Thursday 28 March 2019

Bastard Noise/Xiphoid Dementia - Human Extinction Engine

Labels: Scry Recordings/Phage Tapes/Existence Establishment/Terror
Formats: Vinyl
Release Date: 01 Mar 2019


1. Xiphoid Dementia - Malevolence
2. Xiphoid Dementia - Spirals
3. Xiphoid Dementia - Fangs
4. Bastard Noise - Avenge The Global Animal Holocaust By Any Means Necessary
5. Bastard Noise - Mandatory Human Exit
6. Bastard Noise - Cries From The Pterosaur Graveyard
7. Bastard Noise - Extraterrestrial Spring Evening

Tonight's review material is one that I approach with great caution. It features music from long-running US electronic/industrial project Xiphoid Dementia and Bastard Noise, the noise alter-ego of legendary power-violence act Man Is The Bastard. This split was released on vinyl at the beginning of the month via Scry Recordings, Phage Tapes and Existence Establishment in the US, as well as Terror from Lithuania. Egan from Existence Establishment was very kind and sent me over a copy of the record, which came on brown vinyl with red, white and black marbling. 

Side A belongs to Xiphoid Dementia and opener Malevolence is filled with scary noise-scapes and electronics that are akin to Author & Punisher. It’s a song layered with various elements of torturous noise that in turn are joined by equally harrowing spoken word samples. The subject matter of the sample here will give you chills and a genuine sense of horror, more so than any fictional horror movie could ever do.

Lengthier compositions are prevalent within this sub-genre and after the near seven-minute opener, Spirals surpasses that mark with a haunting ambience that’s stripped-back and minimal. It may still be early in the song at this point but it’s still enough to put your subconscious into overdrive. The further you get into Spirals, the greater the feeling of foreboding peace becomes, until more of the chilling samples emerge. Journeys without words can sometime be even more vivid and this is no exception.

Orchestral textures give XD’s final song Fangs a much more musical feel, in a traditional sense. It follows the theme laid out by Spirals and reminds you that all is not well. You may think that you’re of sound mind and body but this will convince you otherwise, even as the dark-jazz instrumentation drags it to it’s conclusion. 

Bastard Noise begins with Avenge The Global Animal Holocaust By Any Means Necessary, which is  a song aimed squarely at those who kill animals and it’s genuinely terrifying glitchy, screech-laden noise that I’m scared to turn up too loud. The vocals are deep growls that at times are whispered and are shrieked at others. Structurally it’s way more chaotic and abstract than XD’s offerings but that’s no criticism. There’s nowhere to hide.

Mandatory Human Exit is the first of two short numbers from Bastard Noise and it’s the last one with vocals. Minimalist and with an undercurrent of white-noise that’s difficult to escape from. High frequencies and piercing electronic sound manipulation that brings to mind a broken ADSL line, while being indulging also. Following that, Cries From The Pterosaur Graveyard delivers images of a futuristic re-awakening of the dinosaurs from their infinite slumber. 

From there, a chill wind blows over you as Extraterrestrial Spring Evening plucks you from the earth and drops you onto a distant and dystopian planet where only your thoughts keep you company. Whalesong-like electronic noises dominate this final track alongside more distant ambience. Providing a time for reflection is very clever and that reflection is needed, as you try to soak up what is both alien and comforting.

I’ve always skirted along the edges of the harsh noise/power-electronics genres, afraid to jump into the deep perilous waters but hearing this collaboration, it makes more sense to me now. Both Xiphoid Dementia and Bastard Noise show that their collective experiences both as musical projects and beings on this earth, have helped to forge ornate and thought-provoking soundscapes.

You can stream Mandatory Human Exit by Bastard Noise as well as Xiphoid Dementia's Malevolence below:-

You can buy vinyl copies from the labels below:-

Existence Establishment -

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