I recently had a debate with someone about my listening to Skullflower’s Fucked on a Pile of Corpses release. I said I really liked it, as I do all of the previous Skullflower material I heard, but this one really stood out. I was told that recent Skullflower material is shit, that Matthew Bower has been doing a load of Black metal shit lately and is usually a forward thinking individual stuck in Black Metal. I explained that it is Skullflower still and I was told that I’ll learn one day. Upon repeated listens the only thing I feel that I need to learn is more about this album.
The sadness of Hanged Man’s Seed is immense; a mournful organ sound provides a combined lead and rhythm. A pattering beat of a lone drum slaps away in the background, while dense blasts of noise punctuate everything, this at once dominates and draws attention to the mourning of the organ, even when sustained as a dense wall of noise the sorrow prevails.
A distant riff rises with blasts of noise carried from Hanged Man’s Seed to form the Viper’s Seed; again the walls of noise emphasize the guitar. A ritualistic drum pattern moves in to float within the overall sound, it is difficult to regard this as the base of the rhythm, the guitar’s repetition formed that base before the drum came in, and so it forms a conflict that the dense blasts of noise can’t hide.
The core riff of Viper’s Seed is continued in Defiling Their Temples with Bestial Lust with a thicker surrounding density stuck to it, there are again blasts of noise that are so tightly bound to the riff that despite it’s casual strumming becomes incredibly combative as it struggles to be hears through the dense fog of noise.
The listener is jolted into Anubis Station by its sudden start, as always with Skullflower you feel as if you have arrived slightly late to the performance. Sharp guitar feedbacks and drones carry the action; a vocal seems to roar in the background. Subtle changes of tone work through the continual blast of feedback along with sharp pitches of tone. There is an off kilter wall of noise formed, but it isn’t like a lot of Walls I have heard, the feedbacks and shifts in tone are more prominent, you are able to follow what is happening quite clearly, yet a sense of mystery is still intact.
The distorted wall of Anubis Station crashes and takes no pause to shift tone into a new noise blast; Fairy Knife Hell. This is of a much higher density that previous tracks on the album, the violence of the album is purified and brought forward on this track at just the right moment. Guitars feedback and rise but only to strengthen the overall assault, this also a more traditional wall of noise, this leaves me wondering if this is the album’s climax or is there more to come?
A rapid shift in frequency indicates we are in Tantric Ass Rape, this seems far more extreme with a sharper intensity from that of Fairy Knife Hell, the extremity of the title adds to this. Tantric Ass rape’s sound has a controlled spluttering of distortion with sharper blasts of sound rising and falling continuously. A sudden siren blast of Sleipnir continues with the same blasts of Tantric Ass rape distortion. The siren like guitar attack takes the lead weaving around the distorted wall of noise; both fighting for overall prominence of sound, no conclusion is reached. A repetitive chaotic primal form of drumming can be heard way in the background, the repetition of various sounds serves as the structure of Sleipnir as it eventually begins to break down and disintegrate and die.
Fucked on a Pile of Corpses is a violent Skullflower album that starts with very exciting complex structure that break down into impressive assaults of noise such as Fairy Knife Hell and Tantric Ass Rape. The exciting combinations of sound return in Sleipnir and they are what make Fucked on a Pile of Corpses so exciting. This was apparently recorded as a much longer album, but worked better in its 36 minute form. The violence of the album is impressive and I feel I could have listened to this build up for even longer as the plays between background and foreground are exciting.
Returning to metal, I think Skullflower does address and give their own take on metal, but in the same ways certain groups like Swans, Butthole Surfers and Earth reconfigured metal. Don’t mistake me they sound nothing like those bands but here they take thing in and process them into something other. I also learned that punk purist snobbery towards metal is pointless; beyond the clichés of the commercial aspects of metal it is a multi – faceted genre that goes into may different corners of music. Skullflower’s take on things is one of those corners.
If you can imagine Skullflower is like a painting that has taken on different aspects throughout different cycles of it’s own work, here within it’s overall current picture it takes on bits of different aspects of metal and parts of it’s pre – Skullflower life as Total and these are combined onto the canvas with a whole new exciting army of minor details and conflicts between its’ various elements.
I found this to be one of my favourite Skullflower releases so far, I did find myself wanting more artwork on the album, but the music does speak a rich and varied interplay, flowing through from one track to the next perfectly towards impressive displays of noise. I am left with the nagging question of where will Skullflower go next, has Matthew Bower backed himself into a corner, is this their current path or do Skullflower simultaneously tread several?
01 Hanged Man’s Seed
02 Viper’s Seed
03 Defiling Their Temples With Bestial Lust
04 Anubis Station
05 Fairy Knife Hell
06 Tantric Ass Rape