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Sword Heaven, "Entrance"

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cover imageTake equal parts scummy sludge rock, power electronics, and free jazz and mix them together, and you'll get a loud obnoxious mess.  Which is exactly what this album is, and there couldn't be a better compliment for it.



The first few seconds of "Town Hag" (previously available on a split 7") set the mood for the remainder of this disc:  distorted screams, oodles of feedback and electronics, and a caveman percussion section that sounds like the earliest, most dissonant Swans tracks taken to the most extreme end, while still retaining a vestige of "music" somewhere in the chaos.  The pummeling beat never relents, the disembodied shrieks continue and the feedback only becomes more shrill and painful throughout its (thankfully) short duration.

The two "long" tracks are no less messy and slimy, but also never wear out their welcome or slide into the abyss of boredom.  "Skinned and Glued" meshes more blatant live tribalesque drums (think early Killing Joke) with the screams and feedback, but also some horns as well.  This configuration, with the horn skronking clearly in the front of the mix, draws it more along the lines of the most dissonant free jazz ever, the unholy love-child of a three way involving Peter Brotzmann, Ornette Coleman, and the Incapacitants.  "Faceless Nameless" also features Mark Van Fleet's horns as well, but in a more restrained fashion.  Sputtering tape fragments and a dead slow, pounding percussion that makes even the likes of Khanate seem almost like Slayer, actually make for a track that feels musical in structure at least, if not the approach.

"Sights Not Long Gone," the remaining track on this disc, is another scream fest, the shrieks and yells completely unintelligible, yet are the main focal point of the mix.  There's also a bizarre synth loop here and there, and a drum track that resembles a sniper firing at the listener from some unidentifiable dark corner in the distance.  Considering these tracks are all based on live recordings, the attention to structure and detail amid the chaos is amazing. 

Entrance is definitely not easy listening or subtle in any way.  It is grating, it is harsh, and it is angry and violent.  And those reasons are why it succeeds on so many levels.




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