Wolf Eyes: Burned Mind

It's been said that Wolf Eyes fans rarely listen to the Wolf Eyes albums. I don't remember where I read/heard that, perhaps I made it up, but I can understand it. Their brand of homemade power electronics and noxious noise-fuckery has all the subtlety of a chemical burn and doesn't exactly lend itself to repeated listens, especially this album, their arguably harshest and most claustrophobic.

The album's opener, "Dead In A Boat", starts out with about a minute of silence before jolting the listener with some Merzbowian white noise and squeaking feedback; an ominous start and one sure to surprise the poor soul who cranked the volume wondering where all the "noise" was. Then with hardly a chance to take a breath, it launches into the delicately titled "Stabbed In The Face" which sounds like a blender full of nails being fed through a wood chipper in measured, throbbing amounts while some freak chugs Drano and decides to yell about it.

On "Village Oblivia", the closest this album gets to an actual song, a hellishly distorted and skittering drum machine keeps the beat while down-tuned guitar and broken synth noises fly across the soundscape in a fierce, rhythmic dirge while that same guy shreds his vocal cords again in a seeming attempt to quiet it all. Damn if he doesn't almost succeed.

Equal parts Merzbow, Suicide, Throbbing Gristle, Whitehouse, and Swans, Burned Mind's sonic dirge is seething music for seething individuals and makes no room for others. But what is it about Burned Mind that makes it more than just another boring noise record? And why do I keep coming back to it for yet another thrashing? If I knew, I wouldn't have asked. But let's just say that this album is quite listenable and possesses a rare beauty all it's own. That is, if you think hearing The Melvins getting raped by a meat grinder is beautiful. It bothers me that I do. Just a little.

Bradley Whittle

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Wolf Eyes
song:Stabbed In The Face
album:Burned Mind (Sub Pop Records)
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