9/10 Brian Staff review, 18 October 2013
Don't know why I grabbed the latest transmission from uber-dark noise puppy Dominick Fearn Cotton? NO! His general "furious hamster" demeanour and perpetual exploration of the darker side of life often leaves me feeling fairly bleaked out if I'm of a fragile state of mind, ie. most Autumn mornings.
As it happens I'm erring on the perky 'n' pozzy side today, probably as I've not been wasting my life on Facebook or reading the world's media-rroeah for days, so yeah, I'm totally ready for this cheerily titled full-length proper from Happy Dom. Bring it on. Yes mate, I recall many a black day indeed - thanks for ensuring I don't get complacent! Will this eight-strong intensive course of sinister girl-infuriating techno assist me in my recollection of all the hideous atrocities committed in the Middle East? Let's have a listen shall we kids?
Unlike the sparse, mechanical dread of Cut Hands' forays into more clattering technoid mainframes, this eardrum-distress-er extraordinaire has constructed some simultaneously belting and understated pieces here. His other Vatican Shadow collections were compilations and re-issues of limited cassettes so didn't qualify as regular artist albums in that this offering was conceived as a complete project and sounds like a thoroughly realised and coherent work. Also, those previous vinyl-only terrorizers were dingier and more rudimentary efforts that didn't easily betray his background in more extreme sonic realms. You could have read all that, much better phrased, in the press release.
The melodic nous, deep cerebral rhythms, shifting cosmic synthesis and sublime reflective moods here, however austere the feelings they represent, certainly do, For around half the tracks I cannot believe this is the same man whose tortured black heart created such aural genocide in the past. Just proves that the figureheads involved in the realms of noise know a hell of a lot more about actual music making than many so-called musicians.
OK, a quick run-through - 'Circumstances Quickly Became Questioned' is a brief stalker with a building hollowed-out dystopian synth with murky samples. the first full track being 'Tonight Saddam Walks Amidst Ruins' which has a tentative, maudlin stumbler of a beat and various grainy, eerie synth-lines that creep in and out of the dark ambient mix. It's a very stoic travelogue of a tune that I find truly affecting.
The subsequent 'Muscle Hijacker Tribal Affiliation' brandishes a detached, echoing industrial clang for a beat, soon giving room to this mad squelchy acid wormhole synth which in turn welcomes in a beautiful ascending seductive motif - I'm a-dreaming SAW2, creepy-style!
'Contractor Corpses Hung Over The Euphrates River' is a typically grim title and features a skittery Ancient Methods percussive vibe, all dirty distorted 'n' disembodied. This is cleverly juxtaposed with sublime, intoxicating cosmic synth work, real hazy, amorphous and evocative. Said track is easily my favourite on the album being all slippery, dark and propulsive with real floor-destroying potential for a backroom DJ set .
'Enter Paradise' has parallels with the more recent Prurient gear, tossing together a stark fluttering kick-drum, a decaying loop of gothic guitar and some metallic percussion all beautifully hung together with a gentle bubbling groove. It begins to morph into something akin to Andy Stott towards the end and is quite a cracking piece, all said.
The title track is the last number I'm prepared to witter on about as this review is turning into fucking 'Ulysses'. Here his ideas strongly recall Polygon Window/ABB4-era AFX considering the hypnotic hard tribal beat and these just-out-of-reach melodic trails which implore you to embrace your inner-melancholy..Best thing our favourite grumpy misanthropist fuck has ever turned out by a mile is 'RYBD' and consequently the latest in a formidable back catalogue on his own Hospital Productions.
Overall I've consumed some extremely satisfying and accomplished techno here, both mind-food and sweat pit shades alike...
7/10 jeroen Customer review, 20th November 2013
So when is Hospital, boomkat, Modern Love or Blackest Ever Black going to reissue the Sisterhood album as Vatican Shadow is been copying that record for some time now.
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