If you wrote off Merzbow post-Y2K for not returning to the blistering nuclear noise of seminal early 90's releases like Pulse Demon and Venereology, 2003's Animal Magnatism was the album you need to hear to restore your faith in Masami Akita's ability to scorch the earth with furious high-volume distortion. Knowing that Masami Akita is an outspoken animal rights activist and the loving caretaker of a flock of pet chickens, it's not surprising to see a photo of his birds adorning the front cover for this cd jacket. What was a shock when I first heard this album was that he actually used recordings of his chickens as part of the source material for Animal Magnetism's noisecapes. If anyone else came up with the idea of combining the sounds of clucking chickens withn harsh noise, it would turn out painfully stupid, but on the opening title track, Merzbow does just that and creates a hellish, flesh-peeling assault lashed with distorted guitar loops and deep menacing throb that sounds anything but silly. It's pro-animal rights protest noise, delivered at brain-melting frequencies, and is as violent as any of the master's Relapse-era works. There are mega-distorted guitars on that first track that are so overmodulated and crushing that it sounds like someone was weilding a fucking chainsaw in the studio. The rest of the album is equally brutal, each long track piling on stacks of pulsing psychedelic noise, violently whipsawing oscillator tones, distant booming percussive wound in hypnotic loops, massive sub-bass blasts, and every few minutes, you'll hear those goddam chickens screeching their excoriating, spite-filled squawks, or the distorted bleating of a goat like some fucking acid nightmare at a factory farm. The only break you receive from the hellish miasma of electronic distortion is at the final track, "Pier 39", a more ambient piece of buzzing drones, minimal feedback, snatches of acoustic folk (!), pulsing synths and crackling electrical atmosphere. One of Merzbow's heaviest, and one of the few albums of his from this decade to prominently feature brutal distorted guitars. Comes in a full color gatefold jacket with a Japanese-style obi card.