. issue VIII : viii .

by barathron

. artist : mutwawa / seal team 666 .
. album : watchers from the abyss .
. year : 2013 .
. label : chaotic noise .
. grade : b plus .


2013 split Watchers From The Abyss (between Richmond’s Mutwawa and Tokyo’s Seal Team 666) is truly a split: Watchers has a hair-thin long-fall-fjord faultline between artists very different in their approach — but there’s a constructive dynamism rickety-bridging, a conjunction shared between these oppositionals. Mutwawa’s work (“Cyborg Sniper,” “Tarpit Sacrifice,” “Glasgow Smile”) is spaciously variegated as always, fickle and rambunctious, sensational synaptic chatter. Seal Team’s contributions (“Panther Tab” and “Burmese Kush”) are harsh and glitchy, like the twitching gears of blenders consuming, two-by-two, every last songbird in the world.

Mutwawa’s “Cyborg Sniper” begins with a windshield-wiper beat-box to-the-left-death-scythe replete with crunchy nuance. It’s a scrunchy, peppy vivant of square wave plateau complete with accordioned incisions and the exposition of viscera. “Cyborg Sniper” replays itself in the mind with the physics of a rollercoaster or the fuzz of a too-tame after-season haunted house. “Tarpit Sacrfice” is remarkable in its minimalism, but, via its tides of refracted echo, becomes something astronomic; just so, “Sacrifice” begins with a sonic pebble dropped. Cavernous with trilling baritone bubbles, “Sacrifice” slowly takes on a phasic, orbital quality: a sonata ticker-taped from the Wheel of Fortune (wheel); and a break midway is an open train window in just the sort of hand that Mutwawa plays without hesitation. Then it dysregulates, serrated crunch and skittering percussion to end. “Tarpit Sacrifice” is dangerous, self-aware, clinical, and clinically sleek, a turntable needle lassoing a sonic seismograph. “Glasgow Smile” smiles up to whines and dead lines with concrete jangles, collimated panning scans, a chiptuney beat replete with 80’s fuzz drama interludes (“back on the beat, cabron”), and a ufo space out. “Glasgow Smile” is a cluttered scatty scramble through bloopy ball bounces; it trembles like a stuck pinball with the waiting aura of an electric fence. It’s cruel but not expressive; unemotional, with all muscles knotted in a tortuous quipu, it’s an industrial barrage.

“Panther Tab” is a reiterated relentless assault, an ornithologists’ revenge, and the shuddering boasts of cuckoo clocks. “Panther Tab” is almost painful as it stagger-steps through a grindcore polka. It fights and flexes with the asinine anger of rampaging sewing machines, and there’s this absurd looney tunes quality to it — an Elmer Fudd fussy stutter. “Burmese Kush” is a trippy, obsessively persistent grindcore bulimia: cue the blender vengeance (chop chop chop) — it’s a 4 am culinary commercial in a machinist shoop (whisk zing!) and the listener’s brain is the (chop) cutting board. “Burmese Kush” is like if ear thermometers were Maxim guns. Man. After the rest of the album, Seal Team insists on kicking when we’re down.

Watchers From The Abyss is a neat, well-executed release, disparate but constructive even while it dismantles you. Try it on over at Grindcore Karaoke.

And the cover art (by Joe Legzz) says it all.

by Brittany Tracy