Vessel – Punish, Honey
An album that begins with 12 seconds of almost unbearably tense silence, clashing, arrhythmic drum hits, drilling, and industrial noise will inevitably be called uncompromising, but Vessel's austere, often challenging Punish, Honey is also sensual. The feral pounding of Red Sex, with its sinuously pitch-bent sirens, is redolent of a snake charmer's dance. Drowned In Water and Light slowly unfolds graceful, funereal synths and warped tones, like a moth unfurling new wings.
There is ferocity in Euoi, and the cacophonous climax of Akin to Coal; Anima's urgent, complex techno is buried under a VHS haze, de-rezzed to perfection. DPM's rattling, over-clocked electro leaves you gasping for more, while Black Leaves and Fallen Branches powerfully evokes its title, like a graveside snapshot. Vessel's second full-length album once again showcases his masterful sound design, but where Order of Noise was guided by dub and techno, this feels like new ground being broken. [Bram E. Gieben]