Skullflower/Mastery - Skullflower / Mastery
Black Metal, Noise Yesterday, I did a review of a harsh noise and metal project. Today, I suppose I'm in the mood to continue fucking up my hearing senses, as I'm going after another release that came out in 2013 on the ever influential Cold Spring. And I have the pleasure of storming the fields of Matthew Bower's main project Skullflower, as well as black metal aficionado Emphemeral Domignostika of Mastery.

As you can imagine, this is one of those split releases where both artists aim to just create the best gutter noise the world has ever seen, and, as such, there is a limited audience in this field. Not many people are willing to listen to what sounds like a train wreck, but we can find beauty in the chaos in some shape or form.

Skullflower takes up the first three tracks on the album, and Mastery takes over for the last one. Where Mastery lacks in numbers, he certainly makes up for in length; the one and only song he contributed to the album runs on for about seventeen minutes and forty seconds, while each of Skullflower's pieces run for nine minutes or less each. But, it's more about quality over quantity, and with that said, let's dive into this music.

Skullflower's section is pretty decent. Still using his trademark of traditional rock instruments along side tapes and synths, Wolf Age starts off the album. The notes drag, and it has some elements of drone in there, as well, with the notes dragging on for some decent lengths. It was mainly low pitched, and held over pretty well. Red Crystal Serpent had elements of the dark ambient nature within it, and the higher pitched notes within the background honestly didn't bother me all too much. Shocking it may be, but the rest of the noise over powered it, so it didn't really irk my in the wrong way. Black Sunshine sounds like it had the elements of a standard metal song covered by static and a lot of other noise. Sometimes, it sounds like there are children crying for help within the song. It was pretty decent.

And then we get to the fourth song, Mastery's contribution, and this is where pure black metal is heard in its full form. Starting off with complete thrash metal form with poor quality just makes this guy's music work. After about six minutes of what should have been one complete thrash metal song, we're given a bit of a time out. We're given a very light strumming, with a drum in the background that continues to go on before we're thrust back into the thick of things a minute later. And, from there on out, we're brutalized by more heavy guitars and screaming. I enjoyed the song, but felt as if it sometimes dragged on for too long. By the fourteen minute mark, I was kinda bored of it and wanted it to be over. And even the change of pace near the end of the song didn't help much at all.

However, noise is noise, and there sure was a hell of a lot of good noise on this release. I always found it to be meditative to just sit back and listen to this kind of music; to listen to such chaos and find peace is quite ironic, but somehow it works. Skullflower and Mastery have both brought upon a good split that deserves recognition here and there, but not universal appraisal. Still, I think I'll come back to this release just in case I'm ever looking for some noise to make me relax.
4
Brutal Resonance

Skullflower/Mastery - Skullflower / Mastery

7.0
"Good"
N/A
Electroracle
Spotify
Released 2013 by Cold Spring
Yesterday, I did a review of a harsh noise and metal project. Today, I suppose I'm in the mood to continue fucking up my hearing senses, as I'm going after another release that came out in 2013 on the ever influential Cold Spring. And I have the pleasure of storming the fields of Matthew Bower's main project Skullflower, as well as black metal aficionado Emphemeral Domignostika of Mastery.

As you can imagine, this is one of those split releases where both artists aim to just create the best gutter noise the world has ever seen, and, as such, there is a limited audience in this field. Not many people are willing to listen to what sounds like a train wreck, but we can find beauty in the chaos in some shape or form.

Skullflower takes up the first three tracks on the album, and Mastery takes over for the last one. Where Mastery lacks in numbers, he certainly makes up for in length; the one and only song he contributed to the album runs on for about seventeen minutes and forty seconds, while each of Skullflower's pieces run for nine minutes or less each. But, it's more about quality over quantity, and with that said, let's dive into this music.

Skullflower's section is pretty decent. Still using his trademark of traditional rock instruments along side tapes and synths, Wolf Age starts off the album. The notes drag, and it has some elements of drone in there, as well, with the notes dragging on for some decent lengths. It was mainly low pitched, and held over pretty well. Red Crystal Serpent had elements of the dark ambient nature within it, and the higher pitched notes within the background honestly didn't bother me all too much. Shocking it may be, but the rest of the noise over powered it, so it didn't really irk my in the wrong way. Black Sunshine sounds like it had the elements of a standard metal song covered by static and a lot of other noise. Sometimes, it sounds like there are children crying for help within the song. It was pretty decent.

And then we get to the fourth song, Mastery's contribution, and this is where pure black metal is heard in its full form. Starting off with complete thrash metal form with poor quality just makes this guy's music work. After about six minutes of what should have been one complete thrash metal song, we're given a bit of a time out. We're given a very light strumming, with a drum in the background that continues to go on before we're thrust back into the thick of things a minute later. And, from there on out, we're brutalized by more heavy guitars and screaming. I enjoyed the song, but felt as if it sometimes dragged on for too long. By the fourteen minute mark, I was kinda bored of it and wanted it to be over. And even the change of pace near the end of the song didn't help much at all.

However, noise is noise, and there sure was a hell of a lot of good noise on this release. I always found it to be meditative to just sit back and listen to this kind of music; to listen to such chaos and find peace is quite ironic, but somehow it works. Skullflower and Mastery have both brought upon a good split that deserves recognition here and there, but not universal appraisal. Still, I think I'll come back to this release just in case I'm ever looking for some noise to make me relax. Apr 09 2014

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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