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Positive Adjustments – In the Name of Religion

Positive Adjustments

Positive Adjustments is a power electronics act from Sweden. According to the label website, this release “takes a step into the world of beliefs and the weakness it brings[.]” (Obfuscated Records)

“Abominations and Filthiness” is a lot of high-end scraping and squeal. My initial instinct is to compare this to The History of AIDS by Prurient if you left out the vocal tracks and replaced them with…whale song? Pitch-shifted vocals? Some weird synth function? Whatever, the combo works. I imagine this track captures the feeling of being interrogated while under torture. Maybe the voice of inquisitors while they waterboard you.

The mid-range rumble of “The Sinner is” is less bombastic and, frankly, not all that interesting. This track is by no means poorly-constructed or amateurish, but this is familiar territory. Crash, rumble, boom, hiss. Good background, though. My housemates seem to be pretty content at the moment.

“Detonate for Christ” is where Positive Adjustments really starts to get interesting. A cassette tape loop provides on-again/off-again percussion over a wall of grainy hiss. Occasionally, a snarling voice croaks out of the static wall…or maybe what I think is a voice is just a trick of the mixing process? I assume that since the track titles and the project name are all English that the vocals are in English as well. I keep comparing bands to Bone Awl, but seriously, bury He Who Gnashes Teeth under a wall of tape hiss, push that wall over on top of him and you sort of get an idea of what this track resembles.

In the Name of Religion closes out with “Beneath the Smiling Face” which, to my ears at least, sounds like a live recording. The track has that room-tone ambiance that so many not-line-in recordings seem to share. Clanging synth klaxons fill the space with a grungy, muddy slop that presses up against the walls, the chest, the legs. Staccato bursts of high-end static hiss break through the sludge, helping to simultaneously hide and highlight vocals. Then everything collapses into a jumble of feedback, bad connections, split cables, malfunctioning gear. then boom, the pulsing sludge is back, and after the brief respite, the pulse seems more threatening. Apparently, beneath the smiling face, there lies an ocean of rage.

As a first introduction to Positive Adjustments, I have to say that In the Name of Religion is a strong outing. This album is varied enough to remain interesting, but consistent enough as to give a solid image of an artist at work in his medium. I might not be on the fast-track to buying the rest of his catalog, but I can definitely see this release slipping into a semi-regular rotation.

Track List:

01) Abominations and Filthiness
02) The Sinner is
03) Detonate for Christ
04) Beneath the Smiling Face

Rating: 4/5
Written by: Thomas Boettner
Label: Obfuscated Records (United States) / OR12 / Pro CD-R
Power Electronics / Harsh Noise