The Talismanic Square

As Burial Hex, American player Clay Ruby continues to produce his extreme power electronics noise on Gauze (COLD SPRING RECORDS CSR301CD) with a view to erecting a magick circle of psychic defence and keeping evil spirits at bay.

He’s been pursuing this plan for a number of years now, since 2012 to our knowledge, and though the project began as a necessary charm to preserve the hide of Clay Ruby himself, it’s now been extended to protect “the families directly involved with the Burial Hex project”, although I think regular non-initiates like ourselves can also use it, maybe by simply buying this CD and playing it (preferably quite loud and in the dark). I always imagine this scheme began life as a revenge charm on some highly-paid music biz executive after a music deal went badly, but it’s clearly now become a way of life for our hapless fellow, who must be tormented by as many demons as Saint Anthony in the desert. The more you look for them, the more they will appear. In the florid prose of the press release, there’s also some hints about denial, fasting, and a certain disgust at the realities of human flesh, a line not too far apart from the mortification of the flesh which the early Christian ascetics followed.

The magickal incantation aspects aren’t just confined to the music, but also extend to the cover artworks; the one on the back cover inscribes a lengthy written spell in a spiral form, placing it around the image of a mermaid or moon-witch, along with the famous Sator-Rotas palindromic square which has a long talismanic history. Also much to be said for the symbol-laden track titles, such as ‘Lion’s Breath’, ‘Double Scorpio’, ‘Lost Sailor’ and ‘Treasure Spirits’, which feel like they’re oozing from the pages of a 15th century book of emblems. Aurally, Burial Hex achieves his relentless ward-’em-off results by using much doomy percussion, distorted noise, and grotesque vocal incantations, words mostly unintelligible, but emotionally very direct, as if the vocalist were propelled by an urgent, near-hysterical force. Half the time, you feel the demons have won the battle, and are already possessing his body and soul. However, during the calmer moments on the album, the musician pulls off some remarkable feats of dynamics and tension; it’s not a full-on harsh wall of pain, and has moments of genuine eeriness and spooky vibes among the jolting shocks.

Nifty hype sticker uses the phrases “horror electronics” and “phantasmagoric post industrial” to evoke the power of this music. Strong potion in this bottle, from 4th March 2022.