dead peni - 2-4(+1)

CD, 2008, Blossoming Noise, Lilburn.   Available


includes video to ‘1’ by Moju


Droning dirge-y sludge records are a dime a dozen at this point. It’s still a sound we love, but we’re rapidly reaching a saturation point. The punk rock ethos of ‘anyone can start a band’ combined with the fact that everybody has a cd burner, and the seeming ‘ease’ of making doomy drone music, just means that now, it requires a whole hell of a lot of digging and sifting thought mounds of mediocre doom and so so sludge, to discover something as fucked up and far out as Dead Peni. We first hear Dead Peni on a compilation a year or two back and were immediately smitten. The name evoked some sort of blackened take on Rudimentary Peni, but the sound was nothing of the sort, instead Dead Peni trafficked in an expansive sprawling riff based blackened doomdrone, that was anything but static, like a slowed down tarpit space rock, an even doomier murkier Godflesh, or Wolf Eyes with some rhythmic heft. It was hard to get a feel for what DP were capable of just on the basis of the music on the comp, but it was definitely enough to know we needed more. And -more- has arrived, in the form of this three track, 47 minute, mysteriously monickered slab of blackened crush. 2-4+1 begins all hushed shimmer and deeeeeep low end whir, a sound that could be any cd-r, until some ungodly beastlike growl emerges from the depths and the guitar explodes, super distorted, crumbling and processed, but weirdly muted and warm. A single crash, allowed to ring out, transforming into a charged electronic buzz, streaked with feedback, and underpinned by that monstrous gurgling voice. Finally the drums kick in, a slow motion drum machined doomic plod, and we’re gone. Total buzzing black doom industrial noise nirvana, lumbering and druggy, minor key and surprisingly melodic. A bit of Godflesh, a little Gore, some classic old school funereal doom run through a bank of Wolf Eyesian cracked electronics and malfunctioning effects, the weirdest part is the crowd noise, what sounds like the chanting of a rally or demonstration, snippets and samples, wrapped in rippling sheets of feedback, and woven into massive churning waves of crumbling distortion, a cinematic and weirdly dreamlike doom / industrial / noise hybrid. Like the sound of some super fucked up post apocalyptic political rally, tattered flags, burning buildings, a crowd of shapes and figures clad in rags, some mysterious shadow, on a raised parapet, delivering his message in a gurgling rumbling barely audible vocals, almost like goregrind vocals, but buried so low in the mix they end up sounding like another layer of droning rumble. One guitar weaves a soaring almost majestic melody, but still woozy and washed out sounding, while the track lurches glacially onward, the crowd cheering and chanting, the whole thing like some mysterious soundtrack to the end of the world, or at least the end of the world as we know it. But we can’t help but willingly submit. The following track begins with nearly 4 minutes of rain, thunder and lightning, voices, field recordings, laid over an almost imperceptible high end, which gradually grows and grows into a symphony of feedback, tones and overtones tangling and intermingling, creating all sorts of alien melodies, until finally the riff comes in, a super simple caveman dirge sort of riff, locked into a neverending loop, repeating over and over and over like some sort of proto metal mantra, while all the while, the rainfall continues, the random sounds drift in and out, the feedback swirls in little squalls and tangles, the only deviation, being some brief bits of classic doom like melody, before the riff inevitably returns to it’s original looping dirge. The final track begins with an explosion of blown out guitar and buzzing rumble, before drifting off, leaving the staticky detritus over a simple robotic pulse, and a sea of glitch and squiggles, the various elements finally locking into some sort of super abstract doom metal, but one that is hardly doom, or metal, more like some fragmented space drone, peppered with squalls of superdistorted guitar, the occasional clanging crash and crunch, all very muted and muddy, wreathed in a layer of gauzy distortion, voices, dogs barking, all manner of random sounds, and finally, a fierce howled processed demonic voice, wrapped in distorted riffage, and creating a super spare, spaced out sort of doom, where the riffs spend most of the time buzzing and drifting, only to rear up and spit out a bit of fractured melody and harsh hissy pummel, before recoiling again, and resuming its slow burning black drone. It almost sounds like Butthole Surfers ultra-doom, the same sort of effects drenched trippiness, and off kilter dementia, but way blacker, and way more fucked up and frightening. Any of the three tracks could have been stretched out to album length, and we most certainly would have bought all three, but the three pieces here definitely work together well, as some sort of hellish, demonic, slow motion black doom drone dirge, that plays out almost like some impossible Wolf Eyes / Moss / Arvo Part mash up, if that makes any sense. Which it doesn’t, but which is exactly what makes Dead Peni so amazing. In addition to the 3 audio tracks, there’s a fourth track included as a quicktime video, another blown out glacial buzz drenched dirge, this time accompanied by strange abstract visuals, black and white, giving way to green and blue, what seems to be buildings or ruins, but ultimately are so overexposed they just become shapes, the perfect visual representation of Dead Peni’s abject black doom.