Admittedly, the pacing of some death industrial gets a bit boring for me. Stretching out a plodding rhythmic theme can lose its luster if, like myself, you sometimes have the attention span of a noise punk. This is a half-hour retreat into the psychedelic underworld of Death Factory, the (mostly) solo project of Mike Krause. Based out of Chicago since the late eighties, it wasn’t until the turn of the millennium that Krause started to perform more. In addition to releasing a stream of CD-Rs and split cassettes with artists such as Arvo Zylo and Dental Work (as well as Cock E.S.P. in his early days as one-half of Pommel), Krause has finally realized his first LP release in Nocturnal Dimension earlier this month. Chilling Impressions, however, finds Krause in full horror soundtrack fixation. This tape from No Visible Scars seems to tap into that greasy bridge between grindhouse/horror-film soundtracks and the masterful industrial that is actually successful at making you feel a bit off. There is an insidious lurk resembling the decayed remains of pigeons smeared on the face of a severed nun’s head. It revels in its own depravity, omnipotence, and influence. Granted, some isolation, volume, and possible mind-altering substances may assist the theme in finding vitality.
There is this almost Kosmische element that runs throughout Side A in terms of dated synth percussive tones and the use of gently hissing noise generators. Another common element is the slow, pulsing, rhythmic sewer-swamp atmosphere that engulfs the listener alongside of a bubbling, fried scraping of synth tones that intersect with intermittent percussion. Chilling Impressions is a patient piece from Death Factory, however, as it takes its time building layer upon layer of contrasting textures (consider the sound if a horror soundtrack were placed alongside 80s science-fiction themes) against the backdrop of monolithic synths. Layering these looming surges from beneath, a thick soup of different influences and styles somehow emerges cohesively.
The “horror soundtrack” label applies to the first side of the tape, “Manifestation of Fear,” especially. Indeed, it’s dedicated to the iconic Phantasm film, while Side B is dedicated to Anthropophagus. In the end, Chilling Impressions is a thoroughly enjoyable tape despite the unfortunate and noticeable misspelling on the cover, and I frankly can’t wait to hear more from this on-point project from Chicago.
A1) Manifestation of Fear (Dedicated to Phantasm)
B1) Feasting on Fear (Dedicated to Anthropophagus)