Nov 2013 11

Steel Hook Prostheses - The Empirics GuildSteel Hook Prostheses
Category: Power Noise
Album: The Empirics Guild
Stars: 3.5
Blurb: While most of the implicative themes centered on depravity, psychological anguish, and pessimism have already been delved into, it’s refreshing when an act facilitates the thought process rather than shoving it down the audience’s throat.


With most of the music available to us nowadays being heavily vocalized and linear, there’s rarely any room for interpretation, to let one’s imagination devise the current and lasting effect of a song or album. Everything is already contrived for us and we are told how it should make us feel. While, indeed, the experiences of this world are greatly subjective, very few artists make us remember that sentiment. The Empirics Guild is set apart from the rest, an album that taps into primitive fears in an advanced, highly electronic fashion. Taking it as far as bordering on nihilism and burrowing deep into demented psyches, this Texan duo reminds us that music can still be a very thought-provoking art form.

The low static and neutral piano progressively broken up by thunderous buzzing and submerged squeals in “Rendering Human Tallow” sufficiently foretells the pervasive themes of psychological battle and despair. The overwhelming sense of claustrophobia is explored in “Leprosaria Dross” while the unnerving moans and tranquil hopelessness in “Sadomedica” juxtapose it quite well. Perhaps the most unsettling track, “Debrided Necrotic Tissue” encloses listeners with a relentless assault of piercing white noise while the murmurs of a conflicted surgeon are heard amid the inherent dilemma. If there is any glimpse of hope one could deconstruct from the previous tracks, “Gula” crushes that notion, reassuring descent and steadily lowering listeners into an inescapable pit of suffering with its uniform maniacal throbs and unforgettable spirals of insanity.

With an album inundated with white noise, it’s difficult to forego the feeling of repetition, but the amount of obvious and subtle overlaying makes the somewhat comparable tracks “Emaciated Angel,” “Disfiguring Aesthetics,” and “Decrepit Hands Emerge” distinguishable and exist for their own reasons; much of the album can be interpreted as being a collection of conceptual pieces rather than one whole. The shrill multidimensional frequencies in the grainy “Scald” and the down-tempo contraption deployment in “Disease Incubator” add the much needed variety after some of the previous tracks. The frozen state of “Antiquus Morbus” playfully teetering on the threshold of Xotox like rhythmic noise almost leaves something to be desired and not desired at the same time.

The Empirics Guild is good, but understandably, not for everyone. It has its own respective time and place because of the emotionally exhaustive nature of most of the tracks. The attention to detail, unique overlaying techniques, and prevalent horror conveyed with intermittent static, harsh frequencies and obscured vocals are all valid reasons for giving this release a much needed listen.
Track list:

  1. Rendering Human Tallow
  2. Leprosaria Dross
  3. Sadomedica
  4. Debrided Necrotic Tissue
  5. Gula
  6. Emaciated Angel
  7. Disfiguring Aesthetics
  8. Decrepit Hands Emerge
  9. Scald
  10. Disease Incubator
  11. The Blood Cough
  12. Antiquus Morbus

Steel Hook Prostheses Website
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Steel Hook Prostheses ReverbNation
Steel Hook Prostheses Bandcamp
Malignant Records Website
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Purchase at:
Amazon CD
Amazon MP3
Zachary Locke (ZLocke)

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