Cover art on this LP grabs me big-time, mystical retro-futuristic android and antediluvian black slab monuments and magick sigils and illustrations that look like they were scraped off the pages of a 1970s astral projection manual. The whole look of Psychic Hologram oddly makes me want to pop in Beyond The Black Rainbow when I'm done. Certainly one of the cooler / weirder looking albums from the Iron lung camp. But musically, this is high-grade nerveshred. The Olympia, WA group doesnâ€™t seem to have much documented sound prior to this 2019 debut, but their sonic attack is most definitely fully concentrated here. With a feeling that theyâ€™ve been immersing themselves in a steady flow of Ballard, Keel, McKenna and Marshall McLuhan texts, these neon punkers are blasting out near-future eschatonic imagery via rapid-fire mutoid hardcore and synaptic-burning electronic music with a dose of crude industrial influence and sequencer abuse welded onto the mass; Cyberplasm resemble something I'd expect from those demented latter-day Japanese hardcore outfits in both energy and execution, and I can't imagine that stuff like S.H.I. (Struggling Harsh Immortals), Endon and the Confuse-inspired chaos of Zyanose and Death Dust Extractor wasnâ€™t in some way an influence on what these guys are up to. All these are mere reference points though, the corrosive dystopian hardcore on Hologram stands quite solidly on its own.
Carpenter's growling synthesizer from The Thing slinks into the room while waves of etheric plasma and murderous voices skulk in the shadows, and then "Dopamine Machinery" plows straight into your third eye with a locomotive force, part Motorhead / D-beat metalpunk, part Confuse amp-shriek noise-punk, a monstrous riff pinning the whole thing atop the controlled eruptions of electronic and over-modulated chaos that are released in regular, numbered bursts; jesus fucking Christ does this go vicious from the start. That mix of blown-out amplifier-fucking hardcore and brutal Motorcharge and mangled analog electronic equipment heaving its guts all over the place fuels most of the stuff on this record. From "Beyond The Mind" to the sneering speaker-shredding psychedelic punk ripper "Nihilist Dictator" to the static-soaked anthem "Nervous Systems " to the Nitzer Ebb-esque rhythms and anger of "The Psychic Hologram" and "Perfect Body Pt. II". The psychotic vocals shift in timbre and intensity throughout the whole thing, but at the same time these songs are perversely catchy given how warped and noisy they are, backed by that intense drum machine programming. Meanwhile, you get these undercurrents of programmed beats, sicko sequencer throb scraped off the steel-toed boot of some imposing 80's era EBM, maniacal vocal track manipulations, brain-smushing electronic fuckery, moments like "Free The Body" where it sounds like classic Discharge being run through a chain of ecto-plasm smeared transistor radios, or the technoid hardcore mania that soups up "Machines From Trauma" and the echoplex-n'-LSD overdrive of closer "Simulate Prison" into crowd-obliterating energy levels . Kind of evokes some of the later, weirder G.I.S.M. material too, at least in spirit.
It's been said before, but some of the most interesting and vicious shit happening in the hardcore punk spectrum lately is coming out of this whole Confuse / Disclose-influenced "noise punk" aesthetic that has been getting progressively more experimental, extreme and trippy over the past two decades, with some serious industrial damage going on. Stuff like L.O.T.I.O.N. and No Statik. All I can really say is that If I do end up chewing on a dog's leg up on the 30th floor, I hope this is coming out of the speakers when it happens.
Comes in a jacket with striking design by Sainte-X, limited to five hundred copies with a large foldout poster and a download code.