XIPHOID DEMENTIA – PRESS
Might is Blight CD
From Special Interests #2:
Comparing this to past CDR works I have heard from this American project, and most of all comments I have heard from less open-minded noise crowd, I must say I was taken by surprise. Progression has been great. And even steps towards originality and more ambitious fields of creation. Xiphoid Dementia is known for rejecting almost everything what is “old school” or “filthy”, and aim towards high production values, high fidelity, cinematic mix of sound effects and electronics, combined with modern visual design. It is guaranteed that all these things are major turn-off for many people who prefer crude or analogue approach, but you simply can’t ignore the undeniable talent and unique approach what CD presents.
1st two tracks set the standards high. Combination of modern day martial industrial and highly layered sound of 2000s neo-power electronics and crispy noise is simply good. Opening piece is almost like putting together Karjalan Sissit and Control with noise effects. Symphonic classical tones, militaristic drum beats, synthesizer noise and clashing metal sounds all blend in perfectly. And despite song clocks for lengths what many could expect to become boring, Xiphoid Dementia doesn’t let same thing go on for too long. It’s merely 4 first minutes before track takes new turns, which makes whole composition more than typical method of just sampling few loops from classical music albums.
I think what has turned off people are examples such as track #3 and 4. Third track shows bands most mediocre face with droning modern day power electronics with unusually weak vocal performance. Fourth track begins with movie sampled car break screeching/crushing/collision/helicopter/tanks rolling type of atmosphere, what rather gives impression of digitally treated movie soundtracks, than something you’d associate with art for actual listening purposes? But even it progresses much further, turning enjoyable in the end. Best tracks are constantly on the move. They won’t go into route of simply looping or monotonic repetition, but song can actually surprise or at least progress into completely new sounds during its time.
Album is half hit/half miss. The best tracks are simply something one must here to be able to witness how far genre has gone, even from days of Propergol or such, which must be obvious influences for XD. In other hand, there are weaker tracks including long beginning of last track, where melodic new age synth works are on background and digitally clear distorted squealing vocals are on front. Nearly like more recent Prurient tracks. With more innovative actually composed keyboard tones BUT much much weaker vocal performance. You have to wait about 6 minutes until track reaches its highlights, and it is nearly enough to ruin the atmosphere of the album.
74 minutes is indeed FULL LENGTH. With couple tracks removed and perhaps 45 minutes long playingtime, it would be much better. Allowing few times album to play from beginning to end, it becomes more audible how it would benefit from being less in length, since nevertheless you will be bombarded with details and sonic substance. – Mikko Aspa
From Musique Machine.
‘Might is Blight’ offers up quite a varied, original and often bleakly epic mixture of: electronic and junk based industrial textures, powerful and avant grade tinged neo-classical elements, animal and environmental field recordings, power electronics and cinematic tinged noise.
Each of the six ten minute plus tracks that make up the album seem to tell their own distinctive sound story and tale which all links nicely together to make this epic, yet never over indulgent record. To give you idea of the scope and variation on offer here I’ll give you a run down of a few my favourite moments; ‘Never Power Ocean’ starts out with lapping and slowing crashing field recordings of the sea and sea gull calling, which is soon joined by ominous & looming hunting horn calls. As the track progresses brooding drums and deep synthetic bass horn textures are added as the sea recordings start to get more active and manic. But just when you think it’s going to suddenly explode the field recordings drop into lulling & errier underwater field recordings; and the drums and deep brass elements are stripped and replaced with whale like calls and drifting, soothing and subtle synth textured bobbing. Around the seven minute mark the peaceful yet growing uneasy atmosphere is suddenly fired with brooding electronic pulses and groaning and clanging steel textures. And pretty soon afterwards slow-monition feedback and echo burnt slamming beat punchers are added to the mix, then things turn very nightmarish as the track starts to get more seared and violent as it nears it’s end.
Later on we have the track ‘None shall inherit the Earth’ which for the first half of the track mixtures: building and epic synthetic string sound tracking and grace, with sudden, loud and very jarring power electronic bellows and feedback engulfed grunts. In the second half it kicks in with brooding and feedback stretched synth dramatics that are burnt and atmospherically slice by high pitched to huge rumbling noise textures which soon get underfeed by stuck neo classical rhythmic attacks.
All told a very impressive, dramatic and epic work that flirts between grandeur, atmosphere , building and nasty noise attacks, highly creative mood setting and sonic creativity. Its all the more impressive when you find out that the whole things done by one person; namely Boston based Egan Budd who’s been creating music and noise under the Xiphoid Dementia banner since 2002. So if you enjoy dramatic, bleak and end of the world type mix of industrial, neo-classic, noise and soundtrack music this is defiantly for you.
From Terror Zine.
This is one of the weirder albums that I’ve had a chance to listen to lately. I cannot decide how to evaluate it because everytime I listen to this album, I get absolutely different emotions and thoughts. One thing is clear – it is best to listen to it when it’s dark or growing dark outside or when it’s not quite ok with your mind. During a full moon, let’s say. Maybe it’s personal, but quite often I was left asking myself why the album looked so good just yesterday and now it seemed absolutely colorless. Time of a day, state of mind…
This release is very strong from the technical side. Clear, multilayered and precisive sound, rich and varied compositions, continuously evolving and convincing. But it is impossible to describe the full album in just a few words. I haven’t heard creations of Xiphoid Dementia before, but in this album, it seems that the most important of all is the main goal/thought of the album, regardless of tools or style. From elements of musique concrete through dark ambient to neo classical, noise and even touch of power electronics. Album starts with majestic title piece where martial rhythms, synth melodies, squeaking foundations of reality and woman voice forms one strange and frightening creature. It sounds like it would be a soundtrack for a final massive scene in the movie. The following song smells of a sea. “Never Power Ocean” transforms from calm and meditative to curiously exploring song. I’ve lived by the sea for the last several weeks so I can tell without a doubt that these sounds convince me. It is true, sea and ports in there differ from the ones I’ve seen. This piece is more like exploring the ships that’d sunk long time ago and now rests here, covered in rust and absolutely still in silt. Gradually you move there and become the part of the world, existing there. From careful touching of sound textures, this piece transforms into fierce attack of noise, which, after 20 minutes of rather calm album is a rather unexpected cold shower. By the way, it is worth mentioning that all the pieces in the album plays more than 10 minutes and the whole length of it is well more than one hour. The next big picture of Xiphoid Dementia – Dead Hunter. This track continues the active noise of the last one – siren, synth sounds and voice. Vocal that appears in the middle of the album surprises once more, but I cannot get myself to like it. It seems that it does not fit in there and I cannot glue the voice and music into one picture anyhow. Next station – by the strange highway. Creaks of constructions, squeals of brakes, sounds of broken glass and finally the sound develops into rhythmic noise. It seems that in these two tracks, the culmination of the album was reached. Mechanized Salvation – anxious and full of strain, but not openly aggressive track. It sounds more like a futuristic model of the world. Penetrating metallic darkness when you try to see what’s in front of you and not realize that the real danger is behind you. Xiphoid Dementia plays one more game in the last track. None Shall Inherit The Earth seems like a calm and dismal landscape from the first seconds. So you prepare yourself for happy ending, but after a few seconds this insipid and tender vision is teared apart by fierce vocal (in here I like how it goes) and this piece is raising the strain till it explodes and soft sounds are covered with a layer of noises and effects. The sight becomes different than it seemed from the beginning. It feels like Xiphoid Dementia specially tortures you and doesn’t let you breathe easily. Album stops and ends.
This is really one interesting and not ordinary release, full of colors, consonances and moods. The pieces themselves (the artwork hints that too where every separate page is dedicated to separate song) works as if they would be separate pictures, visions, stories. Long, complex and versatile… I like this work of Xiphoid Dementia tonight. I like the suggestiveness of it when the first snow falls and they greyness is here.
From Heathen Harvest.
Xiphoid Dementia is Egan Budd’s noise project based in Boston, Massachusetts. Mr. Budd has been active in the noise underground since about 2002 and creates a powerful sort of ambient-noise music. His latest release is a numbered, limited edition CD titled “Might Is Blight” and therein begins a bleak journey through the possible end times of life as we know it, the ruination of Earth, and the death of illusion. This noise artist has in his artistic grasp the means of creating sound structures that are metaphors for such ideas even though to find those places requires certain lengths to be gone to.
As apocalyptic as all this may sound, Budd creates his soundscape testament with refreshing lack of pretentiousness. In his own words via a MySpace blog post titled ‘I Want To Live A Life Of Insignificance’, he states: “I don’t lust for money, fame, power, fancy clothes, cars or whatever the fuck seems like the majority of the assholes in this world worship. I will illustrate that the people who mean something to me are the ones who haven’t forgotten what it means to have something authentic and honest. I want to affect my friends and family and loved ones in a positive and intense way, to be there for them when they need a hand, or some good words, or something more. The only legacy I wish to leave behind me is a fire in the hearts and minds of those I’ve loved who have lived and felt my presence as something more than an attempt to impress them, take advantage of them, one-up them or tear them down for being different then me.” Wise words from a young man, and this wisdom can be palpably felt in his unique noise music.
What Budd has accomplished here is impressive, not too many noise artists are attempting something so ambitious, a hybrid style of composing that incorporates modern classical avant garde, droning electronic noise and atmospheric ambience to create a strong, cinematic music. Whether this is done self-consciously, or intuitively, it genuinely expresses his compelling search for reality. Each composition here clocks in at over ten minutes, giving Budd the space to really explore his metaphors, fleshing out every concept and making every track a feast for the noise lover’s ears! From the orchestral title track opener to the lilting, tossing, aptly titled ‘Your City Crumbles’ to the profoundly disturbing final composition, ‘None Shall Inherit The Earth’, every one of these soundscapes moves in fascinating ways, morphing from powerful Penderecki-style string sections that teeter on the brink of collapse, then break down giving way to noisier electronics, heavy (metallic) droning, or screeching, anguished vocals, each sound texture seemingly always moving in a constant state of flux.
As grim a look into the present/future as this album presents, and however these potential scenarios may eventually play out, there is still a sense, in the end, of redemption. As the recently deceased Jim Carroll once said “a writer has to use evil to illuminate goodness…”. Egan Budd utilizes his disturbing evocations in sound to enlighten us to the possibilities inherent in our own trivialities. He has presented to us a work of art that is both “authentic and honest”. Xiphoid Dementia’s ‘Might Is Blight’ is a superb album and I recommend it highly.
From Plague Haus.
Xiphoid Dementia is the project of the man behind the Existence Establishment label. Pigeon-holing the genre here is a bit difficult as he seems to incorporate several styles. This is my first exposure to the progress, so I’m not sure of earlier work, but here there are elements of Martial, Dark Ambient and even a bit of Noise. “Industrial” is a nice multi-functional label.
The disc begins with “Might Is Blight”, heavy martial percussion drives this one along accompanied by epic Puissance synth lines, the occasional blast of high frequency noise and sampled strains of operatic female vocals. It’s bombastic and loud. “Never Power Ocean” is next and one of my favorites on the disc. Sampled sea sounds, the breaking of the shore, the distant moan of a fog horn give way to bubbling submersion and ambience. Then out of nowhere you’re assaulted by sizzling tendrils of synth-noise over the subtle bleeps of orca pods. Next up is “Dead Hunter”, completely chaotic overblown synth and the first one to feature proper vocals.
“Your City Crumbles” begins with sampled city sounds as the synth buzz begins to take control. What sounds like looped, and delayed subway noise and scrap yard bashing give way to a strange rhythmic section that reminds me a bit of early 90s Gabber and then the whole thing crashes back in on itself. “Mechanized Salvation” sounds like it was recorded in an abandoned subway tunnel. For me this project works best with a more minimal approach like this track. A couple of synth lines battling it out, one bottom heavy and the other shrill, over an ominous low-end hum. The disc ends with “None Shall Inherit The Earth”. This track begins as a beautiful, symphonic piece. Airy strings ebb and flow and then everything is shattered by un-fucking-godly screaming. It’s downhill from there as the track devolves into a blown out mess of sound and militant industrial rhythms. I understand the point, but frankly I would have preferred the classical sounds alone. That and a few of the songs being a little long for my tastes, none of the six are less than ten minutes, are my only real criticisms.
The disc is housed in and amazing 6 panel heavy stock cover with each track represented by different artwork on each of the panels. Limited to 500 numbered copies.
From Idwal Fisher.
I must admit I’ve grown to quite hate Might is Blight over the last week or so. From its weak pun of a title to its formulaic song structure to its role playing game soundtrack like qualities. At last, I really do have a CD with which to drive dinner guests away with. Never mind John Cage, The Shaggs or the Dylan boot of him stoned out of his head singing Lay Lady Lay. No, for in future when I have people here who wont shift its to Might is Blight that I shall turn. For here are the workings of a mind brought up on a mixture of computer games and industrial pap. A healthy diet of Nine Inch Nails and Tomb Raider has brought us to this: six tracks running to an hour and ten minutes that are as cliched a bunch of tracks as you are ever likely to hear, and that includes anything by Peter Andersson. Imagine the soundtrack to whichever roll playing game it is thats got the kids hitting on their parents for and you have Might is Blight. Accompanying a montage of Industrial cliches the samples come thick and fast; military drums, ringing phones, car crashes, crashing waves, approaching storms, seagulls, underwater bubbles, machine gun fire, traffic, passing trains … And dig those cerayzeee end of the world lets welcome the apocalypse titles; Dead Hunter [another weak pun], Your City Crumbles, Mechanized Salvation and None Shall Inherit The Earth. Don’t forget the fold out digi pak with art work depicting a jumbled mess of dead WWII soldiers, crumbling cities and rusting ship hulls either. And of course Its a numbered limited edition, oh natrulich. But who cares.
If I were an analyst I’d wager that Xiphod Dementia is an American male in his early 20’s who has [what he considers to be] healthy fixations on Columbine, cheer leader porn and the work of David Lynch. He spends his spare time buying Industrial records, going to gigs all over the mid west and categorising his atrocity clips on his computer [folder image Bud Dwyer blowing his head off].
It sounds as if Xiphod Dimentia has tried to capture the end of the world with the Might is Blight but has instead lumped in with the ‘Apocalyptic Ambient Power Electronics’ gang and boy do I not like them. Its summed up in the last track where a gloopy ambient refrain is abruptly interrupted by distorted anguished vocals before disappearing into cloud of radiated fall out and a short Geiger counter burp.
Please, no mas.
Xiphoid Dementia/Burn Ward/Internal Empty split CDR
From Aural Pressure
The boys are back in town. The boys are back in fucking town. Riding in like the three horsemen of the apocalypse. Famine was having a day out at Pizza Hut so wasn’t available for this trip. Greedy bastard. It sure does give me a warm feeling in the old grumble bag whenever a group of artists makes a welcome return. Long time no see Burn Ward and Xiphoid Dementia. How’s it hanging? Not only that but they’ve brought along a new pal to make my acquaintance. Hi Internal Empty. Nice to meet you. Pleasures all mine. You from these parts? Don’t really matter. You’re in good company. What’s this you’ve brought me? Whoa! A three way split CDR. Fucking ‘A’. Hope to fuck its a bit longer than the last split I heard from you boys off of Burn Ward and Xiphoid Dementia. Only joshing. But shit…it was short in duration. Even you would agree with that. Still gave it a good review though. You sell many copies on the back of that? Yeah. No surprises there. People = Shit as those cunts from Slipknot so poignantly put it. Groovy looking cdr. Blue embossed on a black cdr. Class. A 7 tracker as well. Limited you say. 100 copies!! You boys are taking the piss again. Well nice meeting you. You can get back on your horses and fuck off now and let me get on with reviewing this thing.
Internal Empty start proceedings with one long 29 minute track titled ‘A.L.W.S.P.M’. I must have spent that amount of time just trying to figure out what it stood for. Personal pride…and the fact I would look a proper twat…saves me from showing you what I came up with. ‘A.L.W.S.P.M’ is an electronic drone / experimental piece with a black ambient roundabout feel to it. It kind of burbles and gurgles in all the right places with further excursions into rumbling excess which sounds better than described. Actually I wouldn’t mind hearing more of this stuff so therefore it receives a big thumbs up. Well done Internal Empty.
Burn Ward follow with 5 tracks of incendiary noise. VERY FUCKING LOUD noise. EXTREME noise. PAINFUL OBSCENE noise. STEAM HEAT HOT noise. That’s gotta hurt. And it does. Red rag to a bull time. Coming in after the more delicate refined sounds generated by Internal Empty these fairly short… thank God for small mercies… blitzkriegs are genuinely upsetting. A hand grenade going off in the face. The screams. The OTT electronics. The… oh its finished… I’ll just go clean up the vomit off the carpet. You can expect the cleaning bill in the next post. Ball crunching sounds for squashed testicle lovers everywhere.
Rounding it all off comes this 24 minute coup de grace from Xiphoid Dementia. A mind blowing trip of electronic experimental fuckery that combines the noise of Burn Ward with the semi ambience of Internal Empty. Which fits in nicely with both those acts. This track titled ‘Abomination’…which it isn’t… seems to randomly stop / start but is actually meticulously planned. Thrown out. Reeled in. Thrown out. Reeled in. Calm then storm. Calm then storm. Which makes it sound like crud but you really have to hear it to experience it for yourself. The effect is one of complete disorientation. Musically akin to a peck on the cheek followed by a kick to the head. Repeated. Repeated. Repeated.
Haven’t heard of these acts before? Now’s your very limited chance. Catch ‘em whilst they’re HOT. A fine introduction to all three quality acts which will appeal more to the noise & drone freaks who peruse this site. Everyone else can find some other another party to crash.
From Vital Weekly #499
To start with Xiphoid Dementia (although placed at the end of the release), their ‘Abomination’ is a twenty-some minute piece in similar areas as their previous release: dense, stretched fields of synthesizers, which occasionally leap into the world of noise. Quite nice, again. Internal Empty also has one track here, Burn Ward is the only one to offer more tracks, five in total. Burn Ward likes to play the noise card. Feedback distortion and vocals. It’s sort of alright, but nothing new under the Whitehouse sun. Internal Empty is the most ambient player here, although it’s quite deep, dark and covered with traces of abandoned factories. The best track here.
From Club Debil
Drei Projekte auf einer CD, wie sie kaum unterschiedlicher sein könnten. Das einzige Verbinde scheint die elektronische Klangerzeugung zu sein. Internal Empty eröffnen mit einem superdüsteren und dazu überlangen Drone-Ambient-Stück. Hat sich der Hörer erst einmal in diese finstere Welt begeben, wirken die Beiträge von Burn Ward geradezu wie Hammerschläge. Nach einem eher gemächlichen Anfang von “Insects” lässt es Benny Nelson ordentlich krachen. Es scherbelt und zwirbelt, fiept und kratzt, was die Elektronik hergibt, immer hart an der Schmerzgrenze entlang. Manchmal auch darüber hinweg. Sehr fetter und abwechslungsreicher Noise, für den sich ohne allzu großes Risiko mutmaßen lässt, dass er nur einige wenige Freaks begeistern wird. Persönlich finde ich das Ganze recht lustig, Gedanken zu den Folgen eines Dauerkonsums muss ich mir jedoch keine machen.
Nach der Burn Wardschen Hirn- und Gehörsmassage lassen es Xiphoid Dementia wieder ruhig angehen und das ist auch gut so. Wer sich aber von den mystisch-ambienten Strukturen am Anfang ihres Stückes und den eingestreuten Chorälen einlullen lässt, wird durch gelegentliche Noise-Ausbrüche wieder in die harte Realität zurückgeholt. Mit fortschreitender Zeit – auch dieses Stück überspringt die 10-Minuten-Grenze mit Leichtigkeit – nehmen diese überhand um letztendlich zu dominieren, ohne jedoch dabei so krass wie bei Burn Ward zu wirken. Insgesamt ein sehr abwechslungsreiches Stück, das zwischen entspanntem Ambient und bohrendem Noise changiert, wobei gerade die zeitweise Kombination beider Stile den Reiz ausmacht.
From Night Science Vol. 3
Internal Empty step up first for this disc, a half-hour track of drenched ambient tones which does everything by the book to bring about a well-executed piece, but one that has little interest for me. The sopping swell of the track which distorts its otherwise smooth features is welcome, but overall “A.L.W.S.P.M.” is a rather vacant, safe piece of gloss which is forgotten very easily.
Burn Ward doesn’t take so well to the longer format, a more constricted production also causing Benny’s five pieces some difficulty. The ferocity of Burn Ward’s frantic squeals of high-end is welcome, particularly after sitting through Internal Empty, the adbrupt approach beginning with “Insects” but quickly losing momentum with the unsatisfying “Dry Rot” and “Towers Rise” which even in their brevity never look likeachieving anything of substance. Burn Ward’s vocals may be impassioned but their use quickly thins and disorients the tracks, the concentrated cut-ups and denser texturising working far better then the extended segments. After the above-average “Self Immolation” b-card CDR this disc is a disappointment but, I believe, an aberration – I won’t be giving up this easily.
Xiphoid Dementia splits the difference, wafting synthetic tones bunted aside periodically by distortion-grimed rhythms, affrontive drilling, and hints of metallic clutter, the gaps shifting in their structure as the hits of louder material lenghten “Abomination,” the progress aggravating these into wonderfully unsubtle blasts of noise. Again the work is impressive but a pretty safe exorcise in “experimental music,” another unexplained and emotionless implementation which is technically sound but little more.
The effort which has gone into the presentation of this release, as well as the audio content, is unmistakable and if others hear what I’m missing from this disc then it will no doubt receive a positive response; sadly none of the three have given me reason to return to this one.
Xiphoid Dementia & Burn Ward – Xiphoid Burn 3″CDR
From Aural Pressure.
Arriving housed in a normal sized cardboard cover comes this 3 inch CDR (…will someone, anyone please, please, please explain to me what the fuck is the point of this format…) from the combined talents of Xiphoid Dementia & Burn Ward. Xiphoid Dementia I already know about having reviewed and highly rated “Embalmed In Purity” which was the last opus from Egan S Budd. Burn Ward on the other hand is a hitherto unknown act to these ears with a couple of releases already out. Never reviewed them because none were sent in for review. Their loss.
Unlike most of my reviews I’ll keep this one fairly short. This one track composition is a sub 16 minutes of purest power drone electronics. That’s it. That’s all. Fucking good stuff though. No samples. No death vocals. Nothing to get in the way of the noise which churns and floats, appears then disappears, squeals and squalls, integration before disintegration, man and machine in perfect harmony / disharmony. Fucking good stuff though. Apologies for repeating myself there.
But…it’s on a 3 inch CDR. And only lasts under 16 minutes. Which is a wasted opportunity on the part of both acts. So enamoured and engrossed was I with this track that I kind of felt cheated when it finished. They really should have put out a full recording with much more of the same on it. With a rebel yell I cried more, more, more…with apologies to a certain shite motorcycle accident prone ex-punk. Maybe next time. For now though this will just have to suffice.
From Vital Weekly #499.
The other release on the same label is a collaboration between Burn Ward and Xiphoid Dementia. If understood correctly Burn Ward plays the sounds in the low and mid end, and Xiphoid Dementia the sounds in mid and high end. In fifteen minutes things arise from the deep end rumblings of the swamp to go up in the air like a rocket. Engine like sounds towards the end make this altogether more audible. Noise meets ambient in a very fine way.
Embalmed in Purity CDR
From Aversion Online:
Here’s a massive, god damn near 80-minute outing of high quality dark ambient material, with damn near every track surpassing 10 minutes in total running time. This is the debut full-length from this project, and it’s been three years since his last release, so a lot of time and effort must’ve gone into this fucker, and it really does show. The disc contains six tracks divided into three parts, each consisting of a couplet, beginning with “Recollection of Lost Thoughts” and its 13+ minutes of surging dark ambient tones that interestingly fall back to some orchestral synths midway through – which is actually one of the only moments on the entire record in which these types of influences are explored (though that’s probably for the better in the long run). “Secret Kept in Exile” is the shortest track, but still hits more than nine minutes, stripping down to buzzing hums and resonant swells with some percussive textures and cascading drones for an ominous yet consistent piece that carries along nicely. “Brilliant Curse” changes things up quite a bit, as the sounds of birds and faintly crashing waves lead into some flitting wisps and distant percussion that gives way to a minimal ambient throb that gradually builds into a sizzling distorted pulse before dropping back to a sparse take on the style of ambience delivered in the previous piece. Minimalism initially continues as “Paradoxical Void” slowly builds in with ethereal textures that fade around in several directions as sparse, tribal sounding percussion starts to present itself at the fringes of the drones. This basic approach continues, increasing in density and volume over time, for the greater portion of a whopping 17 minutes – making for a rather hypnotic affair. “Fighting Fate”, like “Brilliant Curse”, marks another significant shift, introducing some excellent vocal shouts over another crispy distorted hum that grows more and more oppressive over 14 minutes (nothing too aggressive or abrasive, mind you). The vocals are mixed way back in the distance, so you can’t make out too much of the content, but the shouts aren’t heavily distorted or manipulated (sans plenty of delay), which sounds awesome, and kind of ties the style in this piece to power electronics as easily as it does to Bastard Noise or even Godflesh or the like. Very fucking nice. All of this climaxes in the title track, which gets immediately harsher off the surge at the end of its predecessor, using thicker, rawer sounding distortion amidst wails of feedback and windy swells for the duration of its 10-minute running time. A nice, deliberate touch that definitely falls into place well. There’s just a lot of detail to the recording and mixing here that I really enjoy. Everything sounds full and resonant with lots of bright intricacies as well as foreboding low-end that gels together very nicely throughout the very specifically arranged compositions. The packaging looks pretty damn nice, too. I don’t care for the back of the booklet or the art under the tray as those panels seem a little off from the cover/back cover, but the outer visuals are all top notch and depict strangely colored doorways and passages that kind of have a cavernous sort of appearance. The CD-R is jet black and has the Existence Establishment logo stamped on the front, hand-numbered out of 120 copies, and the disc is housed in an oversized plastic case probably generally used for DVD’s (with a hard shell though, like a big jewel case or something). The printed matter has those perforated edges that suggest home printing or whatever, but the print quality looks totally pro, so… it’s a nice looking affair for what basically amounts to a D.I.Y. release. There’s even a little bit of text (Lyrics?) inside offering some insight on the subject matter, with the entire package being housed in a sewn gauze sleeve. Not too shabby. This project’s just gotta get more attention out of this one. There’s honestly a lot more thought and effort put into this than most of the dark ambient material you’re gonna come across out there, especially at this level, because this disc is definitely of the caliber you’d expect from some of the better known labels dealing with this niche of the scene, and that should count for something. I’m actually pretty damn impressed by this. There are areas that might need a little work, for example, it might be worth considering to keep things a little less heavy handed as far as the total length is concerned (79 minutes is a long fuckin’ time), but that’s not such a big deal. I’ve love to hear more of the vocal work, and I think that over time this motherfucker could really do some severe damage as his skills progress even further. And that’s the thing that drives me nuts about the noise scene: It’s so damn oversatured that it’s extremely difficult for an album like this to make a dent, hence an excellent piece of work is so limited that a mere 120 people will get the chance to hear it, and that’s just offensive. Quality should do the talking, and this work should reach a greater number of listeners. Well done. (8/10)
From Aural Pressure:
To survive in an overcrowded tank teaming with bigger fish the baby fish needs to be strong and resourceful or it will surely die. This is an aquatic metaphor for all you fish keepers out there. Out of interest the fish species in question are from the family Cichlidae. Bet that will have 99.5% of you scratching your head in bewilderment. Read overcrowded tank as ‘musical genre’, bigger fish as ‘established artists’ and baby fish as ‘debutant’ and it all makes a kind of illogical sense.
Although to be fair to Egan S Budd, who records as Xiphoid Dementia, he has released a couple of tracks on three compilations and a 3″ CDR on the Soulworm Editions record label so strictly speaking “Embalmed In Purity” isn’t his debut recording but it is his first full length debut release. With so much competition around a recording needs to be either highly original in concept and sound or to have unusual packaging, preferably a combination of both, to stand out from everything else currently available in the market place. Egan cannot be faulted on the packaging. This limited edition (don’t get me bloody started on frigging limited editions again) of 120 copies housed in a Perspex (well it looks and feels like Perspex) DVD case with a nice informative, although very difficult to read, inlay card. Possibly I need new reading glasses. Must go to Specsavers. Even better is the first 55 copies which comes in a hand made stitched white bandage cover. Definitely different and unusual and a huge plus point in its favour.
Music wise “Embalmed In Purity” is 6 tracks and 70+ minutes of aggressive black ambient that sounds a little like a melding of Maeror Tri & Stratvm Terror…if you can imagine what that would sound like. The soundscapes, for want of a better word, are nicely developed and realised with suitably evolving passages that expands on the bleak isolation and desolation that they ultimately invoke. Not the newest or original of concepts it has to be said but “Embalmed In Purity” has that certain ‘edge’ to it so often missing from similar recordings. Gliding seamlessly from Industrial hum and clamour to spatial black segments with ritual overtones (which sounds strange yet is so cohesive and perfect), onto grunted distorted vocalising and back again the music is a compelling mixture which justifiably cannot be ignored.
As full length debuts go “Embalmed In Purity” is a highly rated and worthwhile addition to anyone’s collection and if Aural Pressure marked recordings out of 10 then this is surely worthy of a 9. Swim Egan swim. I foresee you with the big fishes in no time at all.
From Worm Gear.
This 6 track CDR is probably the nicest and most professional looking CDR release I have seen. For starters it comes in an oversized gauze bag, the case is a DVD sized case, but the design is more like a jewelcase, thinner, harder and clear plastic with a tray. The artwork is full color inside and out, and nicely designed as well I may add. Very impressive before even putting the disc in the machine. “Embalmed In Purity” is made up of three parts, and each part of two tracks. So there’s 6 tracks all together and only one of which is under the 10 minute mark and some well over. Xiphoid Dementia create a style of Dark Noise that is right in line with the way I love to hear it done. These are richly developed tracks that evolve through the elements of Death Industrial, Dark Ambient with some heavier levels of noise, elements of Power Electronics, as well as pieces of melody that emerge. I’m not going to dissect each track here because it works so well as a whole, and with the shifts in tone throughout the review would be an epic text. This is lush and dense music, with a heavy emphasis on atmosphere and subtle detail. The mix of sounds is great, cavernous clangs and drones, dirty noise swells, more pure electronics, synths tones and melodies, environmental recordings, tactfully executed vocals, percussive rumbles and strikes, scientific pulses and chirps… I could go on. The tone is one of active dread, not anticipatory, but rather immersive in a flailing darkness where everything you see and hear is not to be trusted… and the moments where you don’t see or hear anything are to be trusted even less. The flow instituted by XD on this release is impeccable really, everything grows and changes so fluidly, and yet dramatically and the length of the tracks, one of which just stretches the 17 minute mark, is a non issue because they are crafted so delicately. This project has been around for a few years now, and has very few releases because they have obviously invested themselves in going slow and getting it right. “Embalmed In Purity” is a testament to that philosophy and an incredible release. Xiphoid Dementia is now on my very short list of rising Dark Noise projects that qualify as essential listening.
From Vital Weekly #483.
The name Xiphoid Dementia is new to me, and so is it’s creator: Egan Budd. The whole thing looks grim, very dark with all the ‘wrong’ touches: that of a pitch black world in which life is no fun at all. The crowded world of the darker than life industrialists, the world of Cold Meat Industry, Old Europa Cafe (even when both labels are not often present in these pages) and Ant-Zen. So far the complaining, because the musical content may not be a surprising new light on the world of ambient industrial, Xiphoid Dementia executes his stuff with great care. Occasionally he leaps into the mighty world of noise and distortion, but most of the times he covers his sounds with tons and tons of reverb but it evokes the right atmosphere: abandoned industrial sites, post war landscapes and other such imagery that connects with sci-fi movies. And with a length of almost eighty minutes this is almost the length of a soundtrack. Those who love aforementioned labels or seek the right connection between the raw Maeror Tri and the more refined Troum, this might be right up your alley. Limited to 120 copies, in a DVD box with likewise alienated graphics – as said: nothing new under the sun, but nevertheless executed with great care.
Wounds Never Heal 3″CDR
The name Xiphoid Dementia seems familiar to me, but this rather lengthy 3″ disc is my first exposure to the project. “Loss of Blood, Dealation” opens with some menacing dark ambient syths and some resonant samples that sound sort of like the shuffling of broken glass. Some spoken samples come in at the end and make for a nice closing, changing up the otherwise unwavering delivery. “We Will Live Again” runs the bulk of the disc at 11 minutes, beginning with the sounds of collapsing, crunching metal – quickly fading to near silence as extremely quiet synth tones start to slowly wind their way back to the surface. In my opinion this portion of the track is a bit ineffective as the drop in volume is so extreme that you have to literally crank it to hear what’s going on until things finally reach a normal volume again some two or more minutes later. Thankfully the remainder of the track is an excellent progression of dark ambient soundscapes ranging from melodic musical loops to lightly distorted sweeps and droning feedback. “Preparation for the End” is smoother and calmer at the start, thickening into a massive wall of percussive rhythm and rumbling synth distortion after a brief sample splits in for a second. The sound quality is quite nice, full and textured with a great deal of low-end, but not muddy, nor too thin on the treble. I really like the warmth of the mix, everything is pressed tightly together and forms a dense core. The CD-R comes in a nice little slim jewelcase with a well-designed sleeve depicting strange images of encased fetuses with small, precise text. The inner spread is black and white, the outer panels full color, and the printing is fairly high quality. I believe this release is limited to a mere 50 copies, some of which may still be available, in which case I would certainly say this is worth checking out. I’m quite surprised that I haven’t heard more from this project yet. (7/10)