Compactor/Vitriol Gauge – Economic Devastation CS

3 November 2018 offering No Comment

Compactor/Vitriol Gauge – Economic Devastation CS
Bandcamp link

It’s been a minute since I last reviewed something, but I have to say, this review pulled me out of the tomb I’ve been in. Destructive sounds from two similarly minded industrial artists comprise this take on economic progress, and damn is it a rewarding experience.

The oversized tape box format is underutilized for the most part. Thankfully the team at Waste Management knew how to maximize the dimensions perfectly. It’s not often that I am taken aback by how thoughtful inserts are since most are just “quirky” afterthoughts that don’t really speak to the themes of the release. On this one we not only have a very articulate description of what the release is aiming at conceptually, but we have a secondary piece of literature that details the rigors of inflation and monetary worth, a food coupon, and a car key. Well-done.

Without the context, Compactor‘s would still hold its own. He’s managed to hone in on a very unique take on this style of disgruntled techno. Blending hard as fuck beats that sometimes flirt with gabber assaults, industrial, and sound collage, Compactor‘s side is solid. This is a little more mangled than other Compactor recordings I’ve heard and very diverse in terms of moods. “Urban Blight” in particular really slams hard by stretching sound into putty with grape-nuts textured drum machine stomping. “Negative Feedback Loop” on the other hand takes a hi hat sound and turns it into a skull-beating chisel of dispair while the wailing of rotting hardware hums in the background. The sounds are urgent here, much like the commentary contained in the inserts.

Vitriol Gauge pulls off decent enough death industrial, but it feels a little stale compared to the energy of Compactor‘s side (and also because I’m just bored with death-industrial as of late). The tracks are slow and however around the same register, mostly. “Increasing Ambition” does manage to shove some scrap and trash sounds out of the way to let a chilling pulse of a distorted scream out. The whole side sometimes felt a bit flagging until I realized that it too provides a necessary approach to properly register what economic devastation really entails – not necessarly a sudden, singular event, but a slow and hopeless pull into a nameless morass.

At the time of this writing, there are a few physical copies of this left, and you should get one. This is one release that contains so much more meaning to the concept through the inserts. In addition to the written elements, the black and white visuals make this even more accessible without being pandering or vague passages. Definitely one of my favorite releases of year!

Composition: ★★★★½
Sounds: ★★★★☆
Production Quality: ★★★½☆
Concept: ★★★★☆
Packaging: ★★★★★
Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

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