So what exactly does S.C.R.A.M. stand for? Safety Control Rod Axe Man of course and it’s the brainchild of Pranjal Tiwari, a name that might be familiar from heavy doomers Cardinal Wyrm. However, S.C.R.A.M. is a different entity entirely where he explores sonics and soundscapes over the colossal riff, that’s none more evident than on the recent split with Gridfailure.
Released independently back in August 2021 to critical acclaim, Tiwari thought the time was now right to unchain a video for the seventh track off the split EP, Oxidization Of Zirconium With Steam, which the man himself explains…
‘The S.C.R.A.M. project was created to provide a soundtrack to urban exploration in the modern ruins that surround us. When I created the first EP, Sellafield Mox, I imagined being in an abandoned building, walking around in the dark with a flashlight in your hand and S.C.R.A.M. in your headphones. I likened it to the audio equivalent of taking mushrooms, the right soundtrack can heighten the experience of exploration, making the spaces that seem empty step forward and come alive. I love walking around for an hour or two with headphones on, even if it’s just around where I live, it’s absolutely a sort of ritual for me. You’re taking in what’s around you but also shutting yourself off from the world and going inside yourself. I wanted to create music that would be perfect for that.’
Tiwari continues, ‘The split with Gridfailure is very much in this vein. My side of the split is about exploring an area in the middle of a catastrophic nuclear meltdown, starting off in the exclusion zone surrounding it and wandering inside, eventually to the heart of the facility in crisis, and simultaneously to the heart of the atom itself. On Oxidization Of Zirconium With Steam you can hear the creepy crawling, tippy tapping march of an unseen atomic level chain reaction prior to a hydrogen explosion, similar to what happened at the Fukushima plant in Japan. It’s unseen but it surrounds you, the pressure and tension building up in the background until the final, inevitable release into a cold night sky.’
And adds, ‘I’m currently working on two upcoming S.C.R.A.M. releases, one is a drone album focused on being lost and wandering around a frozen tundra, while the other is a neo-noir, futuristic city soundtrack influenced by Bernard Hermann’s Taxi Driver soundtrack and the score to Blade Runner by Vangelis. With a S.C.R.A.M. twist on it, of course.’
Got that? I really hope so, now click below and transcend into the oxidised world of S.C.R.A.M.…
More On S.C.R.A.M., Gridfailure & The Split EP
S.C.R.A.M. (Safety Control Rod Axe Man) is the solo project of Oakland, California-based musician Pranjal Tiwari. Known for his work with the long-running cult doom metal band Cardinal Wyrm, with this project, Tiwari utilizes this project to create cinematic, experimental, ambient/electronic and heavily instrumental passages. Utilizing tension and negative space to create immersive auras, he has released an EP (Sellafield Mox) and a full-length (America, The Ritual) as S.C.R.A.M. prior to this split with Gridfailure. Additional new material is in the works for the months ahead.
New York City area-based Gridfailure is the unpredictable and confrontational audiovisual project from David Brenner, yielding dense, tension-filled output, with elements of dark ambient and dark hardcore, infused with jazz, world music, folk, harsh noise, electronica, punk, and more. Operating solo or with a cast of collaborators on record and on stage since its 2016 inception, the project has amassed dozens of independent releases, including collaborations with Mac Gollehon, Rack, Megalophobe, Walking Bombs, Christian Molenaar, and others, and splits with Chrome Waves, Never Presence Forever, and others preceding the split with S.C.R.A.M.. While Gridfailure regularly releases material independently and through Nefarious Industries, the project is confirmed to release new records through Anti-Corporate Music as well as Today Is The Day founder Steve Austin’s relaunched SuperNova Records in the months ahead.
The S.C.R.A.M. portion of this split is a journey from the exterior to the interior, based around the event of a catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdown. It starts with a hurried trek through the safety of the outer perimeter, continues through the concrete shroud around a burning reactor, amid the groans of a heaving pressure vessel and cascading chain reactions. The final track, The Loneliness Of Cesium 137, takes us right to the elemental level, to the creation of a new isotope. That track, and the split, ends with a primal roar – the cataclysmic scream of birth, and the flailing restlessness of something unseen, a consciousness convulsing beyond the barrier of the material, its lonely, lashing spirit constrained by atomic structure and bellowing to be free. Tiwari supplies and handles vocals, sequencer, synthesizers, guitars, live drums, and field recordings, heavily shaped with a bizarre and unique ‘noise box’ built by Ash from Ormus Electronics, with additional vocals provided by Joelle Garson.
Gridfailure’s four new songs on the split burst from between the tense atmospheres of the S.C.R.A.M. tracks, offsetting the tension with a barrage of explosive post-industrial, apocalyptic annihilation. Created within a matrix of intense pedalboard arrangements and effects, reverberating, lo-fi percussion is shrouded in a phosphorus fog of bass, guitars, synth, field recordings, and more, with a vortex of multiple vocal tracks piercing through with confrontational dissolution. Lyrically fueled by societal disintegration, environmental collapse, and existential mental crises, once again, Gridfailure evades accessibility and embraces techniques to deliver the utmost discomforting and visceral listening experience possible.
The Gridfailure material was written, performed, recorded, and mixed by David Brenner at The Compound in Valley Cottage, New York, and the S.C.R.A.M. material written, performed, recorded, and mixed by Pranjal Tiwari at The Sarcophagus in Oakland, California, and all tracks were mastered by Dan Emery at Black Matter Mastering in Nashville, Tennessee (Kool Keith, Many Blessings, Thetan). The cover was created with photography by Tiwari and Brenner, manipulated/designed by Brenner.
Gridfailure / S.C.R.A.M. Split EP Tracklisting:
01. S.C.R.A.M. Hastily Improvised Exclusion Zone
02. Gridfailure Systemwide Anomaly
03. S.C.R.A.M. A Shroud Around The Core
04. Gridfailure Basophobia
05. S.C.R.A.M. Reactor Pressure Vessel
06. Gridfailure Special Dead
07. S.C.R.A.M. Oxidation Of Zirconium With Steam
08. Gridfailure Howling Everyday Existence
09. S.C.R.A.M. The Loneliness Of Cesium 137