Various Artists, Beast (Hospital Productions, 2002)
(Note: this review is from sometime in 2004)
Beast is about what you’d expect from a Hospital Productions release: it’s loud and ugly. Released in an edition of 500 (of which my copy is 363), packed in a cardboard box with an imitation fur lining, the disc itself is yellow and without detail.
Beast contains work from four bands. Macroprurient (a collaboration between Prurient and Macronympha) starts things off with the thirteen-and-a-half minute track “Bee+Urethra:Hive+Vulva.” While the sounds of each act can be discerned in the general maelstrom, the thick static wash of Macronympha often eclipses Prurient’s controlled feedback assault; there are times when Prurient’s contribution gets completely lost in the mix. Skin Crime comes next with “You’re a Fucking Pig.” My first exposure to Skin Crime (I know, I know…). Keeps the meters just as high as does Macroprurient, but softer somehow. The static seems less thick in a couple of registers. I actually had to turn the speakers up to catch everything that was going on (turning the speakers up during the Macroprurient track will blow them). There’s less variation here, less going on, but the track is almost a minute longer. Good for background material while you’re working. Stegm, who either missed the theme or are much sicker fetishists than the rest of these guys, contributes “Body Covered in Goat Shit” (take that as you will…), which is even longer (fifteen and a half minutes), but of the three long tracks that make up the bulk of the disc, it’s the most sonically interesting. Bounces back and forth between really dark, bubbly ambient and metallic clang/screech. There’s a lot going on here, all of it designed to make your ears hemorrhage. SICKNESS ends the disc with three shorter pieces. “Got Anything Good?” clocks in at just over a half-minute, and may be the quietest piece I’ve ever heard from SICKNESS; one feedback-ish tone with an underlying long sample that’s quite amusing, if you’ve got the right sense of humor. “Animal Farm” comes next, at six and a half minutes. It’s pretty obvious that of all the contributors, Chris is the one with the best-honed sense of irony… this one goes back and forth between a ping-pong-like high-register sound (imagine what a police siren would sound like if it were jacked about six octaves, sped up, and then beaten repeatedly against a sheet of rolled steel) and the usual SICKNESS sound, a mix of feedback, static, chaos, and pure, unrestrained brutality. The eight-minute “Doggy Style” closes out the disc, and I almost expected to hear Snoop Dogg samples in the mix. There’s something vocal going on here, but whether it’s samples, lyrics, Chris telling knock-knock jokes is impossible to discern. This is the closest to the sound found on the two SICKNESS albums I have; the chaos, relatively controlled on “Animal Farm,” bursts its bonds here and goes into the hyperkinetic mode of earlier tracks like “She’s Laughing at Me.” Quieter than his earlier work, but it’s still got that “if you try to dance to it, you’ll end up in the hospital” thing goin’ on.
A fun little disc, but if you have to choose, go for some of Prurient’s more recent work, or Sickness’ older work, or anything by Stegm; this one’s for the completists in the audience. ***