Wolf Eyes - Human Animal

This is extreme music; certainly as extreme as anything that has been reviewed on Incendiary before.


Wolf Eyes – Human Animal

 http://www.subpop.com/ http://www.konkurrent.nl/


Clanks, some electronic feedback. More clanks. The clash of a cymbal. After a couple of minutes a squawk from a saxophone. The clanks occur with increasing frequency. The free-sax squall continues. An electronic drone emerges, and some hiss. What sounds like a scream, a terrible scream. Welcome to the world of Wolf Eyes, for this is a description of their opening track, A Million Years. Now clearly by describing it thus I do not do the song justice. Why? Because I've read a lot about Wolf Eyes without hearing them, and it would seem that they are a band that can do no wrong. Theoretically they mix free jazz, Stockhausen, metal and more into an incantatory and ecstatic mix that has music critics eating out of their hands. To use the parlance of our times, they are the shizzle.


Anyway, the scream continues into Lake of Roaches before it fades out and is replaced by the sound of high-pitched insects. Other electronic noises join in, as though someone is looking for a radio channel on a machine that doesn't work properly. And then we're onto track three, Rationed Rot. A drum pounds against a high-pitched whine. More random electronic noises emerge before a stoned voice strains to be heard over the drums and the sound of a gale. Then a low drone and more static and then the squalling noise of the sax. The title track ups the ante more than a little. It makes an almighty row. A distorted voice shouts and the electronic noise going on all around it forms a wall of thick white feedback. Cymbals clash and high-pitched whines try and compete with the pounding industrial beat. Rusted Mange keeps the noise-fest going – quick but stuttering drums back more electronic noise and a shouting voice. A distressed alto sax (I think) screams over all of it.


It lasts just over two minutes but it if lasted any longer it would blister paint. And probably start to take your skin off. Even in this short time it begins to be painfully hypnotic and there's an almost perverse desire for it to continue. It's the sound that someone would make if they could be kept alive whilst being put through a mincer. I'm not exaggerating. Well, not much. After that things calm down a bit. Leper War is more drone based but The Driller continues the aural assault. As a bonus they round things off with a cover of Noise Not Music by No Fucker's. According to the notes it's a spot-on version and I'm not going to argue. Let's just say the title is pretty apt.


But then it is for the rest of the album too. God only knows what they are like live, but I suspect that this is where they function most successfully. This is extreme music; certainly as extreme as anything that has been reviewed on Incendiary before. This is in part because it is a mixture of forms of music that are already extreme to most ears – free jazz, Darmstadt electronics and the furthest reaches of what one might call metal. When the music is 'quiet', as on the first couple of tracks, the music resembles the noise that a bunch of zombies might make whilst wandering around a junkyard. When it really kicks in, well, Christ Almighty, hold onto your hats. Imagine if Texas Chainsaw Massacre was being made for the first time, today. And imagine it one hundred times more intense than the original. This is the soundtrack.


Words: Chris Dawson.