Shock Frontier – Tumult

[Reviewed by stark]

I like the name of this duo. Their moniker reminds me of Shock Corridor: a slightly forgotten classic by Samuel Fuller. “Tumult” is like a walk through such a corridor and when you cross it, you feel exhausted and brainwashed.

Robert Kozletski and Kyle Carney’s source of inspiration is pretty obvious. Scandinavian death industrial from the times of Cold Meat Industry’s prosperity is the game here. Something in the vein of Deutsch Nepal, Mz. 412, Megaptera with a slight touch of Brighter Death Now. Some fragments also remind me of raison d’etre when he was flirting with industrial stuff on “What We Are”. That music was “evil” back then; I remember there was a monthly late night radio show in Poland, dedicated to the extreme forms of metal, but sometimes the DJ was playing stuff from CMI or OEC and I thought: “Man, if satan exists, this is the music he’s listening to”. Yup, I was that pretentious. Which today makes it even funnier because a few years later I realized that my favourite album from that era, “Straw” by Mental Destruction is in fact strongly devoted to god and christianity.

Anyway the guys from Pensylvania resurrect that spirit quite effectively. They have a better technical grasp, so the sound is more powerful, but also spacious. All the attributes of death industrial are present and used in good proportion: metallic drumming, machine grinding, psychotic vocals and the feeling of contempt towards a modern society, religious delusions etc. The level of aural violence is acceptible and subordinate enough to create a proper mood. It also seems that Robert is not forgetting about his love of dark ambient (like in his main output, Apocryphos), because often beneath all this broken machinery, some cool drones are hidden (“Ashes Of Others”, “Once Assured Of Salvation”).

I think in general this is a more accessible release than the other noisier Malignant acts like, say, The Vomit Arsonist. Of course, when you play it most of the people will ask you politely to “turn this fuckin’ shit off”, but with just a little bit of effort, more open minded fellows will notice it’s almost cinematic character and the skillful building of tension.

There are a few guest appearances here, Kristoffer Oustad and Grant Richardson from Gnawed burn their mark into “Tumult” for example. This is truly fantastic stuff, bringing back memories but in a modern and thrilling way.

Shock FrontierTumult
Malignant Records, TumorCD110
CD/Digital 2017

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