††On No Closure, former Sutekh Hexen members Scott Miller (also of Pro-Death, Cattle Decapitation and Al Qaeda) and Lee Camfield teamed up with Merzbow's Masami Akita for a surprisingly heavy full length album, the two twenty minute-plus tracks offering an interesting fusion of Masami Akita's glitch-infestations and Miller and Camfield's low-fi sludge metal, produced by having Akita manipulate and build upon the initial recordings of Miller and Camfield's monstrous blackened metal that they recorded in some dank basement somewhere in the bowels of San Francisco.
†† When this started out, I had to double check to make sure I had put the right tape into my stereo. The first track "I" opens with a simple, almost jazzy figure, the bass slithering around dark, surfy guitar licks, the drums a distant ticktock pulse. And further off in the distance, concealed beneath layers of tape murk and room ambience, are seething indistinct tremolo riffs, a blur of black metallish buzz that grows more formless and amorphous as it goes on. This stuff is pretty far from what I was expecting, resembling some sort of Bohren-esque midnight creep at times, or something from one of Charlie Clouser's soundtrack pieces. After a couple of minutes, though, you can hear the harsh electronic elements creeping in, faint layers of crackling, glitchy noise that fall like volcanic grit across the band's mysterious twilight shuffle. Then it suddenly transforms into a whole 'nother beast, as the sound of those buzzing black metal style guitars come into focus, repeating a single, haunting melodic figure over and over while Merzbow's sputtering, bubbling electronics wash over the music, and fragments of charred psych-guitar shred come squirming out of the background. The music keeps mutating, changing every few minutes into varying patterns of minimal whirr and glitch, moving into strange mechanical noisescapes and clusters of eerie organ drone, becoming more and more abstracted and noisy as the piece progresses, until it finally disintegrates into a grim, gorgeous, wash of fluctuating blackened drift.
Similarly, the second side starts off with something much heavier than I was expecting, a murky low-fi doom metal riff crawling across sparse slow-motion drumming buried way down in the mix. This solemn, sorrowful doom is enshrouded in a fog of gritty granular electronic noise and harsh glitch, the drums sometimes drifting so far into the background that they become a faint monotonous thump. That eventually gives way to more angular heaviness, as furious roaring vocals begin to bleed in, an unintelligible bellow that is just as buried beneath all of the noise; the riffage gets more feedback-damaged, the music later dropping out into sparse pounding, clanking industrial dirges and pools of soft metallic whirr and drift that stretch out endlessly.
†† Easily one of the heaviest efforts that Merzbow has ever been involved with, and certainly one of the most "metal", this tape comes highly recommended to fans of such noise-possessed sludge outfits as Wicked King Wicker, Valley of Fear and Welter In Thy Blood.