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Lackthrow – Release


This has easily been one of the most frustrating and confusing releases — album, compilation, or otherwise — that I’ve had the pain and the pleasure of experiencing in recent memory.  In some ways, this works to Release‘s benefit — in most ways though, it results in a maddening inability to understand or even begin to grasp what exactly is going on. Even by noise standards, there appears to be a stunning lack of cohesion, down to the most basic elements — and that’s not to say that it’s experimental, avant-garde or just plain weird in a good way.  The influences are clear; there is nothing here that I haven’t heard before in experimental music, from overwhelming harshness to seemingly randomized cut-up industrial collage, but the way that they’re thrown together is unfortunately more sloppy than successful, and it doesn’t simply amount to the fact that this is a collection of tracks from all over the artist’s prolific catalog.

The best way that I can describe the noise of Lackthrow as presented in this collection is to imagine it as a library of damaged memories, tagged randomly with tidbits of relative information.  Dusty broken books shelved with torn pages and empty spaces, sometimes ripped in half, sometimes fused into the next memory by the fires of mental anguish. Tracks start and end without need for a comfortable point in which to do so, and most stand alone with little to no relation with the next.  It’s an abyss of random thought patterns that you can seemingly blend into and exit only to find yourself abruptly within the next.

Oddly, the best and worst moments of this collection stand in unison as the exact same thing:  randomness.  On the positive end of the spectrum, what we have here is a regular tour-de-force of post-industrial elements.  Harsh noise, ambient, industrial rhythms, drone, power electronics, and even sparse elements of aggro-industrial and post-rock dominate both discs, in the end creating a monolithic hybrid of eccentric and emotional expression and exploration.  It’s a testament to the creative fluctuation that Powell has seen over the past two decades.  On the negative end of the same spectrum is that very same emotion, which comes off in overly obsessive feminine track titles, excluding one modestly impressive suicidal black metal howling performance in “Home is not where the Heart is”.  These tracks end up coming off as childish or fickle in theme at best, and leave you wondering what “Kimberly” did that was so special that she deserved to have four cuts from the album “ONUS” to appear here and close out the album.  That said, one of the most frustrating elements of Release is that there appears to be nothing about it that bothers to dive further than teenage, skin-deep emotions or reflections.  Too much “love”, too many “hearts”, too much “her”.  This isn’t to say that there aren’t flashes of incredible, visceral moments though — the closer to the first disc “Pandemonium Interior Part III” is a fantastic example of a full-on blackened vocal rant backed by a tenebrous rhythmic atmosphere that comes off as sincerely devastating.  Why isn’t there more of this?  It was obviously seen as unique and strange by someone for its placement to be at the end of the disc.

Some purists may attempt to explain that this is noise in the purest sense — something that is supposed to be without enjoyment, without form, without sensibility and theme and, above all, against the grain.  But it doesn’t seem against the grain in a manner that is concurrent with the ideas that make noise what it is today.  Exceptional noise, in those artists whom push expressiveness and emotion into their sound, have always had a certain sense of desperation behind their compositions — an intangible sense of hopelessness that didn’t necessarily need conveying via vocal delivery but could be felt in the release itself.  I just can’t feel that with this release outside of the rare track — it certainly doesn’t feel like a “best of” or a collection of the top, or even most interesting efforts.  Perhaps Release is just too long and stretches whatever actual meaning is within too thin.  Interestingly enough, it was Egan Budd himself whom, for Blood Ties WebZine, pointed out that Lackthrow’s In Rivers of Ice and Blue was so long that it overshadowed the positive aspects of the release — and that was only one CD-R.

I’m usually fairly objective in my writing as I feel that every release is a piece of art that has taken time, love, and an immense amount of energy to put together and thus deserves my respect and understanding.  But so many things just went wrong with this one that it’s impossible to ignore.  I have no doubt that Andrew Powell has it in him to put something together that is monumental, but this compilation of his tracks from over the years doesn’t showcase a very profound picture of the artist that hints at that possibility being a reality in the near future.

Track List:

Disc I:
01) Acoustic (Recreation)
02) Once and Lost (Remix)
03) Chamber I
04) You are the Exception to No Rule
05) Memories are Ghosts
06) Beka’s Secret (High Less Layer)
07) A Warm Comforting Fist Punching me in the Gut
08) Dust Catcher (Part I)
09) Make-believe(r)
10) PERIOD:golden
11) Claw your Way out (Down the Halls) (Tight Mix)
12) The Usual Aberration
13) Melpomene
14) Intensely Living Impaired
15) Delve (Original Version)
16) Bunny in Yellow Field
17) Starvation
18) You weren’t Buried Deep Enough (Outro)
19) Kimberly Part 12
20) Rachel
21) Worldsend (Lowloungmix)
22) Your New Life, my New Death
23) Kimberly Part 7
24) Home is not where the Heart is
25) Part 35
26) And
27) Blue Dove
28) Trans
29) Lifted Beyond the Depths of her Heart
30) …like another Hole in the Head
31) It Never Passes Quickly Enough
32) Pandemonium Interior Part III

Disc II:
01) She Loves me with Vicious Love
02) Everything to come is Meaningless
03) Blue Part V
04) Slowandsteady (The Tortoise)
05) Kimberly Part XIX
06) I Fall too Far
07) No Excuse for Love
08) Flower (Grindthemicmix)
09) Ravaged by Time
10) SORES (exclusiveREDIT)
11) Destroying Sex VI
12) The Blue Dress (ONE)
13) Misplaced
14) Styx Bouquet
15) Permanently out of Homeostasis
16) Sexual Disgust
17) Sheseeksfailureforsustenance
18) Part XXI
19) The Language of Misktakes
20) Lacerated Ego
21) Sorrow and Rage (Entrance)
22) Kimberly Part XXII

Rating: 2/5
Written by: Sage
Label: Existence Establishment (US) / EE15 / DIY 2xCD-R
Noise / Industrial

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