Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Chord — Chord IV
(Bandcamp Punos Music no#, 2021, CD / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2021-09-24
On the planet of absolute free-metal, Chord is the king. The collaborations between the duo of Nick Didkovsky (Doctor Nerve, Zinc None Psychedelic, Vomit Fist, and numerous other endeavors) and Tom Marsan have been going on for a few years now, each new iteration more interesting than the one that preceeded it, with their instrumentation consisting only of electric guitars, heavy amp distortion, feedback, tone shaping effects, and even more distorion, creating a powerful stew of brutal textural sonic artifacts that will incinerate the listener’s brain and leave them wondering what just happened. At its most extreme, taken from the listener perspective it can be quite punishing and chaotic, but certainly immersive on numerous levels. There is little or no rhythm to speak of, the intense guitar triggered distortion just happens, shooting off blast fragments in every direction, and although one can sometimes hear the notes and chords being played under it all, the resulting mayhem is rarely recognizable as such, as the tense artifacts and dissonant feedback play a greater role in their sound than the underlying instrumentation. So, yeah, this is mighty noisy stuff, but how does a listener best enjoy what the duo serves up? Just dive into the cauldron of noise all at once, let it overtake you, and savor the pain. One can just imagine the fuses blowing and resistors smoking inside the stacks of Marshalls while the feedback howls on amid the gritty slabs of epic distortion. As with all of its predecessors, the recordings here were made live in real time, with no overdubs. The opener ,“Half Life,” sets the stage with jangly noise and howling blasts of feedback, “Death Spiral” imparts a massive pyroclastic flow that lasts for nearly eleven minutes, and the album-side-length closer “Rise” builds slowly but pushes all the limits over its extended duration. In between those three we have “August” and “At an End,” two shorter, two to three minute pieces offering a bit of repose while waiting for the next onslaught. Setting itself apart from the three earlier chord releases, which were effectively EPs, Chord IV almost reaches the forty minute mark, by which time the listener is stunned and speechless.
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