Rachael Kozak is scary. As Hecate, she's long been a luminary of the techno and noise scenes, and while her previous full-length Seven Veils Of Silence was deceptively pretty in places, the unifying theme in all of her work is unremitting darkness. Her latest album pulls no punches. In addition to the signature distorted breakbeats and wicked drum 'n' bass, Brew Hideous incorporates elements of black metal, of all things. A number of tracks incorporate loops of guitar and blast-beat drumming, with "Trial By Ordeal" and "Drunkard's Cloak" being especially friendly to head-banging, and most tracks feature Kozak's vocals, delivered in a sort of raw-throated whisper that's intense and genuinely horrifying. "Coven In Heat" and "Shards Of Pan" are particularly evocative, conjuring up images of dark techno rituals, like a Medieval black mass taking place at an underground warehouse party. Even the quieter bits are some of the most evil soundscapes Kozak has created in an already notably evil career; "Wait In Chains" is all jarring industrial ambiance, full of metallic scrapes and low-end distortion, while the relatively down-tempo "Beyond The Pyre" incorporates cello and choir samples and industrial percussion for a modern horror soundtrack feel. While Hecate's earlier material had enough crossover appeal to make something of an impact in the experimental techno scene, Brew Hideous is for the hardcore folks only. For rhythmic noise fans, though, this is a good thing, and it's hard to think of any recent releases that offer such a condensed dose of darkness.
Taste the brew online at www.zhark.org for more information on Hecate and Rachael Kozak.
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