“Contrachristian” begins with a screeching power electronic intro that develops into a subway moving into a tunnel before erupting into a submerged clanking and crackling underneath wafts of electronic drone. The drone helps to soften the shrillness of the scraping, and the bass tones rumble underneath the surfaces to the point where they are merely felt and not so much as heard. Then the whole thing comes to a screeching halt, literally, as this piercing alarm/siren sound takes over and scares the shit out of my cats. So at this point I’m thinking power electronics, death industrial, noise, avant-garde, and then the song erupts into a gloomy treble drenched black metal fit. The vocals are really grueling and tortured and the rhythm is a clunky drum machine, out of time, but the way the angular disharmony of the guitar compliments the vocal agony and the way the song plays out as an improv sort of expenditure I find that it all works, and maybe a little too well (sorry for those who think technicality is key to perfection).
“Once Upon a Forest” begins with a melancholy almost post punk/goth sort of guitar melody backed by a rickety drum machine ticking and clicking, then as a minute or two go by there’s a thickening in the sound slightly and then an abrupt change to atmospheric, muddy, clanking avant-black metal. I think this is the moment where we leave the sensuality of the drunken self-medicating melodic haze and are thrown into the anguish of a solid clanking angular cacophony of beauty and ugliness that intensifies its grief as a flute sound comes out of the crimson abyss like a soothing siren.
Carrying the album from postpunk/shoe-gaze/goth territory into “Sounds of Memories” by virtue of a hissing synth wall, out from beneath of which drifts an 80’s darkwave, early trance, synth melody with a slight symphonic pull. After a brief build up of luscious synth cascades a drum machine pulse of rhythm begins to pump a bit and the cinematic climax of hypnotic dark wave melody reaches an apex. It’s almost like a Harmonia, Eroc, Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schultz type of feel that is added to this record, and really sets the mood as drifting in and out of consciousness.
“Anchors” returns us to the first side of the album where a depressive and chaotic emotional combustion of industrialized and atmospheric black metal dominates. Now we’re in raspy nasal black metal mode, full on treble saturation and dissonant tones, but the post punk/goth melancholy is still prevalent in the rhythm of the song and the way the layers are mixed. The guitars hiss and wail in the middle of the mix, while the tinny, virtually baseless drums are in the front of the mix, and the vocals, as I like them for this style, are in the back.The overall atmosphere is that of a frustrating sadness from entrapment, possibly emotional and introspective, possibly something external. The guitar(s), when fired up sound out-of-tune and as if all of the notes played are also flattened for the depressed effect that they give.
This is the first full length, double sided LP that Prison Tatt has released to this date. The feelings were that the six songs belong as collection rather than individual EPs, and I agree wholly with that decision. The two sides are different, with the second one showing more of the melodic and post punk/goth/shoegaze leanings whilst the first side is experimental black metal fusion with death industrial, dark ambient, and power electronics. Fans of Deathstench, Moloch, Dhampyr, Circle of Ouroborous, Hateful Abandon, Toil, Wormsblood, Benighted in Sodom, early Bethlehem will want to check this out and put Tomhet on their radar.