Wow, this is one of the most original new albums that came in this week for sure, a crazy mix of early 80’s art-punk, Zeni Geva’s burly noise crunch, and mutant dub from a Japanese band called MoneyI$God (I’m guessing that there’s probably a bit of Swans homage going on here). The first thing that I noticed about M.A.R.K.Z., their first full length for Israeli label Heart And Crossbone, is the murky raw recording that gives this a distressed, vintage feel, as if what we’re hearing is actually something recorded and released back in the early 80’s; it certainly doesn’t sound contemporary, production wise. But the music is something else, a really quirky brand of noise rock that throws out a bunch of surprising rhythmic left turns. Opener “Cancer” is like some old industrial rock dirge, beginning with heavy pounding bass and martial drums, the sound panning from left to right speaker, then all of a sudden a droning bass line drops in and the song becomes a heavy chugging dirge, a single crunchy riff and howling fucked-up vocals, all gnarled and grimy, like Zeni Geva crossed with some Lower East Side scum rock outfit. “Murasaki” is a strange mix of sludgy punk and No Wave spazz, followed by “Black Rainbow”, where the band suddenly kick into bizarre irradiated ska, throbbing dubby bass and staccato guitar, all wobbly and filthy, weird and dark, with the singer’s raspy, creepy vocals over top, like some blackened, rotting version of Public Image Ltd.
The next two tracks are more corrosive noise rock and jagged mutant dirge, but then the disc closes with “Black Rainbow [Monkey WA$ Dubbed Remix]”, a remix by members of Israeli doom-dub/industrialists Lietterschpich, which takes the mutant industrial post-punk ska of the original and warps it into a doom-laden, abstract dub workout that sounds a little like King Tubby and Bill Laswell teaming up to remix Shitmat, Praxis, a demon-possessed Japanese shaman, and Scorn together into a delirious black stew of fractured beats, hellish whispered vokills, bizarre fx, brutal stutters and skipping disc noise, warped reggae guitars chopped up into tiny fragments, and echo-drenched snares and throbbing bass.