INDUSTRIAL NATION #14
“This is the first release from the CRIONIC MIND cassette label from San Diego. The press release the CRIONIC MIND sent described TORTURE CHAMBER as “ugly Power Electronic Noise” and that sums it up pretty well. This is probably the best Noise that I’ve heard in a long time. It has enough elements to keep the listeners attention, yet isn’t overly busy. Words like “power” and “control” are repeated, slowed down and sped up for effect. On the other side, GRUNTSPLATTER present a mesh of ambient electronic noise that is similar to TORTURE CHAMBER’s work, but much darker. Very dense noise with samples and heavy electronics. I certainly encourage noise fans to pick this up and to watch for more releases from CRIONIC MIND.”
FEVER PITCH #2
“The first release from this up and coming experimental label from California. TORTURE CHAMBER is J. Canady from the band DEAD WORLD (who have releases out on RELAPSE). The basic sound, is many samples and loops over a slight noise layered background, very good sounds. GRUNTSPLATTER is run by Scott Candey, and consists of various noises (some buzzlike, some harsh) with drum machine and samples – also quite good. I hope to hear more noise from both bands. To contact these kings of feedback write…”
OHM CLOCK #4
“I dreamed of doing stuff like this many, many moons ago but here I am reviewing it. This tape features two experimental/noise outfits. TORTURE CHAMBER and GRUNTSPLATTER. TORTURE CHAMBER, who recorded live, deliver 4 tracks of non stop aural screeching. As with most all live recordings, it is especially grating, as the higher frequencies are rawer and more pronounced. GRUNTSPLATTER, who used a studio, sound a bit more subdued but no less chaotic. After listening to so many ambient releases, this is a welcome change to rinse out the musical palatte.”
“TORTURE CHAMBER does distorted sound fuckery. Low frequency sound assault complete with Hitler samples and instructional speeches on various aspects of warfare. Sequenced synths provide some semblance of order, but the rest of the action is a bit chaotic. And ungodly harsh. MAN. GRUNTSPLATTER’s Scott Candey is also the sole perpetrator behind CINDER SKIN, so you know you’re in for some scary shit on his side of this splitter. “14FI” starts off all mechanized and overdiven like most of the CINDER SKIN stuff. “Beneath The Landfill” is pure guitar sonics. Give your ears 90 minutes of hell.”
“Featuring a guest appearance by none other than J. Canady (DEAD WORLD) We are taken to the limits of both pleasure and pain with the audio mindfuck of TORTURE CHAMBER. Screams, noise fills, and echoed demands over what could only be described as an electronic rape in progress, are what’s to be experienced with this band. Next up, GRUNTSPLATTER, CMD’s own Scott Candey has begun his trek into the bizarre with this sonic menagerie potent enough to make one stop pissing in mid stream…and like it. Undoubtedly for the sick.”
MORTAL COIL #4
“This marks my first introduction to the genre of music called Noise. Lots of samples and parahumanoidarianized repetitions. This tape put me in a really spaced out mind frame. I felt like I was in one of those Twilight Zone marathons. I imagine a live show of this sort would have lots of bugged out lights and video monitors. Original song titles such as “We Are The Dead’, “Beneath The Landfill”, “Biological Satan”, etc. A lot of effort went into this tape. GRUNTSPLATTER’s Scott Candey is always working on something new. Check the interview with him(for his other project, CINDER SKIN) somewhere in this issue.”
BEYOND THE LIGHT #1
“This is another electronic noise offering from North America with Torture Chamber on one side and Gruntsplatter on the other. Torture Chamber is electronic experimental sounds with Jonathan Canady and some conspirators, namely J. Hockvater, Ian and M. Jones, which is basically a live recording. This is very good, it is basically a 50 minute song in a couple of sections. It is sinister and enhanced by Hitler samples that are harsh and aggressive. The electronics build up and down as the song progresses. The electronics sound is more upbeat than Jonathan Canady’s usual works, but it is dark and very atmospheric. It goes very experimental towards the end, but returns to the underlying sound for the finish. The other side is Scott Candey’s Gruntsplatter, and unfortunately, it is not structured like your usual electronic noise being more slower noise orientated experimental songs. There is no real depth in the songs and well, it just does not grab me. Samples mixed with electronics are Gruntsplatter’s sound but it is not as good as Scott’s other side projects. The production is not great, but the Torture Chamber is well worth a listen.
INFERNAL ARCHIVES #2
“This doesn’t suck, because it’s beyond suck! This isn’t extraordinary because it’s beyond extraordinary. This isn’t even music, it’s beyond all actual sound and audio extremity. Overwhelming violence and supreme distortion is what makes up this tape. Both of these groups are far more concerned with transcending sound than making music. It is definitely not for me, but something about it does intrigue me. I would probably play this on Halloween for a haunted house carnival. It’s scary, I can see the trick or treaters running when they hear this. It’s not music in the harmonic sense, it’s purely music because it inflicts emotion by the use of sound.”
WORM GEAR #2
“If you are the type of person that believes Death Metal, is the most extreme music around, prepare to be schooled. What you are about to experience will be considered noise by some and a symphony to others. Putting all titles aside, “Bisect” is your worst nightmare put to tape. Let’s discuss the contents, shall we? First up is a 40 min. live set courtesy of Colorado’s TORTURE CHAMBER, a project consisting of Jonathan Canady of DEAD WORLD, and J. Hochvater. The best way to describe the soundscape presented by T.C., is to imagine sticking your head inside a rocket thruster during take off. Add sample and sound manipulation to the dense rumble and you have the ingredients that I’m sure had the crowd scrambling for the nearest earplug. This is a fine, though somewhat two dimensional, display of unrelenting electronic abuse. Side two finds San Diego’s GRUNTSPLATTER nestled in to assault your senses. This one man project has taken the limitations of his equipment and expanded on them ten fold. Where TORTURE CHAMBER presents a steady barrage of sound, GRUNTSPLATTER has gone two steps further by incorporating drums and keyboard melodies into the fray. The opening track “14FI” features a SKINNY PUPPY influence in the drum programming that keeps the foot tapping, while waves of tainted sound defile your eardrums. Taking into consideration this was recorded on a four track, it amazes me how well layered and mixed the production is. There is a strong mood portrayed in each of the eight songs and I think that is one of the elements that a lot of Noise acts are lacking. GRUNTSPLATTER has created some very powerful and dynamic… yes I’m goig to say it…music. With professional packaging and good sound quality, “Bisect” is a tape that all fans of experimental music will appreciate.”
UNDER THE VOLCANO #44
“If you told me a year ago my old roommate was releasing Power electronics I would have laughed at you But here it is! Chet has put together two brilliant pieces that are not quite a MASONNA or MERZBOW aggravation factor but are so atmospheric tahteven the most avid hater of PE may reconsider. The abrassiveness is hidden by soothing tones and an almost atmospheric quality. You could almost put these in a category with VIDNA OBMANA, except that RUHR HUNTER is more tonal. GRUNTSPLATTER is one of the main contributors of Worm Gear Zine (a fantastic zine in it’s own right for anyone looking for a good read!) And puts forth a masterful sounding collection of pieces that makes for a great soundtrack to the dark and unknown. This is the kind of thing that I would put on in the dark and let it ripple over my body much like some people use “relaxation” CD’s. All in all, a phenomenal effort by both artists and a great kick off for Glass Throat Recordings.”
“The first offering on this split CD is artist RUHR HUNTER who started up this project in the summer of ’95. RUHR HUNTER’s sound is a mixture Dark Ambient to, even at time, some natural sounds from the outside world. To be honest, I found GRUNTSPLATTER to sound a lot like RUHR HUNTER, combining both a mixture of Dark Ambient and Harsh Noise.”
Split releases are usually a great way for two bands of similar styles to team up and present new material. But sometimes splits are just a collection of new material representing the band but serving no deeper meaning. However, sometimes you come across little gems that go beyond merely being a collection of songs, instead become a wonderful showcase of common grounds, a shared ideology or philosophy – a duality found in both parties, creating something that holds one true meaning. Ruhr Hunter and Gruntsplatter succeeded in creating such a split release. And what a gem it is. Exceptionally lovely packaging covered with spiritual symbols and a quote from Henry Miller that perhaps completely explains the whole idea behind this release.
“For some reason or other, man looks for the miracle, and to accomplish it he will wade through blood. He will debauch himself with ideas, he will reduce himself to a shadow if for only one second of his life he can close his eyes to the hideousness of reality. Everything is endured – disgrace, humiliation, poverty, war, crime – in the belief that overnight something will occur, a miracle, which will render life tolerable.” – Henry Miller
Now to get back on topic, this particular quote used in the artwork deals with the ultimate desire in wanting life in its most tolerable state. Some might say the solution is a simple one, namely getting a lobotomy, but according to Miller one will go through everything horrible to reach that state. And perhaps that’s an appropriate, albeit sinister way to perceive the music on this disc. Featuring about 35 minutes each, Chet Scott and Scott Candey both display what they do best each in their own peculiar way. Ruhr Hunter with two large outings that inflict an extreme sense of desolation, almost pushing through to being depressive if it weren’t for the fact that harsh power electronics come roaring upwards through the resonant atmosphere to keep you refreshed and anxious. Gruntsplatter with six tracks that are perhaps equally desolate, but rely more on compact foundations over which despondent and often rhythmic pulses are presented. Undeniably lush yet fantastically sinister in its delivery, this record is a pure feast for those who have a bleak pair of ears and a pessimistic persona to boot. Fans of dark ambience can safely pick this up lest they can deal with an often harsh and gritty atmosphere seeping through their speakers. (9/10)
“RH have a spooky, mysterious ambient sound. At some points I felt like I had been transported to Loch Ness. At other points I got the impression that I was in a tension spot of a murder/thriller. Pretty neat stuff, heavy feedback, but not too heavy to digest. They only get two tracks, but they are pretty long. GRUNTSPLATTER compliments RH’s style quite well. It also gets you looking over your shoulder, utilizing feedback and distortion. The songs are a bit shorter, not a ton of diversity. It’s essentially sculpted for one specific mood. Don’t expect conventional things like rhythm and melody. Blech! Who needs rhythm?”
“The billionth CD of useless droning sinister ambient noises. I am amazed by the sheer number of people who put out CDs like this; and moreover, who send them to AUTOreverse for the inescapable bad review. RUHR HUNTER are just plain useless, just some little guitar noise. GRUNTSPLATTER are slightly (I said slightly) more interesting, like a horror movie soundtrack, but even so, the general feeling is one of cosmic, infinite and all-encompassing boredom. The Henry Miller quote doesn’t help.
WORM GEAR #7
“Knowing that the Experimental/Ambient scene has been pumping out obscure sound canvasses for well over 15+ years, I have slowly and kind of ignorantly begun to stumble into this art form since this magazines inception. Having heard everything from simplistic soundscapes, to brain jarring Noise blasts, I found the most recent release on the new label Glass Throat Recordings to fall somewhere in between. First up is the minimal, mood sculpting RUHR HUNTER. With these two incredibly long tracks, several levels of guitar feedback and minor effects manipulation flow from the speakers kind of like smoke from an incense stick. R.H. is actually quite effective at creating a dense atmosphere with very little going on and with varying levels of intensity that come an go on the second opus, “The Darkling”, I think those of you into minimalism will fully appreciate the effort. Personally, I think both tracks would have been far more potent and entertaining if they were only half the length. The sound would then have to develop quicker and I think my short attention span would have been more easily gratified. Next up with 6 much shorter and more constructive tracks is GRUNTSPLATTER. With the background sound of crickets, churchbells, and the purifying crackle of fire the track “Immolating The Nest” quite masterfully creates a mental picture of a moonlit forest violently springing to life as a woodland church burns to the ground. With noise loops, periodic percussive samples (on the volatile piece “Gressil”) and keyboard manipulation, GRUNTSPLATTER succeeds at setting a mood with each track and fills the listener with dark images. In this projects case, sound is used as a tool to stimulate deeper feelings within and does so by refraining from long, drawn out, go-nowhere segments of sound. Each track is relatively short and swarming with conviction which is enough for me to be fully possessed by all the fragments of sound that may surface with every listen. If you enjoy the minimal, the ambient or the hauntingly dense, this split CD will appeal to a wide spectrum of fans of all things Experimental.”
It appears that the US is finally getting its act together in terms of producing some good Death Industrial projects. On this split GRUNTSPLATTER is up first, opening with some damn heavy bass rumblings, manipulations and slow keyboard tones, before exploring some noisier, semi-structured textures on the following track “Ascending Marrow”. “Bloodsoil” is slightly more atmospheric, holding a somewhat random sound held together again by the use of a slow keyboard passage, reminding me slightly of VOND’s “Green Eyed Demon” CD. “Gravemound” has a more ominous sound that is gradually raised on a base of sound akin to a distant tornado. Some deep factory sounds and manipulated electronics help to fully flesh out the track, however I feel the track is alittle muddied overall because of the amount of sound sources used. Despite this small criticism this is one of the best tracks GRUNTSPLATTER have on offer. The final track for GRUNTSPLATTER is “The Prophetic Maw” which again uses a basis of multi layered, muddied sound that has comparison to the German project DRAPE EXCREMENT. The second half of the 60min. disc is by SLOWVENT and from the self titled explosive volcanic opener, it shows a great mixture od Death Industrial and more Noise Ambience. Here the track is looped and repetitive over it’s 6minutes. “Spectral Violence” has a random experimental Noise edge, not unlike what ATRAX MORGUE is producing with his MORDER MACHINE side project. “The Cold Slugs” uses a subdued repetitive Death Industrial basis while random factory clangs and rumbles appear sporadically. Gradually the looped structure subsides leaving the sporadic tones as another loop gradually rises up. “Rust Resurrection” is short and simple again using a straight forward repetitive guise. The final track for both SLOWVENT and the CD is “Impaired Descent” which chops and changes from noisy ATRAX MORGUE styled electronics to more Death Industrial moments. For a debut CD for this label the packaging is well presented and laid out, using the obligatory black and grey tones. Given the promise that these two projects show, I will be interested to see what both of these projects come up with in future releases.
SCRIPTURES E-ZINE #1
I was very happy to see this one arrive seeing as how Glass Throat Recordings RUHR HUNTER/GRUNTSPLATTERCD was a favorite from last year,also noting that it is the first CD release by GRUNTSPLATTER’s Scott Candey’s Crionic Mind label.First up is GRUNTSPLATTER who start things off on a somber note with the icy cold “The Flagellant”,breaking quickly into a noisier piece closer to side project BLUNT FORCE TRAUMA aptly titled”Ascending Marrow”. With this release we see GRUNTSPLATTER shape-shift into a minimal ambient beast,that broadens and thickens as the tracks progress.While it has less going on inside the structures,they are more focused on depth and fullness.It’s not like all is completely different,it seems all the familiar pieces are here,the puzzle is just put together differently. A good step forward for this act to watch out for. Up next is newcomer SLOWVENT, representing his first release. The self titled first track wastes no time getting down to business and setting the tone for what’s to follow.Levels peak as noise Explosions erupt from the speakers.The majority ov the material presented here is a weird combination ov harsh, peaked out white noise that is structured in such a way that it becomes a dark ambient listening experience, putting you firmly in the same zone. Even though this has some harsh and noisy things going on it isn’t the newest MERZBOW rip off by any means,this is so much more listenable than that.It will be very interesting to what comes next for SLOWVENT, seeing as how this first taste already shows some masterful song crafting.
KDVIATIONS “Spring 99”
GRUNTSPLATTER present here 5 bits of minimal, noisy dark ambient. imagine huge, roaring bonfires with shadowy figures skulking about carrying dead things. a bit of tasteful synth work adds that extra brooding touch to “The Flagellant” and “Gravemound”. Well done, creepy stuff. the six SLOWVENT tracks that follow are far more abrasive than the GRUNTSPLATTER half, but not so much that i would call it “harsh”. shifting distorted textures give way to odd drones, feedback, and the occasional looped rhythm, making it far more engaging than the GRUNTSPLATTER material, which works better as background music. SLOWVENT’s “Impaired Descent” is brutal. limited to 500 copies.
This split release is the first CD release (after a couple of tape releases) from San Francisco’s Crionic Mind; it is, hopefully, a sign of more to come. GRUNTSPLATTER is Scott E. Candey, who also heads Crionic Mind; the GRUNTSPLATTER materiel here consists of thick, concrete on concrete excretions that create a dense, grinding wall of noise, deep into the heart of final destruction (Armageddon through the windshield, wind-swept and radioactive); in most cases, to add the proper dramatic flair, end-of-the-world synths compliment the noise, a combination forged in the flames of the inferno. Jonathan Lang manipulates sound as SLOWVENT. The sounds he mangles are from the same concrete decimated landscape bulldozed by GRUNTSPLATTER, but he tends to gnaw on the concrete, scratch and tear, somehow trying to escape the inevitable binds of destruction; no matter how much he tries, though, hammering on the concrete with metallic implements or chipping with feedback squeals, destruction looms menacingly over his shoulder. And it is destruction that is the prominent focus here, both bands wallowing in the distorted radiance of Pandemonium’s impending reign. Powerful stuff, indeed! (More, please…)
GRINDING INTO EMPTINESS
The split release tactic is very common with noise music, an incestious way of releasing material in an already close-knit scene. In fact all three of GRUNTSPLATTER’s releases to date have been shared with other artists. The driving force behind both GRUNTSPLATTER and the Crionic Mind label, Scott Candey, wastes no time in beginning this shared hour of noise, the din of carefully distorted drones abruptly lurching from the disk. A mask of restrained distortion envelopes every semblance of a melody, almost like adding pepper to a meal. Deep drones weigh the tracks down with their dense rumbles. If one was to leave a microphone on the deck of a small ship in the middle of a Pacific rainstorm, rain-spiked wind ripping through the crashing waves, you might end up with an organic version of some of these tracks. This disk marks the debut of Jonathan Lang’s SLOWVENT, who stylistically shares quite a bit in common with GRUNTSPLATTER. If it were a blindfolded taste test the unfamiliar listener might find them as similar as two brands of cola, although the two are definitely distinguishable from one another. GRUNTSPLATTER’s side is heavily rooted in long, deep, drones with a prolonged, relaxing quality to them. Ambient meets distortion, tones meet texture. Most of SLOWVENT’s tracks have quicker, higher pitched swells which are looped with sharper distortion. There are less constants to latch onto and it’s less predictable. Some of the distortion has a crumbling, decaying sound to it, almost like being dragged over a gravel road. SLOWVENT is definitely responsible for some of the harsher tracks on the disk, with sharp squeals worming through the walls of noise like termites. The only thing I can recommend, aside from picking up this CD, is strictly using headphones to listen to it. Like most noise it needs to isolate your hearing in order for it to fully sink in without agitation, and the somewhat soothing elements are an effective catalyst in this process.
THE ZODIAC CHRONICLE
Herewith we have yet another GRUNTSPLATTER split disc, this time coming from the Crionic Mind label, as their previous was released via GlassThroat Recordings. This limited (500 copies) disc proves itself to be a devastating clarion call in the noise-experimental genre. GRUNTSPLATTER urge sickness and despair by conjuring several episodes of horror-filled sound crunches and seemingly darkwave tinctured soundscapes (though subtle as it may be). SLOWVENT makes their debut CD appearance on this split with a similar expression of sound, though this time more oriented towards pure noise-distortion and frequency overload. The pleasurable aspect of this is the subtle tape hiss I recognize in the background…only offering more interest in the sound, not too mention the kult feeling of an obscure underground cassette. Both of these groups work very well together on one disc, as the sound merges from one scene to the next, carrying the querent through hollow drifts and bone crushing atmospheres. This CD is recommend only to open minds who desire something dark and unique for their musical archive!
WORM GEAR #8
“Attention all noise freaks and dark souls jonesing for mood sculpting visions though sonic manipulation, here is a split release that acts as the soundtrack for the oncoming armageddon. Sound intriguing? First five tracks on this monster go to San Francisco’s own GRUNTSPLATTER, who have developed into a deadly power in the noise underground. Expertly fusing chaotic fits of harsh tones with a definitive dark ambience to pile on the mist enveloped atmosphere, the Grunt one moment reproduces the sound of a giant bag of dinosaur bones rolling down the stairs on the mighty “Ascending Marrow”, only to incorporate haunting synth lines as on “The Flagellant” and “Bloodsoil” that bring to mind the horns of war as longships emerge from the turbulent seas. Infinitely layered, these five tracks walk the line between aggressive abstract art and compositions that swarm with a symphonic slant that beckons for the fall of night. Chilling, paranoia inducing and varied, GRUNTSPLATTER takes twisted sound bytes and makes them almost -Gulp- Musical. SLOWVENT is up next and though they may not be nearly as structured as GRUNTSPLATTER, they are just as effective at creating powerful sounds and molding them into bombastic pieces that crush the listener. This is most predominant on tracks like SLOWVENT where the feeling being expressed is as caustic as nuclear winds nipping at infant flesh and “Spectral Violence” where the piece begins with a sound resembling a large piece of gristle sizzling in a fry pan. There is a very menacing thread that ties all these tracks together and instead of mixing in different layers to give depth; delay and reverb soaked tones rather drone off in a repetitive manner for bruising effect. SLOWVENT’s style is very percussive (metal on metal perhaps) and it gives this disc the needed separation between both projects. With 2 sonic entities that each possess a life of their own and excellent artwork that perfectly emulates the sinister vibes contained within, this split release is a fine addition to the experimental music connoisseurs collection. When listening, be sure to leave the night lite on or the boogy man will come a calling”
“Ertragen: Split” w/ Lefthandeddecision & Petit Mal – CDR
limited to 4 – Special Circumstances Rec. – August 1999
This was a private release. The track included has yet to be released on a commercially available release.
“Split” w/ Armenia – MC
(unreleased?) – Bizarre Audio Arts – August 1999
I’m not sure this was ever commercially released. I received a contributor copy after withdrawing from the release due to significant delays and finding a new home for the tracks. That second release didn’t happen because I was unsure whether this was released at the time. The tracks from this ultimately ended up on “The Organ Harvest” collection years later.