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Devilman Mat Colegate , November 21st, 2012 04:42

This one ought to write itself really. Hyper-prolific and hyperactive Shigeru Ishihara, best known for his work with Drum Eyes and under the name DJ Scotch Egg, teams up with some like-minded lovers of rasping noise and metallic clatter, including Bo Ningen's Taigen Kawabe on vocals, in order to fuse their take on audio violence to a migraine-inducing halfstep pulse. The fact that they've named themselves after a hyper-violent manga series only sweetens the deal, and ensures that anyone reviewing the album can pep up their scribblings by mentioning sentient tentacles and giant robot penises. A gift, then. And I went into this album, having also been impressed by Devilman live, with what I thought was pretty good idea of what it would sound like. All crunching static and metallic clangs. A group with a similar idea of dancefloor infection to that held by other converts to the gritty and brooding, such as Cloaks.

And for the first three tracks I was right. Metal is struck, gargantuan washes of noise vomit out of the speakers and the listener's top body twitches like a freshly severed hand. However, the album takes a marked twist into the perverse following the fourth track, 'Ross,' a hugely distorted organ fanfare that you can imagine accompanying a visit from some warlike, ten-mouthed intergalactic dignitary. 'Noise Step' is self-explanatory, but little can prepare for you for some of the gleefully skewed sonics belching from it. Occasionally sounds seems to get sucked back into the speakers, only to re-emerge as twisted mockeries of their former selves, like when that feller goes into the toxic waste in Robocop. 'Help me!', the sounds gargle, as they roam a dilapidated wasteland before getting pulped by speeding cars and showering the audio field with globbets of noise sputum.

Elsewhere there are hints of John Zorn-esque spazz-metal on '93', as well as a properly funny dip into ersatz Middle Eastern melody that gradually loops into and around itself before dissolving into hissing static. 'Nirvana Dub' is an odd concoction, being a pretty faithful, torn to shreds cover of Nirvana's 'Scentless Apprentice', but with Kurt's wounded moose self-concern replaced by a demonically possessed perversity. Imagine an eight year old taking your favourite vinyl copy of Nevermind and drawing a penis on the front cover, but this time on the baby's head. By the furrow browed lurch into radioactive wasteland that is 'Tunnel Dubs', you find yourself wondering how much more fun life would be if Skrillex sounded more like this. Less mannered and metallic, more straight-up mental. How awesome would it be if all the kiddies with brostep slopping out of their car speakers replaced it with Devilman, and watched in amazement as their Volkswagens transformed into giant war mechs bristling with mind-pulping sonic weaponry?

All of which leads naturally into the closing abomination that is 'Last Black Emperor', where the beat is completely stripped away leaving the kind of pure noise that wouldn't sound out of place on a Climax Denial or Werewolf Jerusalem album. It's painful at any volume and mesmerising, providing a fitting end to an album that seems less concerned with setting your body free than it is with enslaving your mind.