WaxWorm – Mea Kulpa
Release Date: 23/07/2021
Running Time: 39:20
Review by Dark Juan
Bonjour, mes amis! It is I, Dark Juan, and I am taking refuge from the big shiny fireball in the sky. Hiding within the curtain walls in the main keep of Dark Juan Terrace, trembling and tremulous, a feared of a puissance, a power greater than mine, while the smellhounds bake themselves to a furry crisp upon the stone flags outside, and Mrs. Dark Juan sits embroidering another twisted, yet beautiful creation whilst basking in the frankly terrifying radiation from an angry and vengeful star. Actually, to be fair she’s come back indoors now and is busily designing tattoos for tomorrow for she is a rather talented and excellent artiste de tatouage…There are however advantages to this – the Pimms and lemonade is freely flowing and I have achieved a state of grace and bonhomie by 1pm which is not normally attainable until the late evening at least. Seeing as I am in a state of grace and bonhomie (my liege lord and all-round good egg Admiral Of The Fleet Richard ”Aren’t you bored of these long winded introductions yet, you pompous Northern twatmonkey?” Tilley has not had to threaten me with violence to actually fucking write something this time. He just sent a photograph of himself, smiling benignly, whilst wielding a claymore which appears to be in perfect repair and VERY sharp) I have taken it upon myself to write about another record for you. Aren’t you all so extremely FORTUNATE?!?
YOU THERE! Stop your sniggering! I don’t care whether you all think I am as funny as corduroy trousers or not, but I do have an overweening sense of self-importance and I will not be denied. At least the preamble is under three hundred words this time…
WaxWorm is the creation of Antipodean Arthur Brown (no, he is not the god of hellfire, and he won’t be bringing you any either) and (considerably less exotic) Duncan Evans of Leeds (ex-A Forest Of Stars), in God’s own County (that being West Yorkshire. My being there also is neither here nor there) in jolly old Blighty. They describe their music as “dark electro-chaos” and an attempt to create something heavy without guitars and this album is the culmination of both face-to-face and remote meetings over a period of several years, where the project was shelved and revisited a number of times. To their eternal credit, they displayed much more patience than I ever could and actually finished the bloody thing so they have earned my approbation for being more driven individuals than I will ever be.
The album opens with ‘Mutus Liber’ (Latin for “Silent Book” and being an alchemical grimoire from the 17th Century, fact fans!) and it is clear that we are going to be roaming the realms of electronica and EBM. A slowly building synth wall of sound, played like Type O Negative at their most miserable speeds (or lack thereof), continues to an overlaid drone vocal and then there is a notable step change in tempo on ‘Eschaton’, the second song. Remember when Earache went a bit wrong in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, signed a load of techno artists and they did a compilation record called “Corporate Rock Wars” in 1995 and tried to tell us all that Misery Loves Co were an extreme metal band? There was a band with two tracks on that record called Scorn. They were an electronic duo and WaxWorm sound quite similar to them on ‘Eschaton’. This is not a bad thing, because Scorn were actually incredibly good, if painfully misunderstood by us metal kids at the time. ‘The Waif And Its Gun’ is much more dark ambient, sliding balefully into your subconscious and squatting there, laughing evilly while it beguiles you with images of just what horrors it plans on you perpetrating upon your significant other while you are under its control.
Vocals are sparingly employed throughout the album, most notably on ‘Raptus’ where the strained, emotional quality of the singing adds a dimension of raw emotion that can sometimes be missing from electronic industrial music and the whole song is a heart-ripping emotional hellride through your darkest fears and just why your significant other is lying silent in a pool of claret and you stand, mutely screaming with a bloodied knife in your red right hand and they are unmoving on the floor not answering your entreaties…
The record closes with ‘Klexos’, (otherwise known as the art of dwelling on the past and revisiting and reinterpreting memories the longer you look at them) which is a drippy, trippy piece of music that utilizes triphop beats and the kind of synth work that graces Trent Reznor’s less intense moments with Nine Inch Nails and is a fitting closer to the album, relaxing you down into a sense of deep dark melancholy as it fades away.
This is actually a damned fine record. It has moments of emotional power (‘Raptus’), complexity (the musicianship on the whole thing is fucking top notch, mixing synth with recordings of live instrumentation, and fucked up samples of everyday household items up to and including the kitchen sink a la Throbbing Gristle) and inventiveness (I hear bits of Whitehouse in the dissonance of power electronics, Suicide in the simplistic tempos which belie the complexity of the actual music, and Cabaret Voltaire in the emotional content of the record) and the occasional bout of Skinny Puppy-esque industrial power among the ambient grooves not unreminiscent of The Orb. A diverse set of influences, then, but ones that complement each other rather than clash. Machines and gears meshing in perfect harmony rather than the spatter of lead against armour plate.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System (g’day, Aussie fans) awards WaxWorm a stonking 9/10 for a fine, predominantly instrumental industrial album with plenty to keep the listener occupied. It has a mark deducted because it MAY be of limited interest to the metal fan, but it is still heavy enough to please the more exploratory heavy metal listener as far as I am concerned. I’ll be playing this record to death. It’s fucking brilliant.
01. Mutus Liber
04. The Waif And Its Gun
Arthur Brown – Fucking everything because he is a talented Australian bastard.
Duncan Evans – Fucking everything because he is a talented Yorkshire bastard.
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