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An onslaught of extended improvised noise workouts: senseless, abrasive, messy, directionless and ear-wracking. This description right away will dissuade many, but then again there is some fantastic noise.
It feels in fact like, after the extended underworldly travail filled with nightmares and dissolute mystery, the journey finally begins to turn back to the surface. There’s a weary optimism here that I can relate to – and the whole album to this point is like a microcosm for all dark journeys of the heart.
Raw and wild, the music careens in stately fashion from one multiverse to the next, yet it always feels like a brilliance is guiding the arrangements and compositions. A deranged but masterful vision coaxes the helm of this wild and beastly ship on its voyage through the cosmos.
The end results though are something else. Jason manipulates the sounds in such a manner that is strangely exotically hypnotic. He crafts a little bit of drone here, bit of dark ambience there and even ventures into the soft / hard rhythmic variety of music currently for sale on the Ant Zen label.
“A Reassuring Voice On The Television” brings together the rather unique talent pool that Hermetique has cultivated in its short but impressive history as a label. Each artist featured on the release brings their own individual musical voice to the release forming a daunting album of more than sixty-seven minutes of some of the darkest ambient that has yet been mustered. This is not the expectable dark rumblings and expansive drones that have sadly become common place within the genre. The artists featured on “A Reassuring Voice On The Television” each process the dark ambient aesthetic through a heavily industrialized filter that lends their music a particular edge that defines their output apart from many of the other offerings in this field of music.
As a reviewer, I often come into this conflict about whether or not I really have the right to call an album bad or good. I have the conflict of trying to figure out whether i enjoy it or not. I have the conflict of not being able to trash a band based on their genre of choice. If I get a hardcore album in, I can't just say I hate it because I hate hardcore music. I have to give it a definitive look and listen and make my personal judgements based off that. A Second from the Surface once again brings me at several of these conflicts. Truthfully, to me, this sounds like metallic noise. But I like noise. It's powerful, its thick, and its immensely heavy for three men from the polar site of the United States. For grindcore, its also incredibly melodic which makes it a great deal more unique than most of the other bands like them in currently infesting this country.
A series of instrumental soundscape pieces splits the album into three
sections, ‘Adrift (The Albatross I)’ starts things off with ominous
chants and crashing waves as we depart for open water and unknown
dangers. This is followed by ‘Vast and Endless,’ which howls like a
furious hurricane in the middle of the open ocean. ‘Black Ocean’ is
easily the album’s most orchestral piece, opening with a haunting
keyboard dirge and slow, almost glacial rhythms, cresting into a
bastardized sea shanty until the crescendo finally comes crashing
against the shores with the power of a black tsunami.
It’s fair to say that all the tracks on here are nothing short of sparkling, scintillating and cerebral, something which I consider a rare event for a compilation. Every one of these sixteen offerings had me entranced, something which is an even rarer event. As broad a range of styles as is to be found on here the quality of the selection is outstanding and this has certainly found an occasional home in my CD tray – the artists on here are not afraid to experiment and to take the musical format of their choice to new territories; and for that I thank both them and Bearsuit Records for opening up those new vistas for me.
These ten tracks show that here was a diverse band with a fine line in sneering satirical and faintly opaque surreal wordplay sung in a highly strung out manner over ripping shredded guitars and groovy funky bass lines. They even used a drum machine. Even better though is that they weren’t afraid to go down different musical routes.