(2010) This Face

Gnaw

... read moreSomebody ring up Dick Cheney! Art-noise collective Gnaw have accidentally created quite the aural counter-terrorism interrogation tool with their 2009 collaboration, This Face. Call it anti-music, if you will, because although there's clearly a unified artistic agenda supporting the album, and even...

49′:17″ 9 Songs

1
Gnaw
Haven Vault
2:17
2
Gnaw
Vacant
4:25
3
Gnaw
Talking Mirrors
5:03
4
Gnaw
Feelers
3:46
5
Gnaw
Backyard Frontier
7:34
6
Gnaw
Watcher
7:21
7
Gnaw
Ghosted
4:51
8
Gnaw
Shard
5:13
9
Gnaw
Byf (Reprise)
8:47
Released 01 March 2010, ℗ Conspiracy Records

Review

Somebody ring up Dick Cheney! Art-noise collective Gnaw have accidentally created quite the aural counter-terrorism interrogation tool with their 2009 collaboration, This Face. Call it anti-music, if you will, because although there's clearly a unified artistic agenda supporting the album, and even certain genres peeking through the generalized chaos (industrial, black metal, etc.) to most listeners this will simply sound like a blistering racket suffused in static. Dissecting it piece by piece, beginning with arguably the most "conventional" elements, one finds Khanate vocalist Alan Dubin roaring, screeching, mewling, and whispering ever-misanthropic lyrics like some rabid hyena being squashed under a dying rhino. Then there's drummer Jamie Sykes (Burning Witch, Thorr's Hammer) who, when he doesn't step out for a cigarette and miss the action entirely (see "Watcher"), lays down an at times erratic, frequently frantic foundation ranging from blastbeats to doom-stomps, with tribal rhythms and exotic percussion sprinkled in between. And perhaps most importantly, there's multi-instrumentalist Carter Thompson (Enos Slaughter, etc.) who provides the backbone of the more structured songs ("Vacant," "Shard," etc.) by handling guitar, bass, piano, and any number of mystery home-built "instruments." Thompson also reportedly supplied a number of field recordings and it is these elusive found sounds, along with the similarly vague contributions of sound designers Jun Mizumachi and Brian Beatrice, that give This Face its final, dissonantly disorienting touches. Attempting to describe or deconstruct the album any further is an exercise in futility, insofar as there are far too many sounds whose origins one can't even be fathomed amid the layers of fuzz distortion obfuscating everything. Suffice to say that the vast majority of music consumers will see no reason to torment themselves with Gnaw's little masochistic art project; but for daring adventurers to whom melodic, harmonious sounds have simply become passé, This Face may be just the sort of torture they've been hankering for. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia