Secular Hymns CD

From Sideline:

Egan Budd has already been active for a couple of years under the Xiphoid Dementia moniker. The project has joined the renowned dark-ambient Malignant Records to launch the newest album.

“Secular Hymns” took me by surprise and I can really speak about a revelation. Moving somewhere in between dark-ambient and industrial-noise “Secular Hymns” is an opus that catches the attention for its impressive arsenal of sounds and noises that have been used. But the main characteristic of the release concerns the global production. The way all the sounds have been mixed and empowered by stereo effects simply is unique. Xiphoid Dementia is a high-tech production where every single sound has its importance and its place. The different noises, field recordings, drones and other electronic manipulations are creating a compact and overwhelming production.

“Secular Hymns” features 4 tracks and presents a great progression in sound. Each song is hiding some new tracks and secrets. Dark crescendo vibes are joined by noise manipulations until a kind of imaginary sound monster awakens on “Abortion Rites”. This is a kind of sonic allegory, which will touch your darkest thoughts and deepest visions of horror. This imaginary monster sounds like vomiting tortured noises.

“My Time Will Never Come” sounds quite desperate while musical-wise you rapidly feel like entering an apocalyptic voyage without an exit. Hard drones and poignant tic-tac sounds have been empowered by metallic percussions while a church bell starts resonating. It all sounds like a nearby disaster appealing believers for a final mess. Right at the point where you get the impression that mankind will be destroyed, a kind of electronic organ starts playing in a sort of nihilistic concerto.

“Secular Hymns” is a poignant composition that comes to a climax on “What You Believe”. The tormented spheres and heavy noise manipulations have been reinforced by analogue sound waves and outstanding stereo effects. This is the kind of track where you feel like watching a movie by the simple strength of the music awakening your imagination. The edge between ambient and noise is quite close, but in the end I prefer to speak about apocalyptic ambient music.

“Breathe” is the last chapter of this surreal sound dimension created by Xiphoid Dementia. This track is more soundscape-minded, but still moves into noise fields and heavy drones. There are not many projects in the genre revealing such a high level of creativity in sound and noises.

This is one more essential release featured on the Malignant Records roster and one more project you have to discover. Terror has never been so delightful! (DP:8/9)DP.

From Forbidden Magazine:

“Breathe” equates to dark ambient layers of astral drone with indecipherable sounds of live horror and suffering, with possibly even rants of insanity slightly below the surface. When I say “drone” I don’t mean boring and monotonous, it’s more like classic Lustmord nightmarish electronic drifts of soothing and yet unnerving pieces of Hell being gradually implanted into my subconscious while I’m in a half anesthetized state of mind. The world is blurry to all five of my senses but I can still make out the piercing hints of noise, like a saw carving methodically through metal dissolved into thick drawn out moments of my chloroform haze. Eventually shuffling huffs and wafts of almost human sound, including grunts and maniacal sadistic monologue with the occasional thump of something heavy dropping come to the forefront and out shriek the drone with a burst of gritty power electronic real-time manipulating that borders on experiencing electrocution while hallucinating and numbed on opiates. This is an ideal night listening while reading true crime and criminal psychology books as it does nicely convey a sense of horror of drugged torture and weird psychological suspense , but wrapped up softly in warm frequencies to soften to blow (so to speak). The title is therefore cleverly ironic, as this is more like suffocation than freely breathing.

“Abortion Rites” combines distorted bass blurbs, junk metal clanking, and shrill noise tantrums over a really nice neo-classical synthesizer foundation. It’s sort of like something serene and beautiful being set on fire, pissed on, shit on, and absolutely destroyed only adapted to a listening format versus a visual one. I also can’t help but completely love the weird sense of something repeatedly falling: “Pheeeeeeewwwwwwmmmmmmm” , but never dropping, amidst very fuzzy distorted blurbs of human voice saturated in echo and delay, and then it DOES drop with a massive bass thud that strains the speakers. There’s no way…NO WAY…this guy has this stuff rehearsed!!! It’s so fluid and real and yet still jagged enough to be unsettling to some listeners.

“What You Believe” is my favorite of the four tracks for the sheer fact that it starts out sounding like a steam engine train coming into a tunnel puffing rumbling bass tones and a distinctly repetitive pattern of rhythm inducing hypnosis so that you barely realized death occurred seconds before. Lots of scrap metal being tossed around and explosions in the background appear as the train has crashed and the tragic reality has slowly sunk in with a whir of chopping rhythms from a helicopter hovering over the wreckage. Next sporadic gun fire and phaser beam blasts make the scene, eventually evolving into a new power electronic opus that does honestly resemble moments of Death Factory, Machinen Unter Kontrolle, complete with a continual looping of an alarm like sound and a bunch of apocalyptic war audio streamed and warped beneath it. BUT the best moments come toward the last 4 minutes when the weird loony is yelling and ranting to his doctor about his continually deteriorating mental health state as the looping alarm and explosions continually drown out his raving. That last four minutes is the only reason that “What You Believe” stands out amongst the three other incredible sonic brain twisters, and even then it’s a tough call to make because they are all brilliant.

Much like Death Factory and Nyodene D, Xiphoid Dementia completely flushes the boundaries between power electronic, noise, purely experimental, and dark ambient. Sometime there’re lush fuzzed out walls of sonic noise such as with The Rita, others a bit of shrieking feedback that is unsettling to the nervous system (think Hal Hutchinson/Richard Ramirez), some glacial astral drone with a sense of psychosis right beneath the haze (Cloama), a bit of industrialized neo-classical hinting at some In Slaughter Natives, and you hopefully get an idea of the scope covered.

From Black Audio:

This is the latest release from Egan Budd’s Xiphoid Dementia, a project that has been actively recording since 1999, providing blistering amalgamations of intense ambient structures based on an electronic, machine-like core.

Opening with ‘Abortion Rights’, a ghostly apparition of sound layers itself with an ethereal ambient undercurrent, torn apart art the seams with brutal Power Electronics mid way. The intense hybrid of the two genre’s clash at times, but surprisingly work to great effect as much as they are opposing forces; the horrific blisters of sound ever so lightly gelled together with sub-textures and thunderous undercurrents.

The post-industrial nature of XD comes to the fore in ‘My Time Will Never Come’. The apocalyptical backdrop of sound is a welcome break from the destruction caused by track one, but for me is ultimately ruined by the somewhat cheesy, misplaced electronics towards the end, leaving a somewhat unsatisfying outcome.

‘What You Believe’, toys with PE from the lower end of the scale, gradually becoming more chaotic as the noise rises from the depths. This ultimately slots in as the prequel to the closer of this album, ‘Breathe’; a crushing montage of sound and wall of sound and a tethered, snarling beast that is never let completely out of it’s restraints.

‘Secular Hymns’ is a decent album by and large. There are areas of this release that need to be reigned in, holding it back from becoming an outright classic display of what the scene is all about. That said, if 55 minutes of visceral electronics with an ever so futuristic and post apocalyptical stance is your thing, then you wouldn’t go far wrong by obtaining this.

From Noise Receptor:

Xiphoid Dementia have been around for quite a few years it seems (…since 1999 accordingly to the promo blurb), yet this is my first introduction to the solo project of Egan Budd. ‘Secular Hymns’ is evidently his second official album, yet based on the myriad of tonal aspects covered herein I am finding it rather difficult to pin down some words to describe it. This comment however is not intended as a negative, as by ignoring genre ‘rules’ Xiphoid Dementia have effectively turned any preconceived expectations I might have had on their head and produced a complex and striking album in the process. Likewise with the varied and multi-faceted sound of each composition which runs the gamut of multiple genres, it is akin to having multiple tracks within the lager compositional structure. On the other hand to provide an overly clinical description, ‘Secular Hymns’ blends aspects of noise, industrial, dark ambient and power electronics across four tracks of extended length (10-14 minutes each).

Although the album commences calmly, the droning melodies and choir vocals of ‘Abortion Rites’, are soon enveloped by harsh, blasting, free-form noise (…let’s call this a positive pairing of dark ambient and industrial noise). Yet the opening track does not remain solely in a noise guise, instead edges into a loose power electronics arrangement complete with heavily treated vocals. Within its roughly hewn industrial soundscape the second composition ‘My Time Will Never Come’ presents a vague tribal / experimental character, which mid track falls away into a section of meditative synth melodies and further punctuated by metallic echoes and the tolling of a lone church bell. In a further display of the album’s bipolar tendencies, ‘What We Believe’ heads off on a totally different tangent, starting as a loosely structured experimental / ambient track, gradually building into a harder edged industrial noise and pulsing power electronics piece. Likewise based on its harsh overloaded bass/ noise production and further use of sampled dialogue, this track is not too far from the lauded sound of Propergol. For the final of the four tracks ‘Breathe’ commences as a slab of droning, viscous dark ambience that gradually morphs towards death industrial aura through the introduction of sporadic jagged tonal aspects catatonic bass heavy beat and distortion scarred vocals, making this track a focused and passionate ending to a solid album.

With the variation in sound and strong disregard for established genre boundaries, this attitude (along with a few of the calmer dark ambient moments), brings to mind the early works of BJ Nilsen (aka the final Morthound album ‘The Goddess Who Could Make The Ugly World Beautiful’, and to a lesser degree the first Hazard album ‘Lech’), which is high praise from my perspective. Likewise with its varied and complex scope and the finesse and confidence in which the material is delivered, Xiphoid Dementia is yet another excellent addition to the Malignant Records roster.

From Deaf Sparrow:

In spite of its awesome cover art, Secular Hymns leaves much to be desired in its musical interiors. It’s one of those releases that’s good, just not good enough, squeezing out an average score because of some nice tricks among the rest of the industrial-noise sound walls that tend to fill the rest. Its tendency to leap from noise to experimental without a fragment of proper connectivity is the main issue, kind of like the band name itself, which somehow tries to combine bone with brain. How many times have we made this argument before? Noise, as a whole, is too filled with mediocrity. It’s because it’s too easy. Get a pedal, run a microphone through that, run that through some more pedals, stick it all in a suitcase, bring it to a “show” in someone’s closet, and you’re a band, right? At least, that’s what some of these people seem to think. In doing so, they miss the intricacies of real noise musicians. Everyone’s heard of Merzbow, and there’s a reason for it. Just compare his work onPulse Demon to Doors Open at 8AM. The rest of the noise world, however, is complacent in its pedal-pounding ways, twiddled by the false comments of friends who wouldn’t admit it’s bad unless their life depended on it. Some musicians go beyond this, and others are just right on the edge, almost reaching greatness, but perhaps a little stuck in trend, which is where about Xiphoid Dementia is via this particular release.

Secular Hymns has a hell of lot of dead space to it, but not dead as in empty of sound, dead as in empty of personality. This is mainly due to the noise, which takes up about 1/2 of the album, maybe slightly less. And boy, is it typical. Expect rumbling hiss, random fluctuations of harsh sound, and a few distorted screams with absolutely nothing unique about it. That’s this album’s big downfall, because the noise is just slightly above mediocre. It’s not entirely random and unsure of itself, but at the same time it’s a little afraid to try something new, to leave the suitcase at home. Just good enough that it’s clear he at least understands his equipment, but not good enough that you wonder how he pulled it off. You can clearly tell it’s a pedal here, another there, who cares? That is, however, until you listen to the experimental elements with their dips into ambient.

That’s where this one shines, and it’s a good shine. It’s the sunlight through a window covered in years of grime from who knows where. When Xiphoid Dementia utilizes objects and analog electronics, the outcome is a hell of a lot better. You’ll encounter ticking clocks going between the speakers, where he further creates patterns and tempo using what sound like other time pieces in unusual ways. Another track features church bells, but instead of utilizing them for feign “darkness” and “evil”, instead you find a basic structure on which the rest of the song is built, though the analog Moog, or whatever it is, is a bit drab and underdeveloped. Lame, almost. When he’s on, he’s on, and when he’s off, he won’t come back on for awhile. That’s where Secular Hymns basically stands. The contradiction between harsh noise and ambient is difficult to overcome, and he only succeeds here to a minor degree. Xiphoid Dementia works better in this particular release when the focus is more on experimental ambient; his command of noise is far less appealing and a large stain that cannot be removed with further noise, though he certainly tries, much like rubbing grape juice into a carpet with bleach. You’ll definitely get it out, but you’ll remove the rest of the color as well. Fans of both noise and ambient might enjoy portions, but unless your mind is able to fragment and separate itself like this album tends to do, it will probably just end up being a bit irritating outside of the novel experimentation.

From Sante Sangre Magazine:

Among the power electronics territory the artists I appreciate the most are the ones that not only reach far beyond the genre, because that’s obvious, but most of all the ones that bring this music on a deeper, I’d say, almost philosophical level. The ones that don’t praise the cult of machines, don’t make operations without anesthesia on sick social-political systems, don’t find relish in sexual wickedness and deviations. Of course these topics are often interesting and inspiring as well, but for me personally, the masters are the ones who are able to draw from power electronics a certain kind of poetry. Navicon Torture Technologies / Theologian, Nyodene D, Strom Ec. And Xiphoid Dementia.

Before I turn to the music, some thoughts on the artwork – it’s only a few illustrations, but the symbolism within them would be enough for several releases: religious fanaticism, holy wars, the collapse of the concept of time, memory, emotions and the ways to manipulate them. Egan Budd opens up many possible ways of interpretation, and it’s only the beginning, because the most important thing is what the musician engraved on the silver disc.

The album consists of four long tracks – the beginning of “Abortion Rites” doesn’t announce the sonic nightmare of the rest of the recording. Though the beautifully emotional guitar drones are quickly butchered by cruel, abstract electronics. Later the atmosphere becomes seemingly calmer, but human emotions – despite the fact that a processed male voice makes an appearance here and there – aren’t present here, just clean, soulless mechanics.

“My time will never come” – does Egan speak only on his own behalf, or as the representative of the whole of humanity, which has fallen before it managed to fully develop? Technology pushes forward, but ideas rot. The grim melody, clearly put into rhythm by a ticking clock, takes you into the abyss, close to the nucleus of time in the order of its deconstruction. You drift through scattered clocks, timers and metronomes. The sun and stars are arranged in random combinations. But when you get to your destination, you embrace the bliss lasting a second or an eternity, it doesn’t matter. The melodic sequence appearing in the second part of the song is absolutely unique.

The third and longest track, “What you believe”, is a post-apocalyptic symphony composed of decaying machinery, distant nuclear explosions, wind wheezing over ruined cities and a dull murmur heralding total destruction. The atmosphere thickens with time, while the synthetic sounds mercilessly take control, as if some artificial intelligence has been raised from the ashes of humanity and seizes all this radioactive, once green desert for itself.

Perhaps the calmest, though not without hurting glitches and feedbacks is the last track called “Breathe”. Yet the lack of aural madness certainly doesn’t mean that the sun is shining again and the birds are singing. Dark ambient elements appear on “Secular Hymns” in each track, but on “Breathe” they’re present perhaps the most clearly. An oppressive and dark fragment of the album, the closer to the end, the more noisy it becomes. When the last tones fade, I always take a breath of fresh air in relief.

Egan Budd created an ultimately refined work. The musician operates with a wide range of emotions, though mainly from the negative pole. But there is a bit of space for light and hope (second track). Or maybe it’s a reconciliation with the fate that is intended for us anyway? It is a very fresh thing. Check it out, even if you’re not really into power electronics, because although genre sounds are certainly the basis here, “Secular Hymns” is really above genres.

From KFJC 89.7 FM:

One man project of Egan Budd, been creating since 1999. This is a noise record, but it falls more into the experimental field. I like how his website states that his music ranges from “cerebral industrial to introspective drone”, pretty accurate. Tracks might start off with a low, industrial drone that then feeds the mouth of a monstrous sharp toothed electronic beast. It’ll shift from one end of loudness to the other. Soft, winds and calming seas of sound plummet right back into the abyss of harsh razors. Some demonic tweaked vox buried in the mix on track 1. Ticking clocks, telling tales of your wasted life on the chilling of track 2 (this evolves into something that sounds like it should be on a Death Waltz reissue). Purring motors, metal scraps and a crazy guy on track 3. Alien drones and hums on the spookiness of track 4.

From Rome Ruined:

Effectively the God is an Astronaut or Godspeed You! Black Emperor of post-industrial, Xiphoid Dementia serves as a good opener to the wider world of industrial and drone-based ambient noise. Xiphoid Dementia’s production quality, which usually comprises multiple genres in a layering act of sonorous sounds, is meant to instill despair and bring to mind images of bleak misery

We see this fact well enough with the first track, Abortion Rites. Beginning with a cycling drone and edging into an echoing choir, the track diverges into a sonic attack of murderous wails and distorted alarms. Electronic walls of sound gyrate to the distorted shrieks and electronic whirs and almost mystical rasps. Suddenly the wall breaks down, and we are left with neat cycles of synthetic noise. The drones, synths and vocal samples here are masterfully done, and complement the track very well.

The second track, My Time Will Never Come, starts off with much the same way. A ticking clock, reminiscent of Pink Floyd’s Time, quickly drops into a wailing echo of blaring sound. It is as if the very walls of reality are being burned away, set to the creaks and hums and subsonic drones of a ruined factory. The sounds used here are not as creatively layered as the first track, utilizing short samples and loops in ways that tend to become more repetitive than before. The thing that staves off true ennui here are the screaming drones and blasts of noise we are given, even though as the clocks increase in number and frequency, the aura of despair or hopelessness is partly diminished. The second part of the track is much more creative in this aspect, featuring a chiming bell and multiple other synths and cycling sounds. Most of the album features this duality of sounds that Egan Budd, the man behind the noise, has layered and orchestrated to his whims. This track in particular leaves off with a very masterfully done buildup to bells and whistles that instill an even more depressive feeling than the last- even though the sound is the complete opposite of one would expect to be saddening.

The third track, What You Believe, begins much more darkly. A whirring machine in the background is offset by an almost industrial factory ambiance, quickly giving way to an aquatic reverberation and metallic creaks and sounds. Stone grinds on stone and walls collapse as the city slowly falls to ruin. A helicopter or some other whirring device passes by after hovering for a time overhead. Gradually the sounds layer upon each other to the point where it seems as if the very building is about to come down, straining at rotted timbers and rusted bolts. Synths and drones come into the mix as this buildup to ultimate ruin never ceases, except in furious explosions of noise and the drone of klaxons and water. The electronic synths buildup to an explosion of vocal samples that fit the buildup well- breaking back to the previous buildup with not-human shrieks and screamed words.

The fourth and final track, Breathe, begins with a claustrophobic opening of various breathings. Gasps, moans, groans, hyperventilating rasps and sighs of release, all echoing and reverberating out with a background of lightly strumming noise. This all gives way soon enough to a drone not unlike that found on dark ambient albums, with sounds and noises consistent with something more focused. The album’s proficiency in multiple disciplines shows itself well here- gaining ground with the application of a variety of genres that are almost perfectly blended together. Drones mix well into eddies of electronic hums and whirs that cycle back and forth. The entire sound here creates a large space of noise to build in, beginning to layer on the savage grunts and vocal undulations of ritualistic despair. Vocal shrieks and whines coalesce into a droning sonic screech of pure hate, ending in a furious explosion of devastating aural anguish that finishes the album on a thoroughly high note.

If ever there was ambient sounds to truly inspire the industrial artist, these are them. Xiphoid Dementia’s “Secular Hymns” are unto the orchestrated patterns of a conductor progressing through movements of noise into choruses of screams and droning synths. “Secular Hymns” delivers on multiple fronts in a way that few other artists can hope to emulate, having something for almost every listener be they of the dark or industrial realms. “Secular Hymns” is not an album any serious listener will want to miss- breaking ground as much as it breaks the silence of life with echoes of a much darker place only seen in half formed dreams and the stuff of primal nightmares.

From Necroweb:

Egan Budd lebt mit seinem Projekt Xiphoid Dementia kräftige Träume aus, wobei das Gebotene auf “Secular Hymns” jedoch alles andere als ein Schlafmittel ist.

Dabei wiegt der Musiker den ahnungslosen Konsumenten erst einmal in Sicherheit, beginnt der Trip doch zunächst ziemlich angenehm. Was dem Anfang einer scheinbaren Ambient-Vertonung entspricht, kippt allerdings nach nicht allzu langer Zeit schlagartig in einen gnadenlosen Noise-Fön um, mit welchem man sich nicht so schnell zurechtfindet. Eine verzerrte, hasche Artikulierung darf natürlich nicht fehlen, und so sollte jeder, der mit dem Gedanken spielt, hier zuzugreifen, unbedingt ein dickes Fell mitbringen.

Xiphoid Dementia ist alles andere als bequem und leicht genießbar, sondern hält hingegen eine Welt des Schmerzes und teils musikalischen Terror bereit. Aber halt, trotzdem muss festgehalten werden, dass “Secular Hymns” viel Reiz bereithält. Dieser kommt unter anderem durch diverse Eingebungen zum Tragen, wie etwa ein scheinbar mechanisches Uhrwerk, welches bei “My Time Will Never Come” hervorragende Atmosphäre verbreitet.

Egal ob hallende Metallgeräusche, stimmiges Glockenläuten oder anderweitige elektronische Spielereien – Egan Budd versteht es, Abwechslung einzubringen und dabei kommt eben auch so manch interessante Idee heraus.
Sicherlich bedarf es hin und wieder einer kleinen Anlaufphase; ein Werk zum ‘auf die Schnelle hören’ ist dieser Silberling aber eh nicht geworden.

Je tiefer man in diesen harschen Brocken eintaucht, umso mehr fruchten die Eruptionen.
Gerade mit “What You Believe” nimmt das Ganze ziemlich an Fahrt auf und der anfangs scheinbare Krach wirft immer mehr Strukturen auf, bis sich mit “Breathe” ein finsterer Sog aufbaut, der zum Ende hin allerdings wieder von einem Noisegeflecht zerbröselt wird.

Fetischisten des harschen Industrial dürfen hier bedenkenlos zuschlagen, gerade was die Zielgruppe von Konsorten wie Prurient betrifft.

From Chain DLK:

Xiphoid Dementia is the noise/power electronic project of Egan Budd from Boston who has been at this since 1999, and ‘Secular Hymns’ is approximately his tenth or so release. Apparently Malignant Records found it interesting enough to release on their label. Never heard any of his stuff before, so once again, another ‘blind’ review. ‘Secular Hymns’ begins with the 14 minute 40 second ‘Abortion Rites’ which seems to have little to do with abortions. It is more akin to being strapped to the outside of a rocket and launched into space. It starts with a tiny laser pinpoint of noise that grows and swells from multi-timbral noise drone, goes through some power electronics changes where you encounter a bawling electronic monster (courtesy of lots of distorted vocal processing) hell-bent on the destruction of, well’¦everything in the audio spectrum. Played loud this is sure to shred your speakers, or under headphones, your eardrums.

‘My Time Will Never Come’ begins with a clicking-ticking and electronic drone, ratcheting, then some dumpster drums and maybe sawing through same dumpster. A chiming clock emerges briefly, ceases, then returns later. Very industrial. Midway the loops stop and there is some metalish banging around, then the rhythm of a single church bell begins. Playing off this slow rhythm a buzzy synth bass plays a dirgy melody. Other higher frequency synths melodically embellish this funerary march taking it out to the end. Kind of crude, but quite unexpected in the context of industrial noise/power electronics. ‘What You Believe’ begins kind of low key with industrial machinery in a factory environment with various types of industrial noise and drones, and eventually electronics. It takes a while to build up steam and get into the big noise and electronic squalls, but rest assured, they do come. A buzzy electronic sample and hold loop becomes the backdrop for crushing explosive sounds, and eventually higher frequency electronic sounds enter the mix. A sampled voice rant (only barley intelligible) enters the mix (something about a mental patient complaining to his doctor about whippings and medication) and this goes on for a while. The track culminates in a barrage of noise until the end.

‘Breathe’ may be the spookiest track on the album, with the sound of breathing and ominous low-key punctuations of bass electronics, eventually giving way to a rising tone-drone that keenly slices through the gloomy ambience. Further down the line a slow and steady percussive pounding and snippets of echoed electronics and noises inject infernal aural madness into the mix becoming more prevalent and less incidental until it all dies away in a single tone.

No doubt ‘Secular Hymns’ is a multi-faceted noise/power electronics album with a good amount of diversity and quite a lot put into it. It may not sit well with noise purists, but who cares? I found it interesting enough, though not all quite to my liking as power noise isn’t really my thing. There are sections I would have like to have heard expanded (the beginning of ‘What You Believe’ for one) and other sections I could have done without (the sampled complaining mental patient) but you can’t always get what you want. I should make mention of the bizarre artwork on this 6-panel digipak which I won’t even try to describe; it’s just really, really weird. If you’re tired of the same-old same-old in the harsh noise genre, give Xiphoid Dementia a shot.

From Kultureterrorismus:

EGAN BUDD, seines Zeichens der Betreiber von EXISTENCE ESTABLISHMENT (Magazin, Label, Distro) und gleichzeitig der kreative Kopf hinter XIPHOID DEMENTIA, womit er seit 1999 brutale Power Electronics auf die Menschheit hetzt, der der Amerikaner nach “Secular Hymns“, seinem neuen Album, zu urteilen, wenig bis gar nichts abgewinnen kann.

Bisherige XIPHOID DEMENTIA Releases erschienen mehrheitlich über den hauseigenen Verlag EXISTENCE ESTABGLISHMENT, den er für „Secular Hymns“ verlässt, welches den Weg zum Licht über MALIGNAT RECORDS findet.

Auf “Secular Hymns” verarbeitet EGAN BUDD mit ‘Abortion Rites‘ (Abtreibungsritus) ein Thema, das die Amerikaner sehr kontrovers disktuieren – heißt der Herr bewegt sich nah am Puls der Zeit. Zudem bietet er tiefe Einblicke in seine eigene Lebenssituation (‘My Time Will Never Come‘), die bei den meisten seiner Landsleuten genauso perspektivlos sein dürfte. Heißt im Klartext, „Secular Hymns“ stellt eine sehr persönliche Veröffentlichung von XIPHOID DEMENTIA dar, deren Kernaussagen Leute wie DU und ICH direkt unterschreiben!

Freunde der anspruchsvollen Power Electronics dürften EGAN BUDD mit XIPHOID DEMENTIA kennen, der im Gegensatz zu Mehrheit der Protagonisten nicht ausschließlich aufs Gaspedal drückt, sondern seine wüssten Attacken in Soundtracks einbindet, so auch bei “Secular Hymns“, wo er in Dark Ambient Klanglandschaften (mit leicht industriellem Touch) à la Bocksholm & Co derbe Power Electronics integriert, wodurch unzählige Spannungskurven zutage treten – Wahnsinn! Neben der formidablen Intensität überzeugt XIPHOID DEMENTIA durch Abwechslungsreichtum, für dieses ansonsten monotone Genre fast revolutionär, weshalb “Secular Hymns” faktisch zu den Lichtern dieser Bewegung zählt. Anspieltipp? Bestimmt das Gesamtwerk, aber für mich persönlich ‘What You Believe‘, wo EGAN BUDD mit Geschwindigkeit, Dichte, Sprachsamples usw. “jongliert”.

EGAN BUDD bzw. XIPHOID DEMENTIA offenbart mit “Secular Hymns” ein Power Electroncis Meisterwerk, dem auch nach dem x-ten Hördurchlauf nicht die “Puste” ausgeht, das vor allem an dem ansprechenden Soundtrackcharakter, der wohl dosierten Intensität & handwerklichen Klasse liegt – meine absolute (Kauf-)Empfehlung!

From Brutal Resonance:

Malignant records had been always thinking out of the box bringing something different and special with each and every release. All the records of this year contributed hours and hours of entertainment leaving significant traces in my coarsened musical taste. This week I received a CD that will close this truly productive year of Jason from Malignant and with the album from Xiphoid Dementia I will raise a toast for the long life and successful business of this label during the New Year party.

To be honest, I never paid attention to this project though it had been somewhere around for almost thirteen years. ‘Secular Hymns’ is already the fourth full album of Egan Budd, the man behind Xiphoid Dementia, and according to the official description it is an exploration of the author’s inner world with all its love, hate and fears. Each personality has a lot of facets, the same with the music of this record that is painted with the colors of different genres to bring quite an experience for its listener.

If the music could be compared to alcoholic drinks, ‘Secular Hymns’ could have a taste of Jägermeister for sure. So many flavors are mixed together to create a one solid product, you never recognize all of them. “Abortion Rights” starts with a very wide choral drone that circles on and on inside the speakers creating an atmosphere of oppressive expectation. Slowly, a high scratching noise enters the stage guiding the same drone up to the fifth minute where the previous structure brakes into pieces with a sudden dive into the uncontrolled wall of power noise. The track slowly evolves again somewhere in the middle to give a space to a shouting distorted vocals supported by the same sonic hell of energetic scratches and impulses.

While I still try to digest what I heard during almost fifteen minutes of brainstorming, the second composition “My Time Will Never Come” arrives and verifies its name with an opening sound of clocks. A complex insanity continues with a huge structure of various industrial special effects being poured all together from different corners of Egan’s imagination, drilling, sawing, energy pulsations, and waves of machinery create a constant turbulence. The mood in the track is changed again somewhere in the middle, transforming into synth-based floating melody with a bell beat, injecting a little bit of mystery into the thick layers of music.

Each composition demands the specific emotional state in order to feel it stronger, and so is with the upcoming “What You Believe” which draws the picture of industrial area full of sudden noises, breaking glass and accidentally working mechanisms like there is some ghost that plays inside the abandoned place trying to demolish everything around. Combining the elements of death industrial and power electronics, the author brings a dense vision of decay and devastation. A very creepy track under the name “Breathe” comes to close the show where dark soundscapes fill the all the space around, bound together with ropes of desperation. The ship of humanity sails through storms, all of its passengers try to fix the holes in its structure, while angry waves try to win the battle, but they don’t understand that the war is lost already. In order to put a thick dot in the end of the album, Egan decides to add few minutes of his strong power electronics just a moment before the track fades away to glorify a successful sinking of the ship.

Because of its complex structure, ‘Secular Hymns’ keeps me involved during all its run, even though all the four tracks have a long playing time. I must admit that this record is not for easy listening for sure, because it demands a high concentration on each part and each tune in order to understand and feel the message and true art. Even though ‘Secular Hymns’ will not enter my golden list of “the best” listening material of all times, it has its own spirit and a special individuality that place it on a highest level of musical experience.

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

From Aversionline.

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)

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