I really enjoyed this release. Like most of the musical objects I’ve been sent for review, I’d never heard of Ninika prior to popping their EP 2012 release in the tape deck (yes, this one’s a cassette), but the instant I pressed ‘play’, ruined blackness started oozing from my speakers, and I was in sick, perverted love.
Ninika play filthy psychedelic sludge-rock, like Lubricated Goat recorded during a knife storm or Gnaw Their Tongues minus the abstract grandiosity. It’s equally like Abruptum in power electronics mode, or even Von Lmo slowed right down and pitch-shifted way southwards, covered in dirt, and gone mouldy. It’s muddy and moist, and cloying and soiled (in the literal sense—not just ‘unclean’, but besmirched with actual soil). Indeed, listening to this cassette is very much the sonic equivalent of suddenly encountering the shambling undead during a night-walk in the rain: before you know what’s happening, you’re in a world of decaying horror, surrounded by thudding dank ghastliness; visibility is poor; you’re cold, wet, and beginning to panic; songs that act alive suddenly collapse into stinking piles of feedback and synth noise, and—just when you think they’re really dead after all—lurch to their feet again, relentless and ungainly. Grunts, hisses, growls, croaks, gasps, and groans seem to form the shapes of human words, but there’s very little way to tell if they are just desperate noises or are meant to mean something.
Given that the cover art is nothing but one black and white photo of what looks like decaying stakes in the rain on one side, and one black and white photo of what looks like a pile of bones on the other, in hindsight, I really should’ve known what to expect.
Apparently Ninika is made up of the duo from Teeth Engraved With the Names of the Dead (who I know nothing about) and joined on vocals and synth by Paul von Aphid (of Zex Model, Degenerate Slug, Demon City Reaper, Grinding Halt, Martian Church XX, Nippon Leathergirl, Pink Sexdeath, Poison Tongue, and Sacred Youth, all of which I also know nothing about). So that’s a whole lot of other projects I now need to go and hunt down because this tape is awesome.
To my ears, there aren’t really many flaws with this release; if anything, it’s maybe too short. The medium certainly allows for a much longer release than the half-hour or so we are given here, but then again, it says ‘EP’ on the cover, so it’s not like they’re trying to rip anyone off. I’d definitely love to hear more of this ghoulish mouldcore though.
I’ve chased down the bandcamp page for this release, but seriously, it sounds better on the actual cassette. Released as a limited edition of forty tapes, the sound quality is integral to the overall experience; it really needs that warm and damp offalicious zombie thwack. Ninika seethes and bubbles wetly, like the unpleasant lips of the should-be-dead. Atmospheric buzzes violently drown drum-like clanks and thuds (there are no real drums actually credited to anyone on this recording, so I’m assuming that they’re actually samples), crypt-kicking feedback clumsily wrestles overdriven drones into the mud, and sepulchral vocals—slippery with gore—fight to be heard in the sonic mire. All of this is held together loosely like the tenuous muscle-fibres of the decomposed. It’s not as slow or perfectly empty as Khanate, and it’s way more rock than Wolf Eyes, but it’s maybe some unhallowed necromantic offspring of the two. As Jeff Walker once scribbled on my vinyl copy of Carcass’ Necroticism: Descanting the Insalubrious back in 1993: “Rot n Roll”!
01) Am I Corrupted
03) Sorry, I Can’t Be with You
04) You Can Hear the Bodies Fucking