A horrible hack

House Of Apparition


Year Released: 2014
Format: LP
Label: Nerdcore
Reviewed by Alex Hannan on May 11, 2016
Another slightly older LP from Nerdcore records appears for review. This LP was the culmination of several 2012-2013 demos and shorter releases from HOUSE OF APPARITION, a one-person black metal band that incorporates noise and electronics. So we begin with distorted sounds that have a slight hint of the human voice about them, scraping machinery, buzzes and hums. A muted siren sounds. Then the band kicks in with some mid-paced lo-fi black metal, with atonal but repetitive guitar textures, fairly basic drums, and harsh shrieks that at times overlap into multitracked layers. Slight problem in that the sonic richness and dynamic range drops noticeably between noise parts and band parts, and the sound becomes weedy. But the noisescape setting is one of the more interesting things about the record, filling the gaps between songs throughout each side.

The songs have a patchwork texture, changing tempo for almost every new idea. It means that each song lurches disjointedly through its parts, and not necessarily in a bad way; it's like some kind of stress position captivity where each position has its own pain, but you keep moving between the different postures you're capable of anyway. As we cycle between slow picked parts, bone-jarring stomp riffs, and slowish blast beats, and the background samples start to take on the ambiance of horror sci-fi, not much that's catchy floats to the surface, and the vocals stay more or less one note. If you're in that kind of bleak mood, you're in luck, otherwise tough shit.

I wish the person behind this had integrated the noise parts more with the band parts, to braid in more adventurous textures. In a different field, WHITEHORSE have shown how that combination can be twisted into much more interesting shapes. The gritty stodge of the full band parts make me wonder whether I would almost prefer the recording as a whole if it was scuzzed up through a cassette and boombox - the 12" format and relatively lavish packaging seem incongruously fancy, with the grooves on this running outwards from the inside, and the tactile, eerie white on black print of the sleeve conveying a kind of spectral grace.

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