Though active and wonderfully prolific over the course of the last six years, until Barren Terminals, Hostage Pageant had not released a full-length LP on vinyl. It’s understandable, as vinyl can often provide a slight distortion to bass sounds, frequencies exceedingly crucial in the scope of Shane Church’s work as Hostage Pageant.
I received Barren Terminals from Chris Donaldson, patrón/duende of the late great Drugged Conscience label, who christened his newly minted Hologram Label with the release of the Hostage Pageant LP, and, at his behest, listened to the wax through headphones to ensure a proper auditory experience. Needless to say, I’m blown away that it sounds this good on vinyl. As anyone who regularly listens to harsh noise knows, it is often difficult to translate the genre’s necessary dynamic sound range to vinyl, and yet, on Barren Terminals, it’s happened.
I’ll also admit to preferring noise that varies over the course of time. I understand the conceptual appeal of harsh wall noise, but my sweet spot is in the cross-pollination between organic and industrial sounds, which is right where Barren Terminals delivers. Over the course of the LP’s twenty-eight or so minutes, Church revels in frenetic mechanical sounds, quiet pensiveness, and even some melody on Side B’s “Absorb, Deteriorate, Shatter.” But I know what everyone wants to know: How harsh does it get? Pardon the caveman speak, but this shit gets harsh as fuck! There’s a point on Side A where it drops like the bombs at the tail-end of Dr. Strangelove, and Shane Church is playing Slim Pickens, riding that sucker as it spirals into oblivion. This record has something for anyone interested in the intricacies of what sound can do and where it can go; it’s compositionally sound, surprising in depth, and also—and most simply—interested in seeing just how loud things can get.
Side A: An Obstruction
Side B: Absorb, Deteriorate, Shatter