“Abandon all sanity all ye who dare to listen here”, as if SHP were ever going to fall short of disturbing and magnificent (?), but do not let it be unsaid that The Empirics Guild does indeed set the standard for depravity and sonic craftsmanship substantially higher with this release so other analogue sound wave artists and psychotic sadists/masochists with a penchant for venting via sound consider yourselves served. Rarely does the neural massaging hum of distortion collage with the derelict cyborg mutations of human upon human committed atrocities yield something as enticing and soothing, as it is horrifying. Just listen to the female moans in “Sadomedica” amidst the crackling hisses and jarbled male voice and try not to think sexual sadist, stranger on stranger murder, and possibly even “Oh shit!!!! Could that actually be real?”

And if that doesn’t cause you to soil yourself and you do actually manage to make it through the labyrinths of mental Hell to that final edge of sanity, “Antiquus Morbus”, then be prepared for an un-anaesthetized lobotomy. “Antiquus Morbus” is a song in which I find my mind first drifting into its psychotic oblivion of cosmic synth hums and wooshes, and then am suddenly ambushed with sadistic murderous lamentations and ramblings that emerge from beneath the dirge of static and honestly could make me shit myself if caught by surprise. DO NOT play this album around small children, the mentally ill, people under the influence of any mind altering drug, or anyone with a deep rooted sense of unease when it comes to human depravity (even if it clouds realistic torture and terrorization of humans in a plume of whirring hissing electronic effects).

There are actually some moments on this album that even give me the heebie jeebies thus rendering me proud to openly admit this and warn you as well as bait your inner sadist with The Empirics Guild, an album that is literally one of those things that you “…can’t let (it) get into your head…” because it WILL fuck with your mind and compel your body to physiologically react in ways that are beyond your conscious ability to control. But with all of the freaky stuff said it can be fairly difficult to deny the moments where SHP also bring me into a meditative state of relaxation and drifting celestial drifting not too far removed from label mates Phelios on “Disease Incubator”, making these moments a bit analogous to the anesthesia that wears off during the gruesome procedure.

At so many places along the listen it’s so hard to not find oneself caught between a love of well crafted soft electronic landscapes and then suddenly come across what to my ears sounds like a psychedelic power electronic muffling of actual murder chamber field recordings, and even a Darth Vader vocal bit makes a few appearances. And with SHP you know that the experience will always deliver a thrill, but here they really have woven dark ambient and power electronics in a way that is somehow fresh like the victim’s screams and cadaver flesh from within these 12 hymns of horror.

Those already initiated to Steel Hook Prostheses, Yen Pox, and Navicon Torture Technologies will undoubtedly achieve a crazy high from The Empirics Guild.

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