Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hototogisu - Some Blood Will Stick

Hototogisu's 2006 album 'Some Blood Will Stick' is a really intense and desolate experience.

It contains edited and remastered Noise Rock from two earlier Hototogisu albums: Swoon Scream (2004) and Awful Symmetry (2005). Both albums were released as cdr-s on Heavy Blossom, Hototogisu's own record label, in editions limited to a mere 100. Needless to say, both albums have been long sold out.

There is a paradoxical aspect to the music: where one would expect the mastering of the album to match the raw, primitive and visceral nature of Matthew Bower and Marcia Bassett's noise, the production is in fact sophisticated, with a great sense of space in the music. Record label VHF, which released this album, is quite right to call the mastering "crushing and invigorating".

The mastering was done by Scott Hull at Visceral Sound, his studio in Bethesda, Maryland. He is the current guitarist and producer for Grindcore bands Pig Destroyer, Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and Japanese Torture Comedy Hour; he is also a former member of Anal Cunt. Hull has collaborated with Matthew Bower several times: he mastered Skullflower's Orange Canyon Mind and Tribulation albums, as well Hototogisu's album Prayer Rug Exorcism. Furthermore, he remastered the recent rerelease of Skullflower's epochal IIIrd Gatekeeper album.

Hull's background in Grindcore points to something important. Where many reviewers have strained to make a connection between Hototogisu and Skullflower's music and Black Metal, I would say that a connection between that music and Grindcore is much more relevant.

It should be pointed out that Matthew Bower emerged from the very same scene that Grindcore emerged from: the British Industrial, Crust Punk and Noise Rock underground of the early-to-mid 1980s. In fact, Skullflower has toured together with Industrial Grindcore band Godflesh. Furthermore, that band's Justin Broadrick, who was in the very first incarnation of Napalm Death (the founding fathers of Grindcore), released two Skullflower albums (IIIrd Gatekeeper and Infinityland) on his HeadDirt label.

Hototogisu's Some Blood Will Stick can be heard as a psychedelicized, liquid slide Grindcore; an improvisational Grindcore in which the Crust Punk-influenced riffing has been radically destructured; a Grindcore in which the Hardcore and Thrash Metal drumming has disappeared in treacherous currents of scree; a vertical, multidirectional, ecstatic, Free Grindcore; a shot-to-hell Grindcore; a Grindcore which moves in mindbending waves.

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