Tuesday, June 4, 2013

REVIEW: TRAPPED WITHIN BURNING MACHINERY - THE PUTRID STENCH OF DECAYING SELF


Okay, so the band name doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, and I was mostly expecting some harsh industrial music, just because I’m a dope and the word “Machinery” is in it. If someone played this album for me and asked me to guess a band name based on the music I would blurt out, “Rotting Lamentation.” As you can see, there’s a reason nobody comes to me to name bands anymore. My last suggestion was Nuncuddle.

Trapped Within Burning Machinery play dense, somber music that incorporates equal parts blackened doom, trudging death, and the most sluggish sludge. Honestly, I didn’t expect so much melody and so many gentle moments from an album with both “stench” and “decaying” in the title. As you can see, I judge books by their covers like it’s my god damn job, because it occasionally is. This is one instance where the element of surprise was very appreciated by this dreary reviewer. I’m not sure if they have bogs in Moreno Valley, CA, but this music feels like it rose from the muck of a long-forgotten cemetery that sunk into swamplands long ago, and these songs are the spirits clawing their way through the moss and algae. It’s powerful stuff, in turns heavy and harmonious, all driven by an enormous wall of darkened guitar fuzz and the strangled, chilling scream of Zak Esparza.

“Parasitic Mind Decomposition” actually alarmed me a bit, as I had a friend overcome brain surgery following an infestation of pork parasites in his brain. It’s one of those insane ultra-metal moments that thankfully had the happiest ending possible with his recovery, and now finally (thanks to this band) has an official soundtrack. “Smoldering Enclave” features thick, meaty riffs that remind me of Pungent Stench’s best work on For God Your Soul, For Me Your Flesh before quieting the assault to a whisper during a disarmingly soft interlude. “Industrial Snuff,” besides being an awesome title that Shin'ya Tsukamoto should totally steal for another Tetsuo film, was my favorite track on the album. It grooves like Eyehategod’s bluesy sludge but if you pick the crusty scab there’s still the black blood beneath and the core of tortured doom. Still, there are moments of light on this album and it’s a fully textured emotional experience. The music may sound like it’s from some godless swamp filled with the bones of massacred families, but it’s also surrounded by lovely apple blossoms, if you make it out of the swamp alive.

There are a few passages that didn’t fully engage me (“Plague of Aeon’s” and “Violent Veins” both tested my patience at times), but The Putrid Stench of Decaying Self is still a tremendous album. If you like earthy doom like Usnea that can block out the sun and cover the world with darkness this is most certainly for you. Just leave yourself a breadcrumb trail if you venture into this bog, you may not make it out again to offer more crappy band name suggestions like I did.

Listen to The Putrid Stench of Decaying Self over on Bandcamp, available for download and CD purchase for a modest $5:  http://trappedwithinburningmachinery.bandcamp.com

And follow them on Facebook, where I learned they are headed to the studio to make more music to hurt our feelings:  https://www.facebook.com/trappedwithinburningmachinery

Also, hat tip to my friend Ellie for pointing me towards this album. She makes beautiful metal vests and could probably sell them for $500 each if any rich kids wanna go see Coffinworm and look troo. I hope to showcase her art on here at some point, she’s vastly talented and recently had a (temporary) Iron Lung tattoo across her knuckles. Bad ass.

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