Forerunners of the industrial doom/sludge sound, Pitch Shifter started off in the British underground metal/noise scene of the early 90s as an unabashed bit of Godflesh worship, cloning the pounding Swans-influenced industrial rhythms, feedback-streaked monolithic riffing and apocalyptic vibe of Streetcleaner and dragged that sound into darker, heavier realms. After the band signed on to Earache, their crushing industrial dirge reached an apex of skull-battering heaviness with the remix/studio track collection Submit and the follow-up album Desensitized, and in my book both of these discs are crucial albums within the spectrum of ultra-heavy, dystopian mechanical sludge. After this period, the band would move into a more commercial techno/drum n' bass sound that I wasn't too keen on, but the 1991-1993 era is total crush. With all of the industrial-tinged doom that I've been listening to lately (Human Quena Orchestra, Black Sun, Hordes Of Satan, Vennt, Nevath, Wicked King Wicker, etc.), it was just a matter of time before I pulled out my early Pitch Shifter albums and gave them a fresh listen, and I've been rediscovering how much of a devastating listen these Earache titles still are. Niether of these discs have been carried here at Crucial Blast before, but both of these are essential listening for fans of industrial-influenced sludge.
The first release for their then-new label Earache, 1992's Submit only partially moves beyond the heavy Godflesh influence that marked their early releases. The hypnotic down tuned riffing and (especially) the wailing feedback leads all still heavily smack of that early Godflesh sound, but at this point Pitch Shifter had begun to introduce more death metal elements (in the form of much deeper, more guttural death metal-style vocals, heavier sludgier riffs, bursts of speed that sometimes approached full-on thrash), and whenever the band would rest the grinding guitars and bellowing vokills for a moment, the stretches of purely percussive, mechanical drum-machine throb and samples could evoke the grimy clatter of 80's industrial in a way that Godflesh was rarely able to. Submit features a selection of re-recorded tracks from their debut Death Industrial 7" and the Peaceville album Industrial, a new instrumental track called "Silo", and live versions of "Deconstruction" and "Landfill". If you had an itch to hear a death metal version of Godflesh, then this is what you'd been waiting for.