work in his discography: never before has he released a collection as all-encompassing with as an impressive a scope as here. From the opening crushing moments of “Pharmacide”, likely to liquidize your teeth if listened to at too unforgiving a volume, to the closing moments of the title track, an angular and alluring finale, the album drags you through a merciless nightmare, meticulously engineered by Stone. In the past, he has shown promise of such accomplished creativity, but all his past works pale in comparison to what has been done here.

Author & Punisher remain one of the most exciting acts in underground music, and it is only a matter of time before the world at large acknowledges the importance of his work. Whether it be in our lifetime or simply in the coming years, let it be known that Tristan Stone will receive the praise he deserves beyond his existing community, and “Beastland” is all the proof necessary.

“Beastland” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook