Tapes » Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship In the Slaughterhouse

Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship In the Slaughterhouse

Flesh Coffin – “Devil Worship In the Slaughterhouse” Tape (Out Of Body Records, 2011)


Foxy Digitalis:

Flesh Coffin, “Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse” tape
March 28, 2012
By Nicholas Zettel

There are a couple of moments on this tape that provide deep sound, an inexplicable vision of melody in the midst of a torturous chamber of noise. It’s not that Flesh Coffin’s late 2011 release, Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse (Out-Of-Body) is full of unrelenting noise; the noise is unpredictable, mechanical, and real. Yet, as both sides progress, there are undercurrents of low synthetic frequencies, or brief moments of churning drone and ominous decay. The tape is worth more than the double takes and left turns throughout both sides, but those double takes are what latch onto the minds of psych freaks like myself.

The tone of the entire affair is fittingly ominous, matching the bleak cassette design and title. I’m not one to categorically condemn devil worship as a negative thing (should I even type that on the internet?), but the ominous tone does work for the slaughterhouse setting. Percussion sounds like banging steel, and even the synthetic blasts of noise sound like repetitive, industrial chambers. Churning, saturated distortion and scraping synthetic noise blasts accompany scraping broken glass throughout the first side. Maddening scraping — you’ll feel it in your teeth.

Melodic moments provide perfect contrast to these synthetic bursts and scraping blasts, because it becomes difficult to discern if this tape is simply a methodical demolition, or rather, clearing the way for something else. Is it the ritual that is destructive, or does the ritual only begin once the slaughterhouse is cleared? By the time that low, synth bass undertones– leaning toward synth-sounds rather than noise — appear on the first side, I’m beginning to suspect that this entire affair is proceeding to a moment, or a theme.

Side two features more head turning moments. Wayward, percussive steel clanging invokes the spirit of steel drums. Harsh crashing and a modulated synth riff build to piercing (piercing!) feedback. The scene continues until it all drops out. There stands that ominous decay, distant background noise that closes the set on a rather unsettling note. Whereas some of the surprises on the first side were melodic in nature, this surprise is psychological. Suddenly, emerging from this dense, explosive landscape — notion.

Contrasting, surprising themes between both sides frame the outbursts of noise and synthetic blasts that occur throughout the tape.


Memory Wave Transmission:

Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse (C30, Out-of-Body Records)

It always amazes me how much darkness Flesh Coffin can produce on each subsequent release. It’s an art form to feel that oppressed when listening to noise; the drones and shudders of Andreas Brandal’s work shine forth in exquisite detail on this cassette from Out-of-Body Records, and the eerie artwork of the j-card (notice the child’s face on the seam!) adds that extra dimension.

Two side-long tracks split up the tape, each side coming in around fourteen minutes in length. “Stage 1? is a noisy mix of contact mic’d junk, chimes or bells, and often swirling synth sounds that mix together for an industrial drone. The track subtly shifts between pared-back notes of darkness and explosions of sharp electronics, meaning the listener gets little time to rest before being bombarded with a surprising jolt of sound. Sometimes you can hear the quick edit cuts; other times, Flesh Coffin routinely shifts into scratchy static mode. It makes everything very unstructured, and there’s no reason to expect anything other than random shifts from quiet to loud.

“Stage 2? is similar, starting off with a distant industrial clatter accompanied by a droning of synth work. Flesh Coffin provides ample evidence that this recording was in fact done in a slaughterhouse, as much of the noise sounds derived from chains and metal smacking against each other, like cows being carted off to the grinder. It builds into static and another wave of crunchy, shifting electronics, often piled on top of another into a makeshift wall, although purists won’t find Flesh Coffin’s noise rigid enough. Instead, there’s an expansion to “Stage 2?, often with new layers until we get to a very out-of-tune organ playing a rhythm the phantom of the opera would enjoy.

Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse moves quickly, offering up slabs of harsh noise and then backing off for more sinister drones before hitting full-force again. It’s a swift piece, and Flesh Coffin knows how to produce dark passages that explode at surprising times. Flesh Coffin is a portrayal of those dimly lit places of the mind; in this case, the slaughterhouse is your brain after this tape finishes.


Existence Establishment:

Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship In The Slaughterhouse C30

Out-of-Body Records

This my first exposure to Flesh Coffin and goddamn is it a good one! Devil Worship In The Slaughterhouse is a varied harsh noise album that features some very textured junk noise thrown in there. Glass, metal, dirt, and various other kinds of grit make up a dynamic and shifting bed of sound on these 2 tracks, each which span close to the full length of their side.

Simply entitled Stage 1 side A almost has a cut-scene scenario going on. Like a short documentary on complete and utter destruction this is one quick scene of gritty filth after another. I can just imagine things falling apart in various ways, sewers being upturned, dumpsters being chewed up by heavy machinery and various other types of horrible industrial waste. The distortion will overload the other elements once in a while adding a very crunchy organic sound here. The nearest comparison I can think of is that it’s like a heavier, more aggressive Hum of The Druid. The one strange thing about this track, is how the ending drops off quickly to a sound that is very similar to a droning sitar.

Side B follows up with Stage 2 which is a track that features some great developments. First we have the build-up towards the beginning. A heavy scrap metal piece slowly building into a repetitive shifting kind of loop stutters before a blast of alternating harshness ensues. The bulk of the track is this monolithic shifting texture of harsh noise but there are moments that stop for some harmonic synth sounds, not really drones but more like a creepy 80s film soundtrack. It’s an odd pairing but somehow Flesh Coffin flawlessly pulls it off.

I’m left utterly impressed by this strong effort. For a project I’m not familiar with this is some absolutely great stuff. The texture is certainly my favorite part and Flesh Coffin has a great way of harnessing all the different shifting sounds, distortion effects, junk manipulation and field recordings. A dynamic recording that works so well for repeated listening, yet still as harsh and filthy as ever.


Dead Formats:

Flesh Coffin – Devil Worship in the Slaughterhouse
Out of Body Records

Jesus Christ. Where does Flesh Coffin get to record? This is another onslaught of just pure focused destruction. Mountains of smashing plate glass and dump trucks full of old bed frames explode from a huge wall of pure distortion. It’s pretty awe inspiring. This is very much in line with the last release I reviewed from Flesh Coffin. It’s dark and heavy HNW punctuated by some fierce smashing of belongings. Thank the Elder Gods. This is another worthy release from Out of Body Records, limited to 100 copies. Go.


Heathen Harvest:


Analog-based junk metal and harsh electronics is the name of the game for this European harsh noise performer. A sharp and committed analog sound in the recording itself, and this piece of music comes across as a thoughtful bit of composed improvisation. Similar in tone to the work of the Finnish artist Sick Seed, but with an inclination toward the inclusion of junk metal cut-up noise sections that are edited in a very precise manner. These sections switch back and forth with pure noise sections of ambient room recordings and the like, giving a schizophrenic atmosphere that underlies the ritualistic and frenzied mood expressed by the title of the piece of music. This cassette is out, incidentally, on the nascent North Texas noise/industrial label Out Of Body Records, run by the House Of Tinnitus’ Rob Buttrum. Excellent dubbing on this release, very full and rich analog sound as well as a well-recorded original piece. There is an industrial feel to the mood of the release but ultimately it harkens back to the 90s American noise era of artists like Sickness and Macronympha. The tape noise elements come in where there are minutes of crackly static and feedback sounds, great textures that work very well within this project. Many different sounds come together in this work, creating a schizophrenic atmosphere that is at times disorienting.

The mood of this pieces is violent and manipulated, as rushing walls of noise give way to a break and eventually changes into another set of sounds. Side two begins with room sounds with metal banging and the echo and atmosphere placed alongside a loop with a shimmering and almost hopeful insistent repetition. Different from the cut up noise of side one, the sounds swell together in a strong focus and eventually the loop takes over, guided by some screeching feedback into a compelling and surprisingly engaging middle section of “Devil Worship In The Slaughterhouse.” Electronics rear their head in the form of blown out keyboards and the track again goes into a harsh section of mania-inducing cut-ups interspersed with other recordings. A section in the middle of Side B interrupts with a Gothic-sounding keyboard theme, only to be immolated by a static wall of pulsating electronics. The artist has obviously spent a great deal of time on this recording in order to render it upon the world in the exact manner that it appeared in his head.

Lots of harsh electronics, feedback, pure junk sounds and concrete collage work, blended together in a way that would appeal to both fans of classic 90s American noise as well as more recent work in the cut-up vein, and even fans of the harsher end of Runzelstirn and Gurgelstock, all filtered through an awareness and interest in the Harsh Noise Wall genre. The basic overall effect is that of a “wall” of different blasts of noise and electronics, all put together with care and a deranged intent. The overall feel of the release is dank and cold, sounding like it was recorded in an empty factory occupied only by a small group intent on cult activity. Only rarely will moments of non-noise beauty peek in, and when they do it is particularly effective due to the noise surroundings. The blend of recorded actual sounds and electronics create an unreal environment in a highly effective manner, and after listening to this a few times there are parts that stick out as being particularly memorable and haunting. You can hear the work and intention that went into the making of this release, a deep listening experience that definitely is worth a listen for fans of well-arranged harsh noise. (Joseph Gates) – Rating 5/5


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