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Gridfailure: Hostile Alchemy

Those of you who have been regular readers of Sea of Tranquility have no doubt seen our reviews of the act known as Gridfailure, which is the alter-ego of Earsplit Compound's Dave Brenner. Hostile Alchemy is Brenner's latest release of his nightmarish musical visions, nine tracks of intriguing sound collages fueled by the chaos of the 2016 presidential election campaign. As we've seen on previous releases, Brenner's dense, suffocating arrangements utilizing anything & everything at his disposal and permeated with odd vocalizations is once again on display, making Hostile Alchemy truly something that you'll be hard pressed to classify. It ain't metal, certainly not punk or hardcore, far from prog, and the truth is, it's probably TOO avant-garde for avant-garde! However, that inability to pigeon hole Gridfailure is what makes this miasma of noise all the more intriguing. Much of what appears on Hostile Alchemy is less caustic that what we last heard on Further Layers Of Societal Collapse, Brenner seemingly pulled more into deep, introspective, and disturbed thoughts brought on by the comical political nonsense we have recently been experiencing rather than pure rage. As such these tracks contain more atmosphere, more chilling yet restrained menace than we've seen before. "Mannequins" and "Kompromat" are perfect examples of this, tunes rich with layers and textures yet filled with dissonant edges and nary a catchy melody to be found anywhere. The blips, bleats, and static of "Surrogates" is a perfect example of how all the political mumbo-jumbo probably comes across to most folks (job well done Mr. Brenner!), while the terror inducing "EMP ASAP" is one of the albums few moments that allows the listener to travel to deep dark, and lonely space...scream all you want, there's no one to hear you. After the menace of "Scourge Telepathy" comes the haunting title track, easily the most terrifying track Gridfailure has released to date. Just close your eyes, and picture yourself in a dark, deserted old mansion, except for the fact that the house isn't completely uninhabited, the ghosts of generations past still keeping their vigil, and images & sounds of their lives flashing through your brain. It's scary stuff, quite effective, and you'll be left wondering why Brenner has yet to be discovered as the next great soundtrack composer to modern horror films.

There are also a host of guests appearing on the album, including Leila Abdul-Rauf (Vastum, Ionophore, Cardinal Wyrm), Faith Ciavarella, Mark Deutrom (Bellringer, ex-Melvins), Jeff Wilson (Wolvhammer, Abigail Williams, Chrome Waves), Pete Tsakiris, Benjamin Levitt (Megalophobe), Christian Molenaar (Those Darn Gnomes), Alexei Korolev (The Company Corvette), and more, so Brenner isn't alone this time around, allowing for greater flavors to permeate his compositions thanks to the myriad of guests. As I've said before, the 'music' of Gridfailure certainly isn't going to be for everyone, but there's just something about this cornucopia of noise that's immediately fascinating and mind altering, ultimately making it impossible to ignore or resist. Take the journey...I dare you.

Track Listing
1. Unveiled Abyss 02:00
2. Target Rich Environment 04:59
3. Kompromat 06:00
4. Mannequins 04:59
5. Surrogates 04:00
6. EMP ASAP 02:00
7. Scourge Telepathy 05:02
8. Hostile Alchemist 06:00
9. Fallout Curtain 02:00

Added: March 4th 2017
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Artist Facebook Page
Hits: 1064
Language: english

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