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Tetsuoshima – My Overwhelming Sense of Self-Worth


Never were the tags for a release on Bandcamp more appropriate than with the most recent addition to Nick Wetzel’s noisegrind project, Tetsuoshima. Featuring such words as, “despair”, “horror”, and “unsettling”. It certainly does fit the bill with soft ambient drone shoved up against intense distorted screaming and blast beats. It’s the musical version of all the emotions that come with getting into street fights.

The first note hits with the same force as a face against the curb. Teeth are shattered, a few missing. Blood pools onto the sidewalk with the knowledge that they won’t be able to chew solid food if they want to pay rent this month. The vocals are a distorted wall of noise, swirling together with the drum machine and strings. All of it is one great chaotic maw ready to rip and tear anything in its path. And then, after 12 seconds, the swirling maelstrom is gone. In its place, almost nothing.

A steady on-off pattern buzzes over everything. It could simply be something’s pulse, but it must be something inhuman. The buzzing is much too alien to be that of a man. It has a menace that provokes deep paranoia and fear. It’s as if a beast is opening its jaw to you, showing massive yellowing fangs. You know that your time has come, soon to be a ball of flesh and bone dissolving in its stomach. Environmental sounds like a drum set clattering, quiet whispers, and what might be footsteps only heighten this feeling. A slow and creeping unease builds, first in the bottom of your stomach, rising through your chest and into your brain. It’s infectiously hypnotic, almost trancelike. The transition back to the gaping maw sneaks up on the listener. The monster has caught its prey and now it is time to feast. Never has a song given the impression of being consumed like this. A low growl replaces the screeching at points, the guitars turn sludgy, all while the low buzzing keeps pulsing on and off. You will die in the pit of its stomach, and there is no escape now. You’ve passed the teeth, coming down the esophagus into your tomb. Waves of wet static feedback eat away at the track like acid on flesh, corrupting it into a malicious new sound. It builds to this remarkable fever pitch of fear and destruction, and then, as suddenly as it started, it’s gone.

Even in the crushing genre of noisegrind it is difficult to find something this oppressive. Using a wide dynamic range, it produces a feeling of sheer terror not very often heard. A deft hand was used in crafting this soundscape. Not be very conventional, and thus certainly worth a listen for the exploratory ear.

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