Concrete Mascara – Perennial Disappointment


[Reviewed by stark]

I love the name of this power electronics trio from New Jersey. Somehow it reminds me of the “cement shoes”, the mafia tradition of disposing of someone by covering the victim’s legs with concrete and throwing them in the water, so that the poor fellow is drowning and has no chance of escape. Change legs with a face or eyes and you have a hell of a mascara. One to remember.

I don’t know if that was these guys’ intention while choosing their project’s moniker; probably not and it’s just my morbid imagination, but the truth is that while listening to these eight violent blasts enclosed in forty minutes, I feel as if overwhelmed by a liquid but thick substance filled with razorblades. I’m suffering, I want to come up on the surface but it’s impossible as something drags me down deeper and deeper into the oily blackness. “Perennial Disappointment” is really brutal, even for Malignant standards, I tell you that. “The Flesh Of This World” is but a quiet yet disturbing intro. You can hear that something really, well, malignant, is wriggling like a worm in the background. But with “Area Trinity” we’re entering the power electronics territories that are close to the border of noise; swirling roughness, waves of white noise, vocals pressed into the whole structure so that they constitute another layer of noise. And it all sounds so transparent and sterile, like an operating room before performing a lobotomy. “Utopian Nightmare” has this soulless rhythmic part which only seemingly implements order into this music.They work like a machine that makes no mistakes and pushes forward without mercy. The track stops so suddenly that in this unexpected moment of silence I can hear the blood pulsating in my ears.

Machine gun shots in a small room, an aircraft throwing napalm on the villages, this raw screaming once again. Yes… “Delusion Of Sacrifice” is probably the most suggestive piece on the album. Just listen to this despair forged into the processed voice, trying to push its way through the killing technology – but it’s pointless from the very beginning. Believe me or not, this composition says so much about the times we live in. After that we have a few calmer moments with the pulsating black ambient of “Mouth Of Flies, Tongue Of Maggots” (what a lovely title!). It’s a good intermezzo for the whole release, because even though it’s not very long, you simply need a moment of relief from this relentless intensity. And then the other side of the coin, “Snake Skin Stilettos”, probably the cruellest and the most aggressive piece; the burst of chaos we are dealing with here is certainly not for those of a faint heart. They will be begging for mercy, while the others dance in a blissful, perverted agony.

The last two tracks have are a bit more structurized. They’re still visceral, but there’s a human factor hidden somewhere between the walls of noise and the visceral, gut-twisting waves of analogue distortion. Even the last one, “Death Trigger Impulse” is more like a steam roller, slowly crushing everything on its way, the vocals sometimes treated with delay effect sounding like the last call of man in a world dominated by machines – even those made of flesh and bones.

Sometimes you need an album such as “Perennial Disappointment”. The production is top-notch, clinically clear, sometimes maybe even too clear for my taste; I wouldn’t mind some lo-fi dirt here and there, but I have to give credit to John Stillings – you can hear every single nuance here. You know, there’s something purifying in all this madness; If you want to clean your soul, I think you should just play this one. It’s better than the sacrament of confession.

Concrete MascaraPerennial Disappointment
Malignant Records, TumorCD93
CD/Digital 2016


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