Author & Punisher: Drone Machines 2010 CD


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Drone Machines had originally come out earlier in the year as a self-released CDr, but was quickly picked up by Heart & Crossbone for a wider Cd release; the label is a perfect fit, their recent explorations into bleak, dub-influenced industrial doom aligning neatly with the machine-driven ultra-sludge that this one man band creates. That Author & Punisher is indeed a one man band is only part of why this project is so amazing; the sole mastermind behind this is Tristan Shone, who not only operates the arsenal of sound machines and equipment that he uses to create this massive mechanized sludge-metal all on his own, but also designed and manufactured all of it as well. Like the title says, the machines are the basis for Author & Punisher’s sound, though this is much less about drone and much more about pulverizing rhythmic heaviness. It’s almost impossibly heavy, a perfectly executed assault of grinding, heaving, ultra bass-heavy industrial pummel that immediately made this one of my favorite new albums… The sound is dense and crushing, at first focused on monstrous exhalations and rapturous chanting that join over huge swaths of low end drone, and then the mechanized drums begin lunging and lurching, a surging rhythmic machine grind taking form on opener “sand Wind And Carcass”, a massive abstracted industrial metal dirge, over modulated distortion rumbling over massive percussive pummel, fields of desolate ambience suddenly opening up for a minute and then becoming swallowed up by the machines, distorted bass slowing to a crawl, the riffs becoming warped, various electronic manipulations going on as the music chugs forward, obviously the result of Shone wrangling his machines and sculpting the sound. Hearing all of this lock in together, the machines working in concert to create this monolithic robotic assault, is pretty mind-blowing. Continuing on, “Burrow Below” features some pulverizing dubstep-level bass squelch, and lurches into a devastating Godflesh-like mecha groove, ultra-downtuned lockstep riff and pneumatic drum machine grinding together in a crushing dub-doom groove, with Shone’s sneering, malevolent vocals. Godflesh is the easiest comparison to what Author & Punisher is doing, obviously a big influence on Shone, but that classic Streetcleaner sound is warped and mutated into something more mechanical and inhuman, with more processed electronics, eerie melodic fragments appearing in the singing and the dense layers of drone and industrial texture, horrific screams time-stretched to the breaking point, the guitars and bass themselves processed and turned into synth-like blocks of distorted noise, or mangled into looped drones, phased bass and oscillating buzz.
Drone Machines is an ultra-intense blast of industrial metal performed by enslaved heavy machinery, and at it’s most intense, sounds like a symphony of hellish steel presses and tank-tread drum machine rhythms, blasting warped low-end bass and shifting frequencies across a chaotic grindscape of malfunctioning electronics and drones, the doomed grind seizing up, the riffs fracturing, the whole thing becoming a monstrous alien construct splattered with junk metal carnage. A fucking amazing debut, anyone into grinding industrial doom, Godflesh, Halo, Human Quena Orchestra, Grave In The Sky, Dead World, any of that malicious, mechanical metallic crush has got to hear this…