MERZBANNON  self-titled  LP   (Tizona)   15.98

Part remix project, part collaboration, this project teams up the Japanese noise god Merzbow with the midwestern post-hardcore band Racebannon and has Masami Akita taking their album Satan's Kicking yr Dick In and reshapes it into a massive skull-destroying noise rock beast. This really isn't at all what I was expecting from this record...the first side features Merzbow taking a propulsive drum loop from the album and running it through a gauntlet of distortion, and then proceeds to pile miles of spacey effects, elongated guitar riffs, vicious oscillating electronics, caustic noise, feedback and other sounds on top, turning the snippet of the song into a stretched out nuclear strength krautrock jam, the drums plodding forward infinitely beneath the hellstorm of chaotic noise and making the track amazingly hypnotic and trance inducing in spite of how crushingly loud and noisy it is. At the end, the drums are pushed way up in the mix and struggle to overtake over the ocean of noise while more squiggly electronics are dumped over the recording, and then it finally skids to a halt. Whoa! Pretty intense.

The flipside uses the same source material, but in this case the result is WAY more chaotic and frenzied, a backwards drum loop and howling vocals are torn apart and splattered with distorted riffing and more caustic noise, still kinda hypnotic and propulsive with that clanking beat off in the background, but htere is so much guitar noise and mangled electronics going on here that it's way more chaotic and terrifying. The barely recognizeable riffs are chopped up and looped, as are chunks of vocals and bass, then rearranged into horrific, vaguely grooving tangles of acidic high end skree. That side is really vicious, and puts even the noise-wrecked sludge of Grave In The Sky to shame.

NOTE: the record is technically supposed to be played at 45rpm, but the label also states that they are totally cool if you want to listen to it at 33 rpm, which I personally highly recommend. These two tracks are pretty fucking fierce when played at their proper speed, but if you downshift to 33 rpm and listen to them (especially the first side), oh man, is this heavy...at that speed, the tracks turn into monstrously heavy distorted dirges, like Grave In The Sky time a thousand, a massive churning growling noise-blasted sludgescape that threatened to cave my ribcage in the first time I listened to it at top volume. Nice!

Released in a limited editoon (of what, I dunno, the label website is tragically out of date) on clear vinyl, and includes an MP3 download code.