Going back to the mid-90's, the obscure Austin, TX outfit Korperschwache (German for "organic decay") has issued a steady stream of releases into the deep underground that showcased a distinctive sound sitting at the strange nexus between the early UK noise rock scene, the skull-rupturing power of Japan's more extremist noise artists, the massive gravitational pull of the formless guitar crush of bands like Earth and the Melvins at their most art-damaged, and, in more recent years, a filthy, blackened, low-fidelity underbelly that hints at the mutated black metal of bands like Abruptum, Necrofrost, and Vondur. From the beginning, Korperschwache has consisted of mastermind RKF on guitar, noise and vocals, assisted by the loyal mechanical timekeeping of Doktor Omega and occasionally joined by outside contributors. Korperschwache first took form as a side project of RKF's droning industrial rock band Autodidact, but became a primary concern soon thereafter, releasing a steady stream of releases over the years on cassette, Cd-r and digital download on labels like Peasant Magik, Inam Records, Colony, Dark Winter Moon, Public Guilt, Cut Hands and our own sub-label Crucial Bliss, to name a few, usually in extremely limited editions made available to the band's small but loyal cult of followers. The majority of these older releases have long been out of print, especially the extremely limited cassette releases from the early days of the band; a longtime Korperschwache fan, I myself never had an opportunity to get my hands on those early tapes, which featured some of Korper's harshest noise-based material.
Now, in conjunction with the brand new Korperschwache album Evil Walks that has just come out on Crucial Blast, we've assembled a series of reissues of early Korperschwache releases, some of which have never been heard by anyone outside of the band's immediate circle. The early cassette releases that have been excavated here are very different from Korperschwache's newer Loop-meets-Abruptum industrial blackpsych sound, many centering around brutal, high-volume noise assaults heavily influenced by both classic UK power electronics (Whitehouse, Ramleh, etc) and Japanese harsh noise (Merzbow, Masonna, Incapacitants, Contagious Orgasm). The later releases from this period began to creep into more guitar-focused dronepower and hypnotic amplifier bludgeon, with material like that of Night Country Fog (Korperschwache's previously unreleased collaboration with Smolken of Polish avant black metal/doom folk band Dead Raven Choir) beginning to direct the sound into the often melodic, always twisted psychedelic heaviness of it's current incarnation.
Crafted over the course of three years, the unreleased 2004 album Der Antikrist is Korperschwache in earth-rending blackened drone mode, each track built from layers of crushing wall noise, massive distorted doom-laden powerdrone, and deformed sludge riffs. It's some of the band's heaviest stuff. A deep bass pulse introduces the massive twenty minute opener "Entropy eats at the cosmic firmament", which opens up into fields of thick, murky guitar drone, dissonant chordal dirges and endless swirling hiss, like a more doom-laden and dismal Skullflower jam, noisy and slow and hypnotic and drenched in amplifier buzz and distorto guitar and blackened tremolo riffs. A deep, achingly pretty oboe-like melody repeats throughout the track, surrounded by clouds of hiss and acid-damaged guitar and droning bass rumble, the music fading in and out of view, sometimes receding completely into the sea of hiss. The following track is other twenty minute long monster and is even more abrasive. Clanking machines pound and grind in the background as the air is filled with bass-heavy blackened sludge and choked with sonic grit, a lopsided free-rock dirge buried under several feet of broken concrete, sputtering blown amplifier speakers, and distortion pedals cranked into the red. On "A guided tour of ghost empires (last stop: auschwitz-birkenau)", however, the guitars are removed completely, leaving us with a crackling ocean of amp hiss and cable noise that flits from speaker to speaker, recalling some of the static walls favored by Werewolf Jerusalem but with a steady bass throb emanating from deep within the fuzzy depths, emitting an atmosphere as bleak and somber as the subjects of the title. The disc ends with the percussive mechanical hiss and throb of "Ich bin der antikrist", the sound of machines hammering away in concert beneath a veil of ashen keyboard dronedrift and more of that black static that chokes every pore, and covers every inch of this relentlessly grim album.
released June 28, 2012
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