Dead Fader :: Blood Forest / Scorched (Robot Elephant / Small But Hard)

Since that exhilarating 4-track release the producer behind the moniker (John Cohen) has been a bit busy. Two full length albums released simultaneously across two imprints.

Dead Fader’s last EP Work it, No was a distorted icy blast of bass fueled mayhem that swept through the damp and mildew stained labyrinthine catacombs of dubstep and its neighboring genres like a scirroco of realness. Since that exhilarating 4-track release the producer behind the moniker (John Cohen) has been a bit busy. Two full length albums released simultaneously across two imprints. On top of that a single with two non-album tracks released prior to the albums.

Scorched, released on Small But Hard takes the distorted disregard for human eardrums that was so prevalent in “Work It, No” to a slightly more introspective place. The abrasiveness and sonic complexity is there still, but also present is a darker psychological edge. Not always easy to listen to, sometimes bordering on the oppressive, this body of work takes drums and bass, and for that matter all sections of the sonic spectrum, distorts them, twists them and forms them into an audio hammer and proceeds to beat you about the head and body in a relentless manner. The opening track “Creeeeep” is a hell of an opening statement, with a screaming high pitched assault and hard as nails drums. This pretty much sets the standard for the rest of the album. There is no let up in the onslaught, the album lurches from dark noisy terror to in your face aggression with a staggering intensity. For someone who grew up listening to punk and hardcore and the associated genres this is really great stuff. It’s fantastic to hear electronic music that shares the intensity and anger of what was so exciting for me as a teenager in the music that I listened to. A lot of people won’t really get it, and won’t have the stomach for it, but sometimes that’s just what you want in your music. This is not something you would easily share with the mainstream of people, your Gran for example would almost certainly curl into a protective ball and wait for the end of the world to come crashing about her. And good is what I say, this music is for us, the ones who look to the edges of things, all parts of the human condition should be represented in music, and Dead Fader taps into the raw energy of anger, torment and sullen introspection.

Blood Forest takes the Dead Fader juggernaut to a slightly less caustic place. More atmospheric and even ethereal in places. There is still plenty of menace though, don’t think this is some gentle antidote to the rawness of Scorched, there is still bucket-loads of sinister foreboding wrapped up in these sweeping textures, and the drum work keeps everything moving along with a sense of purpose. I can’t help being reminded of the epic Scorn sound of the early part of the first decade of this millennium, which is needless to say praise indeed; full of complex textures and really heavy despite the more soundscape feel.

I have to say that I miss the vocal collaboration aspect that was in the previous EP. The addition of a vocal was something that for me really worked well, and I would love to hear some more exploration of this. But then, I’ve always been a fan of weird edge dwelling Hip Hop. That said, this is a towering pair of releases. Well done sir!

Blood Forest and Scorched are available on Robot Elephant and Small But Hard, respectively.

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