15. Author & Punisher - Women & Children
Back in the late 80's, a band from England called Godflesh embarked on the ambitious mission of creating a musical reflection of human alienation by modern society. On their cult debut Streetcleaner
, they created a whole new genre of metal, some kind of very harsh industrial metal, with their pounding drum machine, their downtuned guitars and their yelled vocals.
Almost a quarter of a century later, someone named Tristan Shone took back Godflesh's torch under the name of Author & Punisher, bringing the concept into further extremity. His game is quite unique. He processes his anguished vocals with diverse self-made devices, and he actually makes his music with the digitally processed sound of various machines he built, plus one synthesizer. With his "instruments", he masterfully manages to create a low-frequency-saturated world of electric screeching, brain-thumping recurrent hammering, claustrophobic rooms walled with dense noise and haunted by tormented and/or tormenting voices.
Author & Punisher can't really be considered as metal, but it's heavier and noisier than most of the metal bands I have heard recently. Some of the stuff on Women & Children
is really scary.
What makes this album even more breathtaking is the creativity and non-linearity: it goes from crushing industrialism, to liquefied drones, to piano-led introspection (see "Pain Myself"), while always staying coherent and consistent. When it goes softer, it always keeps at least some deranging artificial noise crawling under the keyboard. The Godflesh reference I used in my introduction, was far from describing the depth of this project. Also, the build-ups in songs like "Tame As a Lion" are just plain delicious, with more and more layers of noise being added, becoming almost suffocating towards the end.
This is one of the albums that hit me the hardest this year.
Women & Children