Scott Kelly (he of Neurosis fame) and Sandford Parker (Buried At Sea) have clearly enjoyed working together on the Corrections House albums and found themselves with an over abundance of creativity from these sessions that has left a further itch to scratch.
As a juxtaposition from the indignation and anger of Corrections House, which channels the nihilism of EyeHateGod’s Mike William IX, Mirrors For Psychic Warfare is a dense brooding affair that is far more restrained in delivery and seeks to bury itself in your subconscious, soaking into the soul rather than smashing you over the head with a brick down a dark ally.
The pair worked on the 5 tracks that make up this Self-Titled effort over the course of 2015 and were mixed by Parker himself with his usual deft skill making this feel a very personal journey into the mindset of the two collaborators, rather than some subversive platform for Agit politics and cultural dissemination.
The album itself is a tired eyed, 3am haze that is half asleep and half tormented by brooding thoughts that nag at the back of the mind. The slow, creeping opener of Oracles Hex is as dense and introspective as anything either man has worked on and recalls works from both their catalogues – Kelly‘s solo work, the intense but naval gazing parts of Neurosis and the uncomfortable noises and samples of Sandford‘s finest works.
The eerie ringing guitar sets the back drop for Kelly‘s familiar drawl and the track builds slowly like a pressure cooker with the clash of machinery that recalls a more subtle Corrections House direction. This forms a bridge of sorts to the mammoth 14 minute A Thorn To See which is an intense, almost spoken word confessional from Kelly. The stripped back lyrics cover well trodden themes of death, the soul, infinity, angels and the cycles of life. Underneath this mournful, sombre poetry the powerful fuzz and cavernous notes conjured by Kelly‘s guitar and Parker‘s dark ambient groans is reminiscent of some of the artists on the now defunct Cold Meat Industry label which dabbled it’s toes in Goth and Industrial noise.
This heavy atmosphere continues on CNN WTZ and I’ll Try You All where the vocals become a tortured howl over atmospheric feedback and noise like the dying lament of a man surrendering himself to cold technological slavery. These are contrasted with the sharp, harsh striking notes that are plucked from the guitar and articulate as much as the lyrics, the weary heart that created it.
Like Broadrick’s Jesu the movement is often glacial and working through themes and relying on the emotion these evoke than going for a punchy sound bite. 43, the album closer pulses with electronic effects as a plinking piano charts the progression. The sounds swirl and build seemingly surrendering to chaos, before collapsing in on themselves. The album finishes with a disorientating garbled hail of noise and distorted vocals that almost slumps exhausted over the finish line.
Mirrors For Psychic Warfare was built for headphones, for listening to in the quiet, stillness. If you are a fan of either man involved, then you’ll know that the sheer emotional weight their Self-Titled debut carries could crush the casual listener and suck the air out of a room. It is at times an uncomfortable listen, its like waking in a cold sweat in the middle of the night from a fevered dream that leaves you restless and unsettled, not quite sure whether that feeling was real or imagined.
Always challenging and always unique, this latest outing for Neurot Recordings manages to hold your interest and gnaw at the soul.
Scribed by: Mark Hunt-Bryden