You may be familiar with Paul Lemos and his band, Controlled Bleeding, from their brief industrial rock period on Wax Trax, or perhaps you’ve heard some of the dark ambient material from when they were signed to Projekt Records. This compilation of rarities and reworked early pieces does not sound like any of that. This is extreme noise. Not power noise. Not ambient noise. Not background noise. Extreme noise: earsplitting blasts of feedback and distortion loud enough and harsh enough to damage both stereo speakers and your permanent hearing. It says something about an album when the primary differences between songs come down to track length; “Bees No. 1” and “Bees No. 2” are only a few seconds each, while Sessions 1 and 2 of “Bladder Bags” are twenty-minute epics of sonic punishment. The other important descriptor is how much the songs hurt. “Experiments Infuck” and “Shanked and…” are tremendously painful, even at low volume settings, though the liner notes contain the sadistic request to “play this disc at high volume,” while the lower frequencies of “Dry Lung” and “Vole” can be almost pleasant, with occasional hints of melody emerging from the layers of feedback. “Hymn No. 1” is more ambient than extreme, with hints of distant voices emerging from low volume drones, while album closer “Hymn No. 2,” described in the liner notes simply as “an ending,” features horns, soft keyboards, and Joe Papa’s operatic vocal work. It’s so pretty and pleasant it almost feels like a reward after over an hour of suffering. Though some of Controlled Bleeding’s least accessible work, this is nonetheless an important document in the history of one of industrial music’s most important and underrated bands. Still, this is an album for fans looking to complete their Controlled Bleeding collection, not for people looking to start one.
Visit the record label at www.hospitalproductions.com for other new releases from the harsh noise scene.
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