Rightously lobe-melting 2022 full-length of psychotronic electro-gargle that came out on the longrunning No Sides imprint, whose head William Sides also appears within this newer duo-setup for Death Factory. This outfit is an institution in the Chicago avant-noise underground, hammering it out for more than thirty-five years now. With Sides beside him, DF's main noisemaker Michael Krause dives right back into the vat of dark industrial, oily electronic noise, and crazed psych-synth mayhem that the Factory has been churning out for decades now. The image of these two smartly-dressed gentlemen on the cover of Artifact Events might lead you to think this is a moer "academic" style foray into experimental electronics, but this seventy-minute maelstrom is straight chaos. Not quite as gnarled as the Invisible Agressor tape I did with Death Factory nearly a decade ago, but still tough stuff.
Gettin' some supreme creep here. Artifact starts off slow and shadowy, languid over-modulated drones rising and falling in swells over a super-minimal bass melody; this fourteen minute meditation piece "Hymn For Ruination" comes from the same kind of suppressed nightmare circuity that birthed that Invisible Aggressor I put out through C-Blast. A wall of soft, pulsating fuzz and electrical hum surrounds the vague musical gestures and barely-formed figures riding those billowy shadows, this epic death-drone gradually increasing in mass and density as it continues to unfurl. Killer. I love the far-off minor key laments that surface here and there, resembling stray bits of funereal organ trying to make their way past the omniprerxent voltage hum. Heavier chordal textures materialize, these deep, slowly roiling fragments of sorrowful music shrouded in all of that hiss and buzz and warping sinewave movements. A kind of damaged funeral-drone. The sound just throbs out of my speakers.
That placid murkscape is then shredded to fuckin' pieces by the ghastly harsh electronics of "Shellshock Mantra", insane whooping cries impossibly tangled in screeching, fluctuating feedback, bizarre synth gibberish, peals of tortured twisted metal, weird horn-like bleats over a rumbling sub-strata of distored bass churn; a total destructive anxiety attack in league with Pain Jerk or the really violent C.C.C.C. stuff, melting down into a crushing wave of psychedelic chaos. "Statues" is likewise a total skull-shred, high-pitched electronic feedback and tone abuse whipping around hard metallic drones and looped mechanical rumble. This tape just keeps flying further into total pandemonium, trippy and terrifying as these often fifteen-minute plus pieces come screaming in across the smoking ruins of the previous track, spaced-out synthesizer agonies being stacked one upon the other, that whipstrike sinewave fuckery leaving deep, bloody gashes in your flesh. So much abusive modulation of signals, reaching heights of heaviness I did not expect.
"Afterglow" returns to a semblance of that original state of pulsing grace: multiple rhythmic loops trip and stumble over each other as more feedback-generated anti-melodies take shape and writhe in the air before you. What sounds like a destroyed Moog synth starts swirling around the dundering beat-loops, evoking the scraps of some yesteryear psych-rock band being pulled like carrion strips from its crumbling skeletal frame - this is definitely one of my favorite parts of Artifact Events , this extended mantra of heavily mutated rock keyboards, like shredded ectoplasm from Hawkwind, or Gong, or maybe The 13th Floor Elevators, adhering to mesmerizing Merzbowian loops. Loops, loops, loops. Loops of acid synth, loops of found sound, loops of backwards drums carved into an ill off-kilter shuffle. Yeah, this is Death Factory at its most scouring, unleashing these lysergic effects-pedal seizures and howling drones with no regard for space or form; ruthless and blown-out psychedelic sadism. Has it all been building to this? Does the twenty-minute closer "Mount Cyanide" continue to chase this state of charred, wilting bliss? You bet it does. One final flight into volcanic electro-madness, the heaving breathing of some monstrous thing crawling up into a dementia of circuit-bent skree, cranked feedback and mangled sinewave, becoming a shadow of an air-raid siren while rapid blips and whirring machinery and looping , elliptical rhythms take shape once again, driving it all headfirst into a new blossoming colossus of sonic tribulation.
I've made a note to have this on hand te next time I go for the "heroic dose". God knows where I'll end up. Probably shrunken, dried, and curled in a corner of my own cratered skull.