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 majorioty 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.
The earliest Korperschwache release featured here is the Ovencleaner full length, originally released as a sixty-minute cassette in 1995 through RKF's own Monotremata Records. Like all of Korperschwache's early stuff, this is an orgy of harsh, grating noise, similar to much of the underground industrial slime that was creeping out of the mid 90's, but mostly generated using guitar. The four tracks of industrial psych sludge on Ovencleaner begins with massively distorted psych guitar crawling through a juddering mass of amp rumble on the opener "Your Shattered Spine", with it's slow motion doomed riffs and skittering dubby percussion awash in swarming hiss and fuzz, the drum machine malfunctioning later in the track as it sputters out fractured percussive fills and tinny, scrabbly faster-paced beats. Insanely high end garage riffs appear at the center of this howling storm of noise, and it gets more chaotic and frenzied as it goes on, spastic thrashing drum machines dipping in and out of the cacophony of amp noise and feedback, descending into Incapacitants-style clots of violent scrapyard obliteration, then shifting into a weird noisescape of irritating electronic beeps, shuffling drums buried under layers of gritty distortion, and heavy waves of amp noise, ending up becoming something reminiscent of old Skullflower/Shock Records style dirge "rock". "Sand Swallower" follows with more monstrous harsh noise a la Incapacintas/Pain Jerk, a raging black maelstrom of distortion and feedback stretching over fourteen minutes, infested with all kinds of crackling cable noise, the might revving of infernal engines, shifting between a total wall of noise and more frantic electronic turmoil swirling over heavy slabs of guitar/amp drone. The next track continues with crushing noise and metal avalanche that feels like Tribulation/Strange Keys To Untune-era Skullflower hellstorm mixed with the more extreme junknoise side of the Japanese scene, a dense, psychedelic thirty-plus minute epic of brainscrape and glacial sludge guitar, almost like hearing Skullflower crossed with Incapacitants, later erupting into shrieking tape-noise carnage, demonic howls and massive gusts of granular noise, with pretty psych guitar chords buried beneath it all. The final track "Rubber Fetish" is a bonus track that has ends the album with a classic American industrial vibe, high pitched feedback stretched across a field of rumbling machine throb and chopped up loops, fluttering distorted signals panning from speaker to speaker, the hammering rhythmic noise suspended over massive rumbling frequencies.
released July 16, 2012
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