DECAYCAST Reviews – Witches Of Malibu – “The Grand Crucifier” (Dead Media Recordings, 2018)
Witches of Malibu is the project of underground industrial / harsh noise / psychedelic master Skott Rusch also of Hunting Lodge fame. For this release Skott’s playing under the WOM moniker and this one is released by Dead Media Recordings, out of Ontario, CA. “The Grand Crucifier” opens up with a distant noisy, slow, industrial rhythmic thudding which slowly grows with frequency, intensity and terror. A violent, shuddering call and response pacing develops between cold, clanging metal blasts of metal and high pitched, unrelentingly harsh, static-filled, spikes of noise and chaos, however it never morphs into anything that could be construed as carelessly random. One thing that sticks out of these tracks is the the tension, intention, and focus remain focused on their own bleak starkness which only serves to make the sounds that much darker and menacing. These cuts are super intentioned, and never fade into the realm often visited in harsh noise of unconnected, random and selfish sounds, each section possesses its own structure and harsh intentionality, and with each sonic shriek, stab, or inverted explosion comes a heightened peak of anxiety and uneasiness, again and again until that is the listener is meant with deafening silence upon the tracks completion. Not to fear though, as dark soup will be served at the table all night, and the bleak, misty, cavernous alienating sounds of WOM aren’t going anywhere, at least for the duration of this cassette.
The second track, Strike Strikes (04:11) is perhaps the album’s most static offering in terms of movement, but still provides a grating, hellish, scraping soundtrack to the days activities of gently knifing out your eyeballs and rolling them down the hill as they collect dirt and eradicate the last bits of light folded into your brain. The track builds with volume, form and intensity and by the end, a dark psychedelic confusion sets in and you can neither see nor hear nor feel where you have ended up, the pulsing has eclipsed all of your senses and the deafening shrieking has taken over.
The third and probably strongest and most dynamic track, “The Shine Cannon-Hectic Parasite” starts with an almost inaudible hum for a few seconds and then quickly turns into a buzz saw like cacophony of synth engine destruction, slowly shifting and pulsing to bleed out the last bit of orientation one may have had at this point in the listening experience. The buzzing goes from a constant square like jagged, aggressive, but relatively static, sound to morphed , twisted, swirling sphere of sonic memory failure, blending into the next wave of aural destruction. The cassette closes out with a slightly more minimalist, barren, percussion forward track with some subtly shifting whirling string like synths which sound more like a bowed saw than synthesizer, blending perfectly with the choppy, blown out, mangled and twisted percussion. Rhythms pound and shake and eventually fade away. The cochlear is now a dark, barren hole into the center of nothingness, and the white noise blasts, high shrieking oscillators and garbled transmission ensure you won’t be making it back up the hill- you are forever trapped in the bottom of this pit and the sound of scraping, clawing, clamoring blasts of sonic slag is the last sound that will ever pressurize your ear drum. Good bye. The end. Buy this TAPE HERE or pretty much anything by this project.
– Michael Daddona