Review: Sickness/Slogun “Split” CD

This is a CD reissue of the double-3" CD-R set that these two projects released in a limited edition of 100 for their 2003 tour of Japan, so it's cool to see an extremely limited noise release actually receive such treatment for once. First up is Sickness with "The Scars of Happiness" set, consisting of four rather lengthy tracks of the sort of grating harsh distortion you would expect. "Reverence, Dread and Awe" kicks things off and takes a short time to build up to a full blown level of sheer attack, at times possessing a bit of a rhythm throughout, and actually dropping back down to some lighter fare towards the end; before "My Coma" opens with a similarly textured set of loops and feedback blips before a minimal surge of wavering distortion takes over and transforms back and forth to provide the usual level of chaotic movement across the remainder of the six-minute sprawl. "Self-Autopsy" wastes no time in continuing this general approach of constantly shifting noise, be it through rising and falling overdriven electronic gurgles or strangely percussive and resonant feedback swirls, and then some. While the first three tracks are a little more open and perhaps varied, or at least less overtly sinister (which is not at all a bad thing), than one might expect, Sickness' cover of Slogun's "Kill to Forget" certainly changes that dynamic with its spoken vocals leading into a barraging of grating distortion and yelped shouting under heavy effects at various layered positions in the mix. Slogun himself then follows with "Always Numb", a 16+ minute epic consisting of five parts (though no track divisions are indicated). And, you guessed it, expect a wall of muddy distortion textures and samples with those inimitable vocals shouting away in the center of the mix amidst plenty of reverb. Of course the samples are impossible to decipher, and it's a bit of a letdown that the sound is so muddy that many of the noise textures lump together in a fairly nondescript mass as well, but when the vocals provide a few rare breathers a little more intrigue is allowed to present itself within the backing sounds. Despite the A through F "chapters" or whatnot listed in the booklet (under such titles as "Perfect Shit", "My Control", and "I Kill for Me", among others), there's really no variation throughout the track aside from the lyrical content and vocal arrangements, so it's possible that this was recorded live or something, as that could explain the thicker and more nondescript nature of the sound quality as compared to most of what I've heard from Slogun in the past. The disc is housed in a matte slipcase with a standard black and white booklet inside, all of which is covered in nice looking high contrast artwork/photographs that fit the aesthetic of the release well. Simple yet effective. This isn't the best material I've heard from either project, but these are both top notch artists within their fields and I appreciate most of what they do, so there is certainly enjoyable content here. For the many out there who were never able to obtain these tracks on the original release, be thankful that you have the chance to now.

Running time - 37:59, Tracks: 5
[Notable tracks: Reverence, Dread and Awe, My Coma, Always Numb]
PACrec -