Music generally is designed to make you feel something, be that anger or joy or sadness or any number of emotions. Unless we’re talking about pop country. I don’t think you’re supposed to feel anything when that stuff is on. Oh, but back to real music. Let’s also not forget discomfort and outright fear, where only the best can truly conjure in one’s soul.
Japanese noise nightmares Endon could scar a child for life. They might even have the same effect on an adult. The band’s self-coined “catastrophic noise-metal” easily could eat away at your mind or even your patience. Over the course of their time together, they have made some of the most uncomfortable, inhumane sounds known to humankind, and they’ve returned with “Through the Mirror,” a record that won’t be easy for anyone to digest, no matter how amendable your psyche is to this kind of sound. The band—Etsuo Nagura, Koki Miyabe, Shin Yokota, Taichi Nagura, Taro Aiko—made their mark with unreal 2014 debut “Mama,” and their terrifying live shows (including Taichi scaring the living shit out of audience members) became something to behold. On this new record, we get eight cuts that are grimy, bizarre, abrasive, and psychologically scarring. It also should be noted this record is being released by Hydra Head, the legendary, recently reactivated label whose first fresh release back was the insane new Oxbow album. Pretty damn great 1-2 punch.
The record begins with “Nerve Rain,” a hazy, disorienting track where fuzz and sound blitz the entire time. The pace and the buried melody change here and there, but for the most part, it’s an all-out assault on the senses that feels like you’re stuck in the middle on an old television that constantly broadcasts snow. “Your Ghost Is Dead” really picks up on the nerve-gnawing end of things. The track rumbles open, while Taichi crazily wails and sometimes inconsolably whimpers through the chaos. There are sections that feel like damaged hardcore, as the pained wails shower the ground, while everything keeps piling up, leading to a teeth-grinding finish. “Born in Limbo” has an industrial storm ripping apart, while whispers turn into frenzied shrieks and, later, unnerving laughter. Heavy breathing and noise-drenched fury sprawls, while some classic-style guitar work blazes and adds a different element. “Pensum” splits your head open, as savage growls and bloody shrieks combine, and complete sonic overload takes place, pushing you face-first into a panic attack.
“Postsex” has sounds hanging in the air, when suddenly, the track launches into cartoon-style violence. Gruff growls and a drubbing pace do their damage, while the back end of the song deals some sludge, with noise spitting as the cut’s conclusion. “Perversion Til Death” is a 10:04 physical and mental challenge, dragging you through weird, dizzying playing, an ample serving of vocals styles, from screams to howls, and a doom-infested mud that serves most of the bodily harm. The track crawls and hulks along, instilling fear into every cell, and pushing your prone body toward utter decimation. The title track unloads feedback, but then a proggy display that feels out of sorts. Melodies bubble up and threaten to burst, while the scraping noise pounds away, space keys blare, and screams and hyperventilation-style gasps meet up with warped passages. Closer “Torch Your House” actually has a chilling start before the blaze is set. An outright assault paces most of this 8:52 run time. The cut also is flooded with emotions—name one, and you’ll find it here—while later, the music goes into a dream state, numbing your body with cool breeze. But that’s not for long as the tempo ignites again, and the band finishes off this display with scorching thrashing that powders any bones it left unbroken.
“Through the Mirror” is a complete nightmare of a record, which really should be expected from Endon. There are very few musicians who can get under your skin and scrape out your blood quite the way they do, and anyone not expecting such carnage is bound to be left a heaping, heaving mess. You’ve been warned, so when this record turns your stomach and your sanity, you’ll have no one to blame but yourself.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/tokyodionysos/
To buy the album (North America), go here: https://hydrahead.merchtable.com
Or here (Europe): http://eu.kingsroadmerch.com/hydra-head-records/
For more on the label, go here: http://www.hydrahead.com/