To round out the latest Spooky Tree Records releases, Bob Gratis, aka Urthquake has this offering to the world of northeast noise 7", which turns out to be his first release on vinyl...the split with Noise Nomads came after this one.
After hearing his side on that split from last week, I knew a little what to expect as this sleeve is really almost misleading. I thought it would (and almost still did) think it would be the usual death metal...all the signs were there....the gothic font...a black and white skull... especially the insert, which has a lengthy obituary about Bob saying he was 'found dead in his garage apartment....apparently from a home-made guillotine device.' I checked around online, and I'm pretty sure this isn't true...but it still has me guessing. This of course influences how I'm listening to it now...like some kind of suicide note.
But instead of growling satanic evil, you get on 'Last Known Address' a metronome kick drum machine with a haunting, minimal, no effects electric guitar...which might be a sample, it kind of drifts to and away from the hypnotizing rhythm. It rides along with the beat at times and then slightly veers off path...it's really delicate and is the eerie foundation for the distortion blasts of vocals that are mixed pretty low...sounding like plucked strings with the gain at 11, screechy Marshall stack metal...but there's just a hint of a human voice behind it...I think the bursts of air from words gives it away, but just barely. To have any idea of what he's saying you have to turn to the insert: Last known address / In decline / In demand.
The B-Side, ...As well as you should' uses a similar structure...the most basic kick beat and stripped down slight reverb electric, strummed really slowly which is interrupted by massive waves of heavily delayed distortion from another guitar and vocals that match the guitar in texture. It's an interesting way to solve the vocal problem in this genre...
I have to admit, most times the words black metal will bias me immediately to expect the growl deep vocals, speed percussion and power chords...and unless you're really in that world daily the nuances of bands techniques are lost on me...what can I say, it's all the same? Urthquake has just battle-axed that idea to pieces. It's just what black metal needs...someone to defy expectations and apply the punk DIY aesthetic to the doom. A Blank Dogification of the metal...one guy in his garage, messing around making guillotines, watching horror movies and messing with a tried and true formula, putting his own bloody fingerprints all over it. Or as the gutter says 'True New Jersey Black Ambient Metal'
Get this one from Spooky Tree, who says:
Bob T. Roller follows up his 2008 CD compendium with a 7" of true New Jersey satanic suicidal black ambient metal. Urthquake's first vinyl release.He has a full length from Spooky as well...I wonder where he would go with 70 minutes of available space....