Sewer Goddess, Disciples of Shit – Live Waste, US, Black Plague / Malignant Records, CD INFECT08 (2011?)
Recorded over a twelve-month period in venues around the eastern United States, this live album is a frightening work of death-doom-sludge metal / industrial / power electronics, all made more creepy and terrifying by front woman screecher Kristen Rose. The music, if it can be called that, emanates from the very bowels of a gigantic machine sauropod monster, its metal entrails pouring out of its steaming carcass with as much crash, bang and sub-sonic rumbling as the human ear and brain can stand. The noise is not as chaotic or bombastic as similar acts I’ve heard – Gnaw Their Tongues comes to mind as a comparison – and the sounds have a definite rhythm and structure going at a steady pace so the band obviously relies on rhythm looping. Atmosphere overwhelmingly reeks of despair and a fatalism that humanity is condemned to unending slavery and existential anguish: titles like “Chained to the Edge of Existence” and “Condemned is the Unborn One” leave us in no doubt about Sewer Goddess’s opinion of the human condition.
I’m glad the six songs were recorded on separate occasions: if they’d been sourced from the one gig, I’m pretty sure the crowd that attended would have been set to commit collective suicide, such is the monstrous and heavier-than-heavy, often ponderous delivery: drums and percussion are crashing everywhere, guitars grind harder and grittier than giant stone mill-stones, and Rose herself screams as though being rent apart slowly and surely in the death of a thousand million knife-paper cuts. An army of Laibachs and Einsturzende Neubatens, enough to do a recreation of a Leni Riefenstahl propaganda film like “Triumph of the Will”, could pretty well be swallowed up in your average Sewer Goddess performance.
Pride of place is given to the double set “Chained to the Edge of Existence / A Lifeless Dreaming” which begins with Rose barking out orders over a simmering, seething cauldron of stretched-out guitar tones and stuttering percussion. The track continues steadily with Rose now screaming for her life while guitar and drums hammer out a desolate and malevolent riff. In parts this sounds much like the kind of noisy experimental doom-metal improv the Australian band Whitehorse used to do, only Sewer Goddess are more grinding and pitiless. “Slavepiece” cleaves closer to the early-Whitehorse style with more squealing and blaring feedback guitar while drums knock out a monotonous bash and Rose howls the howl of the lost and the damned.
Worth your while checking out if you love Gnaw Their Tongues and similar blackened doom industrial sludge with a bonus of a woman screaming fit to die … and die she very much sounds like she’s doing all the way through, and you may well want to follow her and the rest of the band to the bitter, intense end. Are you as tough as the sucker-4-punishment polite audiences featured on this album?