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kevin drumm - Sheer Hellish Miasma
Originally issued in 2002, Editions Mego have seen fit to re-issue this noise classic with lovely new Steven O'Malley artwork and an extra thirteen minute track (recorded at the same time as the album). It's pretty good timing too, as noise music is finally, thanks to artists such as Wolf Eyes, Hair Police and Prurient breaking out of its cassette-based shackles into almost mainstream acceptance. Okay maybe I'm going a little overboard with that, but come on - Wolf Eyes on Sub Pop? Who would have thought that would happen, and have you been to a noise show lately? There are girls there and everything. I remember seeing Hecker on a Mego tour a few years ago and noise was strictly a bespectacled boy thing, now we've got all sorts lapping it up, and that can only be a good thing. Kevin Drumm started out as a guitarist, becoming an important player of prepared guitar in the Chicago scene, but quickly he began to turn his hand to radically noisier sounds, sounds which came to a head on this milestone work. Here the record opens with the 'new' track 'Impotent Hummer', which interestingly takes a notably quieter direction than much of the original album's tracks. A drone piece fired through some kind of malfunctioning distortion pedals the most obvious comparison would be with the young Dutch upstart of harmonic noise Machinefabriek, albiet with a little more evil added for extra effect. However the album proper kicks off with 'Turning Point', as crushing a piece of noise as you're likely to hear - loops of crunching guitar abuse and heavily degraded analogue synthesizer are layered on top of each other creating a truly visceral cacophonous racket. The album comes to a head with the twenty-four minute monster of a track 'The Inferno' (which incidentally features Boston noisy dude Greg Kelley on trumpet); a track which doesn't so much make noise as becomes noise. This is the sort of track you need to literally give yourself to, losing control of your mind and becoming one with the pure, putrid stench of NOISE. As squealing, pulsating analogue synthesizers rise and fall over the oppressive crunch of Drumm's guitar you are left with the metallic taste of blood in your mouth through your gritted teeth. An insanely good album and a cornerstone of the genre, it's great to see this back on the shelves - just remember to handle with extreme caution. SICK.