Sunday, 12 January 2020
Static of Masses - Exorcizando Eiciunt Daemonia
Album: Exorcizando Eiciunt Daemonia
Artist: Static of Masses
Label: Doomsday’s Today Records/Negative Demonic Frequency
Catalogue no: Not known
4. Cried in Heaven’s Arms
5. June 3rd, 1928
6. Cathedral of Noise
9. Children of Tulu
This dark noise ambient project hails from Odessa in Texas, and although this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered them (they contributed a track to the debut Occult Realm compilation released by Big Cypress Swamp netlabel, a project I’m involved in) this is the first I have heard them in the round, so to speak. And what we have here are ten short- to mid-length tracks of lushly dark rumbling, droning textures, imbued with deliciously sinister atmospheres without straying into histrionics or cliché, all of which go to satisfy those deeply primal centres in the human lizard brain.
‘Presence’ opens the account with a blaring astringent alarm, before settling into a bass drone held up by a pulsing and oscillating granular rhythm which further evolves into a cold, wintry, and windswept Hadean landscape. This is the signature of an unwelcome presence indeed, a usurper squeezing itself into a frail human container, abrogating to itself the functions and appearance of utter banality and normality. ‘Oblivion’ follows on, a tribalistic, drum-driven hellscape replete with voices and anguished whisperings of pain and desolation, set in a subterranean realm lit only bit fire and molten lava. Here is the kingdom of emptiness and hollow shells, a place where humanoid bodies devoid of sense and soul shuffle dejectedly, neither sensate of nor caring about where they are. There’s no warmth here, in spite of the fires and streams of lava – instead the winds speak of unutterable cold and loneliness.
‘Resurrection’, for all the associations the word possesses, offers little in the way of comfort – this isn’t the revival of the soul, but the reappearance of dread oppression, fear incarnate, and the further denudation and degradation of soul and innocence. Black streams of ichor and poisonous exhalations blow through the entire piece, putrefying and rotting everything they come into contact with. Strident crashings serve as a harbinger of utter collapse, of a catastrophic devolvement into barbarism and brutality. Make no mistake, light has no sway here, and perhaps has been forever barred from any egress into this realm. ‘Cried in Heaven’s Arms’ promises to at least show a sliver of hope, but it was a faint hope at best. A grainy, slippery drone accompanied by a distant percussive element and the distressed sobs of a woman serve as an introduction to the tone of this piece, before a distorted voice and a figure picked out on a piano take over, wiping out any lightness and clarity before they’ve even had a chance to coalesce. The next track, ‘June 3rd, 1928’, blasts us with hollow winds presaging a deep and heavy darkness, and the only reference I could find to this date was that a lunar eclipse occurred on this day – an event that somehow fits perfectly with the atmosphere presented here. This, like many of the tracks on this album, features a deeply demonic voice, an element which only adds to the ritualistic atmosphere that threads its way through the piece. ‘Cathedral of Noise’ speaks of a vast edifice, perhaps open to the skies, where hot searing winds blow through tall columns and whip the burning braziers into a frenzy of flame and angry heat. Explosive detonations sound off occasionally, gushing forth gouts of flame and malignancy. A frantic female voice vainly asks for help, but her screams only give strength to the black intentions of those who worship at its altar. Steadily, the noise becomes grainier and more powerful, more abrasive, stripping soft flesh and ripping the soul. It’s an uncomfortable listening experience, unsettling and deeply disturbing, and is one of the best tracks on here so far.
We’re back to deep bass drone rumbles on ‘NoWhen’, a swirling miasma of mists and guttural vocals, a place that has no location in either space or time, perhaps existing in all places and times equally. Perhaps it’s representative of the human zeitgeist, the presiding spirit of the true nature of humanity – the dark, the destructive, the violent. Thus has it always been and thus will it always remain. ‘Irritus’ arrives via a platform of didgeridoo-like oscillations, upon which a recorded voice enunciates and proclaims – this sounds as if it comes from a distant era but is only now reaching us, the last broadcast sent amidst the apocalypse from some long-forgotten civilisation as both a testament and as a warning. Distorted piano notes only underline that distance, again speaking of a gulf between then and now in both space and time.
The penultimate track, ‘Children of Tulu’, has arrived before we even know it, announcing itself via a powerful soaring drone. Industrial machine noise supersedes, wrapping itself around the utterances of a distorted voice, burying the words in an obscuring veil of swirling feedback and plangent bells. Outlined here is a portrait of a mysterious locale, simultaneously sacred and yet deeply profane, seemingly dedicated to the basest of human (and inhuman) motivations. Bloodlust, carnal desire, greed, gluttony, and destruction are given voice here, spilling out in a black fog that almost feels sentient. ‘Penance’, the closing track, is the ‘lightest’ of all the tracks presented, relying heavily on tribal percussion and entirely reminiscent of 1990’s industrial akin to Skinny Puppy in their prime. Not a bad thing by any means, but a distinct change of direction given the preceding. A tinge of nostalgia for me, as it took me right back to those heady days and perhaps a good way of resurfacing into the light of the real world given the darkness abounding across the rest of the album.
I have to say that this entire album sucked me right in – the whole set was over before I knew it, a good sign that I bought into its vision. The textures and atmospheres have been pitched perfectly, plunging the listener into a deeply disturbing and unhealthy world of demonic presences, the type of entities only too willing to subvert innocence and human frailties to further their own malign ends. The light of hope and sanctity fears to tread in these regions, a fact absolutely nailed squarely on all ten of the tracks here – an attribute and talent that speaks volumes about the creative power of Static of Masses. Further releases are definitely eagerly awaited.
Available as a CD, limited cassette and download from the following links:
Psymon Marshall 2020.