Here's the second installment of Open Wound's international power electronics/death industrial/harsh noise compilations with 15 tracks and well over an hour's worth of material from some of the biggest names out there. Immediately noticeable is the fact that this disc sounds 100 times better than "Transmissions of Power", which suffered from a rather poor mastering job, so that's a good sign. Survival Unit and The Grey Wolves start things off with a collaborative effort using tons of samples (they sound like German) with intense layers of distortion and later some heavily distorted vocals as well. Artificial Stomach unloads some piercing treble hums and throbs alongside serious stereo effects that fuck with your ears. It's actually a very unique approach, there's a little bit of vocal work and a good deal of rhythm, but it's definitely different from the norm. "Force 77" is an excellent live track from one of my all time favorites, Ex.Order, and it sounds fucking great. As menacing as ever, you can't even tell that it's live. Brooding death industrial undercurrents with plenty of samples and sparse percussive banging. Superb. With "Show Me Again"... it's fucking Slogun, come on! Those maniacal and immediately recognizable no holds barred vocals over a wall of thick, crusty distortion - you know what to expect! Antichildleague's piece is short but nothing special: A fairly minimal and run of the mill track that lacks atmosphere. D.P.I. kicks distorted loops with some feedback and throbbing tones underneath drastically reverberated vocal shouts, not bad. "Totenlandschaft" is my first real exposure to Streicher, and damn does it not live up to the hype. This is boring, monotonous, and devoid of feeling... It's pretty fucking wimpy actually, definitely one of the worst tracks on the disc, as is Skincrime's contribution, which follows it. More boring harsh noise. Better than Streicher, but not by much, and it drags on for far too long. Stalker's "Please Me" is downright bizarre. Easily decipherable vocals and a few samples mingle deep in the mix behind some weird bass throbs and fluttering distorted textures. I guess it's rather thin and quiet, but very strange... another very original style. And this is one of the only tracks I've ever heard where porno samples make sense and actually follow the composition, which is exceptionally well arranged. Next up is Operation Cleansweep with a song that is certainly a far cry from their other works that I've heard. It's a bit dull to tell the truth. "We are the Guilty", by Kraang, is another rather bland piece, though this time a bit more intriguing despite its repetition and unnecessary five-minute running time. Barrikad churns out some beefy lo-fi harsh noise with distorted samples (I can't tell what language they're in), but it needs something more. "Liberate Yourself" is textbook Genocide Organ: Lo-fi distortion and feedback with thick undercurrents and a looped sample in the midst of it all. It can be hard to understand the sample, but most of the content is audible, and though this isn't their finest hour, it's still a winner. "Now the War is Coming (II)" is the second half of the Survival Unit/Grey Wolves collaboration, which is a bit stronger than the first segment, though similar to a large degree. There's just more breathing room, and it's a bit more sinister to boot. Wertham closes out with the most blatantly controversial subject matter herein, but the track is very cool. An excellent sample, totally insane and tortured noise manipulations, straight up vocal yells... it's harsh, but in a very, very fucked up and non-traditional manner. Great work. The CD comes in an oversized booklet that's of a higher quality than the first installment of the series was packaged in, though some of the artwork is still a bit pixilated, and I'm not as fond of the new basic computer layouts that Open Wound is doing as I am of the raw xeroxed collage look. There's one page of art for each contributing artist, and acts like Streicher, Ex.Order, Slogun, and Genocide Organ do the best job of keeping the classic ruggedness of the genre's imagery intact, though most of the artwork in general is fairly interesting. This is a solid compilation, far better than the first installment was (largely due to the sound quality). A few surprising disappointments (Streicher, Operation Cleansweep, etc.) do detract from the overall flow, but it's worth checking into.
Running time - 72:46, Tracks: 15
[Notable tracks: Survival Unit/The Grey Wolves, Ex.Order, Stalker, Genocide Organ, Wertham]
Open Wound - http://www.geocities.com/openwoundalliance/