For the record: If you’re going to come at me with an album with titles like “Fuck” and “Fucked Up Shit,” make damn sure you’re armed with something more to show me than your unresolved anger issues, Trent Reznor worship, and a need to appear “edgy.” Luckily, Laird Sheldahl, recording as Dumb Machine, just manages to shoulder his way past my song-title-based preconceptions with the industrial crush of H.P. Kittencraft. There’s anger aplenty to be had, turned into churning and relentless edge-of-noise soundwalls, along with IDM-like soundbites ground into the flow. And although you do get a distinct whiff of NiN (Sheldahl’s label, Carbon 12, also throws out a Swans mention, and I can see that), you also get hook-packed, dark dance grooves and a massive hammerfall of sound. (Please be advised that physical damage may result from getting in the way of the 12-ton guitar chords punching their way through “Fuck,” and that the listener may suffer whiplash as a result of uncontrollable headbanging.) H.P. Kittencraft is only 45 minutes long, but Sheldahl loads it tightly and doesn’t give the listener much relief until he’s done. This is energetic, vicious, and potent industrial. You have to like it hard to like what’s here, or at least be willing to take a punch. Brace yourself. It’s worth it.
Available from Carbon 12 Records.
One thought on “Dumb Machine: H.P. Kittencraft”
Glad you heard what I heard when Laird first sent me his tracks. I was afraid the relentless wall of sound so wonderfully constructed had damaged my powers of perception. Thanks for the excellent review.