Unbelievably grim and blown out Burzumic black metal buzz from a Korean eighth grader! Noise drenched and drone-y, beautiful and shoegaze-y, filthy and fucked up, lo-fi but impossibly lush, recorded at home on limited equipment, with very little knowledge of technique, just total blackened inspiration. The sound of soul and spirit rendered in deep shades of black and huge swaths of suffocating buzz. Recorded when he was only 14! It's true. tUMULt has been trying to get this out for ages, and it's finally time.
This is THE ONE. The essence of pure inspired ultra personal musical expression. Powerful and intense, blown out and buzz drenched, depressive and melancholic. A cd-r of this record made it to a writer at Terrorizer, who was so impressed, he reviewed the sans-art, home burned cd-r and gave it a TEN. It's that fucking mind blowing. Totally in the red, digital distortion, crumbling and furious. The vocals anguished wails and tortured howls, the drums simple programmed beats, weirdly clipped and processed, also wreathed in distortion, keyboards offering up more buzz and shimmer. Long stretches of creepy ambience, samples of speeches and warfare, of wailing weeping mothers and children, all woven into Pyhas buzzing black tapestry. Total bedroom lo-fi production, but completely idiosyncratic and inspired. No blast beats or furious thrashing, instead, the tracks are either midtempo, or no-tempo, with some tracks eschewing drums all together, just a wall of ultra distorted riffage all tangled up with demonic howls. But it's not just howling and screeching, the vocals sometimes emerge as a weird wailing croon, other times as a hushed whisper, while other times a mumbled moan. In fact, a few of the tracks almost sound like some weird black metal Sebadoh, super lo-fi and dripping with distortion, the vocals weary and worn, buried beneath swirling squalls of blacknoise. Others have a distinct shoegaze quality too, that is if you can imagine a shoegaze Abruptum, the drums loping and laid back, the guitars washed out and blurred, the vocals SO distorted they swallow up all the other sounds and become another layer of super saturated sound. Sometimes they even morph into fucked up harmonies, so loud and lo-fi they crackle and splinter, without losing any of their alien beauty. There are long stretches of ambience too. Crackling campfires, crickets, warm whirring synths way off in the distance, ghostly gurgled disembodied voices, whipping wind, all interwoven with tape hiss and buzzing synths, creepy noises, and all manner of sonic detritus.
Three of the tracks here are bonus tracks, recorded later, but still manage to fit perfectly with the original disc. One is especially of note, as it's maybe the most melodic of the bunch, thick keyboards drift over a sea of pulsing cymbal sizzle, and barely audible guitar, the drums buried way down in the mix, the vocals growling and hissing and howling, the whole thing very dreamy and drifty and otherworldly. Until the end, when everything drops out leaving just shimmering synths, and the sounds of war, speeches, soldiers, sirens, weeping mothers, crying children, so intense and anguished and moving. Which brings us to the lyrical content. Pyha is staunchly anti-government, anti-war, anti-military, he's a pacifist and an anarchist, and has chosen black metal as the medium to express his message. The packaging is covered in images of Korean wartime atrocities, all of which is even more ironic and sad, when you learn that Pyha (now that he's old enough) is currently in the Korean Army, as military service there is compulsory.
The record closes with one of the most powerful tracks on the record. A seven+ minute blow out, as black as anything else on the disc, and definitely the fastest, as close to a blast as Pyha gets. But it's still loping and woozy. The drums and cymbals are recorded super hot and lay a gauzy layer of hiss over the proceedings, keyboards pick out a delicate minor key melody, hovering weightless like ghosts over the roiling blackened churn below. It almost sounds like Canadian black metal weirdos Wold at times, as if there was some old 78 playing beneath the wash of black buzz. The track gets heavier and heavier, the vocals more and more demonic and monstrous, the intensity building and building, the main riff, remaining impossibly haunting and majestic as it sinks deeper and deeper into the sea of noise drenched blackness, leaving more and more of that mysterious underlying melody, to drift off and eventually fade away, slithering through a constant cloud of drifting damaged drones.
Rare is the record, black metal or otherwise, that evokes such intense emotion, that gives the listener chills. Beyond the blackness and the buzz, lies a record of impossible depth, full of emotion and passion. So much so, that it's easy to forget that it was conceived, composed and recorded entirely by a teenager!
Gorgeously packaged in a 6 panel gatefold digipak. Brown and gold sepia toned, with metallic ink, the outside a tranquil Korean landscape, inside a garish gallery depicting the human cost of warfare.THE BLACK METAL RECORD OF THE YEAR. Maybe. For some of us, one of the best black metal records ever. What the fuck were you doing when you were 14 years old?!
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