Grave In The Sky: Cutlery Hits China:English For Hearing Impaired CD

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Fans of extreme electronic music might already be aware of the Israeli artist Maor Appelbaum. He’s been heavily involved in the Isreali underground for ages now, working as a sound and lighting engineer, recording extremely confrontational electronics-based music with bands like Poochlatz, Vultures, and IWR, collaborating with legendary Industrialist Maurizio Bianchi as well as releasing tons of solo material both under his own name and under the names Screening, Vectorscope, Lunisolar and Plated Steel. As if that wasn’t enough on his plate, Appelbaum has also worked as a DJ and a writer for Metal Hammer Israel and the web based Alternative-Zine.com. Talk about prolific! I was pretty intrigued when our buddy David Opp at the Israeli label Heart & Crossbones told me about a new album he was releasing from a new “doom” band called Grave In The Sky, which featured Appelbaum on bass guitar, “noises”, and effects, along with drummer Matan Shmueli and vocalist/sampler conjurer Rani Zager. Man, is this album heavy. Yeah, you could call this Doom, it’s definitely very slow and very grim sounding, but it’s also so blown out and damaged and NOISY that it borders on a kind of psychedelic noise-dirge…seriously, the five tracks on the oddly named Cutlery Hits China: English For The Hearing Impaired are so fucked up sounding that it makes me think of what it would sound like if you teamed up the members of Wolf Eyes with the original Electric Wizard lineup, I’m thinking of Dopethrone in particular here. Massive black-hole sludge jams of plodding, pounding, sloppy slow-motion drumming rumbling over sheets of terrifying processed vocal noise and gargling screams, all kinds of messed-up modulated electronic wreckage floating around in a black filth haze, and ribcage rattling bass guitar vomiting up totally damaged Iommi riffing into a technicolor low fi spew pool. The songs don’t even have real titles, each one is named after a movie (“Donnie Darko”, “The Descent”, “Straw Dogs”, The Devils Rejects”), and all of the “lyrics” are apparently lifted straight from DVD subtitles of various horror and crime flicks; it’s not like I can verify that, as I haven’t eaten nearly enough barbituates to decode Grave In The Sky’s tripped out sludge. The one exception is the last track “Scum”, a blackened blast of fried feedback drone mayhem, tribal percussion, and mindmelting chanted vocals blasting out of other dimensions. Obviously, I think that Cutlery fucking ROCKS, it’s sort of like a sludgier Gravitar but totally blown out and charred, metallized and completely drowning in ‘Tussin, or Khanate fused with Hawkwind and Burmese. I can imagine the free-noise rawk heads into the sounds of Double Leopards, Gravitar, Mouthus, and White Mice eating this up just as much as the extreme sludge crush junkies into bands like Bunkur, Khanate, Halo, Unearthly Trance, and Boris’ slowest, heaviest jams. Fucked up, trippy as hell drugdroom noise insanity.