The second disc in this killer Kino series of early Skullflower reissues, Form Destroyer is another classic slab from the band's early days, re-mastered and re-released in new packaging along with a bunch of amazing bonus tracks, making this pretty essential for fans of the band who have been hunting for the extremely hard-to-find original release. Along with Birthdeath, Xaman, and Black Sun Rising, this stuff is required listening for anyone into the 80's UK industrial/noise rock underground, and the Form Destroyer album in particular shows just how heavy a racket a bunch of ratty British kids on cheap blotter acid could produce. Form Destroyer was the band's first full length album following their seminal Birthdeath 12", released in 1989 on Broken Flag to an entirely unprepared audience. Made up of Stefan Jaworzyn (Ascension, ex-Whitehouse), Matthew Bower (Pure) and Gary Mundy (Ramleh) along with a couple of guest players, this version of Skullflower deconstructed the standard rock format and mutated it into a monstrously distorted, FX-mutated monstrosity that would prove to be highly influential on an entire generation of musical extremists, sludge rockers and amplifier-destroyers in the following decade.
The disc opens with two colossal unreleased tracks that were recorded around the time of the Birthdeath sessions, "Serve No Master" and "Serve No Purpose", both of 'em grueling exercises in repetitious Swans-esque pummel, howling guitar noise and heavily drugged verbal slime. The first song bashes in the listeners skull nonstop for eight minutes with its thuggish caveman pounding and brain-burning FX overload, while the latter is a bit more subdued, with weird dubby vocals echoing over the black plumes of melodious feedback, the rhythmic scrape of the guitar, and veins of rumbling bass drone that seep out of the amplifiers, turning this into a strangely dreamy bit of bottom-heavy drone rock. Then there's the two tracks that appeared on the 1990 anthology CD Ruins, "Eat The Stars" and "Black Ass Bone", crushing slow-motion black-hole dirges awash in searing psychedelic guitar noise and effects, the drums locked in an off-kilter, elephantine rhythm, stomping hypnotically through the whirling cosmic slime, heavy and monotonous and totally fried, the latter song one of Skullflower's heaviest, a squalling malevolent dirge underscored with some crushing distorted pummel that sort of resembles early Godflesh.
The last six tracks all make up the band's 1988 12" Form Destroyer, and it's amazingly some of the band's heaviest, most spaced out music ever, thanks in part to Matt Bower's seemingly syrup-soaked performance. On songs like "Elephant's Graveyard", Skullflower move at lugubriously slow tempos, a sort of Sabbathian drag, lumbering loosely over the glacial pound of the drums, the band locking into this seriously intense apocalyptic quasi-space rock. The guitars blast off deep into the void, streaking wah-drenched drones and eerie, ethereal melodies moving through solar gases and the vast glare of deep space nebulae. This shit is crushing, especially considering when it came out in the late 80s - aside from Swans and Godflesh, I can't think of anyone else around in '88 doing anything nearly this heavy. The band cut a wide swathe through the cosmos on that song, a doomed Hawkwind jam drenched in cough syrup and stretched waaaaay out into something crushingly beautiful. The looping, circular psych rock of "Big Muff" is bathed in strange, almost Middle Eastern-influenced melodies and a bright irradiated glow, and "Thirsty Animal" is a driving, droning feedback jam that really picks up steam when a pounding motorik Steve Shelley style floor-tom beat drops in. Former Coil member and underground film scribe Steven Thrower shows up again on "Woodland Death March" and "Solar Anus", where Bower swaps seats with Thrower and delivers a distorted, menacing bass riff that cuts through the dense delay-drenched guitar noise fog and menacing vocals; the latter is another of my all-time favorite Skullflower songs, where they unleash tendrils of corrosive psych-shred over an intensely catchy, sludge-encrusted hook. The last song "Procession Of Eternity" is another favorite of mine, one of the few older Skullflower tracks that drops the drums completely, and unfurls vast sheets of rumbling amplifier drone, buzzing squelchy synth-like noise, delirious vocals drifting way off in the distance, and bursts of ominous, fractured electronics.
Absolutely essential. Like the other entries in this reissue series, Form Destroyer comes in a glossy four panel gatefold jacket with new artwork by Matt Bower, and includes a printed inner sleeve and booklet with new liner notes, reviews and other archival material.