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mika vainio - Life (...it Eats You Up)
Mika Vainio serves up an album of incredible guitar-based experiments on Editions Mego, and almost needless to say it's f*ckng brilliant, ten tracks of sheer head-crushing doom that just wipes the floor with pretty much anyone else doing this kind of thing. The erstwhile Pan Sonic man uses his inimitable arsenal of advanced electronic techniques to coax the most exquisitely hellish, heavy sounds of his axe, but crucially he doesn't manipulate the instrument totally beyond recognition: no, this is an album that really thrashes and shreds and, yes, rocks; culminating in an impossibly heavy, swaggering cover of The Stooges' 'Open Up And Bleed' (yes, you read that right: Mika Vainio covering The Stooges). Elsewhere it's more abstract if no less exacting - we're especially bowled over by 'In Silence A Scream Takes A Heart' and 'A Ravenous Edge', two droning, torrid dirges that summon KTL, Gravetemple and Sunn O)) at their gnarliest, whilst easily outgunning 'em all (no mean feat). On 'Throat' Vainio conjures an ear-scraping power electronics sound that has more in common with Prurient or Kevin Drumm's Sheer Hellish Miasmah, while 'Mining' is a complete wildcard: drum-driven, steam-powered and feedback-drenched industrial funk, the bastard offspring of Nitzer Ebb and Earth. 'Crashed' surveys more expansive, minimalist, even cinematic terrain, but still manages to sound punishingly claustrophobic, while the almighty 'And Gives Us Our Daily Humiliation' and 'Conquering The Solitutde' sound like a black metal band subjected to Pita-style digital processing. Misanthropic, brutal, uncompromising and heavier than a death in the family: there's no dungeon deep or dark enough to contain this absolute beast of an album. Just incredible.