Heathen Harvest x Minotaur

I usually don’t care about artwork. For art that’s built with sound, noise music should probably have absolutely no regard for whatever’s wrapped around a CDr or cassette. But the first thing I noticed about “Obsession” was its imagery. The literal first thing you see when you look at it is this ass. It’s a woman’s ass, to be exact; she’s bent over, complete with a thong, and an 80s hairstyle. The ass is so perfectly positioned to conform to the rule of thirds that your eyes just automatically go to it. Around her ass is a sea of signifiers. There’s a font that looks like it was printed on an early Macintosh computer. Next to the font are lines that should be glowing neon in a strip mall. Some collage eyes and a lamp are next to that half naked chick. On the back of the jewel case, we find the Minotaur logo mixing Coil’s black sun with a buzzsaw. There’s appropriately some bondage porn inside the foldout too. All in all, it’s probably the best artwork I’ve seen in years. It’s beautiful and made me as titillated as I was when I first laid eyes on a GWAR, Misfits, or Marilyn Manson release. And let’s be honest. Those were the highest achievements of rock ever.
I usually don’t give blow-by-blow descriptions of every track on an album. It’s boring for readers, and more importantly, it’s tedious for me to write. However, “Obsession” is a portal into another dimension. If I don’t write you a guidebook, then you’ll be utterly lost. You’ll also lose your mind in the process of listening to it. The album’s opener has some whispers juxtaposed with extremely high-pitched tones. It’s a harsh introduction and pushes the listener away. Don’t be discouraged. The second track sounds like a cover of Bloodminded; it’s short and beeps really fast. It also has some screaming. In contrast, the following “Solider” is longer and surprisingly features beats made from a cheap drum machine. It reminds me of what Prurient’s been making lately in collaboration with Alberich. I’ll talk about the fourth track later. Anyway, the fifth is full of PE and industrial nods. The rhythm has the quality of machinery during peak hours of production. There’s also a fitting line about the “chain of a slave.” The song ends with the equally unnerving observation: “she smells like honey.” Track six, “The Hunger in her Womb,” is just filthy PE. It begins with a low drone that quickly mutates into a pitch shifted and looped synthesizer. It’s immensely similar to track ten, the closer, in that it too follows a simple PE formula. “Blurred by the Violence Pt. 2” interestingly copies the exact same beat on the third song. Yet, the vocals are pitch shifted down to an almost comical slow motion crawl. And it would be comical if it didn’t feel like a serial killer returning to the scene of a crime. It would also be a lot less creepy if the drumbeat didn’t abruptly change into the sound of gunshots. At this point, you begin to realize there’s a narrative emerging about a sexually obsessed murderer. I, unfortunately, had to eerily find out later that the lyrics on “Obsession” were randomly chosen from Anais Nin’s Delta of Venus. If you’re unfamiliar, Delta of Venus is 40s erotica on the subject of abuse, prostitution, and homosexuality as seen from the perspective of a female. Anyway, the eighth track sounds like another Bloodyminded cover. Finally, the second to last track, “The Hunger in her Womb Pt. 2“,” is the most experimental. It finds Minotaur heavily relying upon vocals looped over and over again until they collapse. It is the chain of a slave.
I usually don’t get excited about noise music these days. To say that the genre is dying is an understatement. Lineups that used to pack clubs in major cities are struggling to find basement venues. Bands that used to go on successful national and international tours have disbanded. Worse, the music itself is typically lifeless nowadays. But there’s one exception to be found on Minotaur’s “Obsession.” The fourth track has a brutal rhythm that makes me uncontrollably headbang. The beat was probably put through an 8-bit filter on GarageBand, but it’s effective nonetheless. It’s even more so with the vocals. The track starts off with another pitch shifted microphone. But this time the voice sounds like the narrator on Mortal Kombat who yells fight and does the countdowns – I think it’s Shao Kahn, but I’m not sure. In any case, the combination is lethal and causes one to suspect there’s a deeper, creepier story lurking within “Obsession” – besides Nin’s Delta of Venus. If you happen to be a closeted fan of extreme, dirty power electronics qua Twodeadslutsonegoodfuck, Consumer Electronics, Whitehouse, Yellow Tears, Grunt, Bloodyminded, and Nicole 12, then buy now!
Rating: 4/5
Written by: Pomo Brian
Label (s): Phage Tapes (US) + The Institute for Organic Conversations (US)/ Format: CD / Cat. #: PT:160
Track listing:
1 Blurred by the Violence
2 Lilith was Cold
3 Solider
4 Possession
5 Honey
6 The Hunger in her Womb
7 Blurred by the Violence Pt. 2
8 Her Blood was Fire
9 Possession Pt. 2
10 The Hunger in her Womb Pt. 2

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