Power electronics is not a genre for the lighthearted, noted for its harshness even in the experimental noise scene. It's a bit of a pleasant surprise, then, that the latest album from Navicon Torture Technologies is so hauntingly pretty in places. The requisite elements of aural sadism are still there, of course; "No Hands, No Teeth" is brutal feedback broken by sampled shrieking, while the sonically immense closing track "This Is How We Pray, We Prey" is at once disturbing on an emotional level and painful on a physical one, but orchestral and harmonic elements throughout this album add a sense of beauty and emotion to the layers of distortion and raw-throated screams. Album opener "The Stars And The Scars" is particularly affecting, with the voice of a terrified woman pleading in German contrasted with majestic synth pads, while "Self-Eviscerating Concepts" plays thickly distorted speech against a symphony of electronic tones. Even "Three Knives," evoking an extended torture scene via sampled sobbing and painful frequencies, is put together with an orchestral awareness that elevates it well above the typical shock tactics of so many extreme noise purveyors. Though they're unarguably vicious, Navicon Torture Technologies' compositions are hypnotic, as well; "A Constellation Of Skin," in particular, is on the same level as such ritual noise masters as Sleep Chamber and Aesthetic Meat Front. Incorporating a number of sonic and conceptual ideas, Navicon Torture Technologies has released a real masterpiece. Though the admittedly gruesome subject matter ensures this album's limited appeal, fans of Non, Der Blutharsch, Throbbing Gristle, and even early Swans will enjoy this one a great deal.
Go to www.leechnest.net/ntt for more information.
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