Archive for Skullflower

Skullflower – Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses (Cold Spring) 2011

Posted in Music, noise, Skullflower with tags , , on November 21, 2011 by noisenoisenoise

Have you started to think of Christmas gift ideas? Tossing up whether to buy the new Susan Boyle CD? Worried about whether Christmas is really as transgressive as it probably should be. Can I suggest a copy if Skullflower’s most excellent new release, Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses. Not one for the kids mind. But if you have a lovely old Gran looking for something different to listen to this might just be the thing (especially if she was a former member of the Khmer Rouge).

Over the past few years I’ve paid little attention to Skullflower. I’m a big fan of main man Matthew Bower’s work and somehow I’ve ended up owning every Sunroof! CD and a sizeable amount of Hototogisu. Fucked On A Pile Of Corpses is my first outing with Skullflower since Tribulation and it is a mighty contrast to the shimmering light blasts of Sunroof!.

Lets deal first  with the press around this release. Is it the heaviest most brutal Skullflower release of all time? Well kind of. I mean for the most part it is pretty brutal but it also has some doom laden, gothic ambience which gives at least the first four tracks a distinctly ominous vibe. In fact if Sunn O))) had embraced their darker side after Black One instead of following the path that lead them to Monoliths and Dimensions, it is not hard to imagine that they may have ended up nearer a sound like his. For the most part it is just so oppressive. This is black metal noise at it’s most intense. Skullflower have been mining this territory for some time but it all seems to gel fantastically well here. Noise freaks will revel in the multilayered guitar distortion whilst Doom kids will get off on the “blackness” of it all. Together the two sides create that transgressive transcendence that all good noise bands aspire to.

I was really looking forward to getting this and it has not disappointed. Believe the press for once. It is every bit as good as they say it is.

Hototogisu – Some Blood Will Stick (Important) 2006

Posted in Drone, Music, noise with tags , , , , , , on April 19, 2009 by noisenoisenoise


What a nasty bit of work this is. This is Matthew Bowers other band when he is not playing in Skullflower or Sunroof!. He is joined by Marcia Bassett from Double Leopards and Zaimph. Some Blood Will Stick is a compilation of two very limited EP’s that came our on their own label in limited editions of 100. For this release on Important. the tracks have been edited and generally fiddled with and a sixth, previously unreleased track, added.  The first track comes across like a Black Mass at a Birchville Cat Motel show. Dark, visceral, malevolent and just generally nasty are the reactions I had when I first heard it and now that I’ve listened to this a few times that opinion has not changed. If you like your drone blacker than black then this just might be the record for you. It’s a bigger genre than you think this drone stuff. I like this record because sometimes I just want to wallow in something this black. Yet like so many of these drone/ noiserock records there is some transcendence to be had here but very little beauty. This is one of the densest noise records I own. In fact it takes some commitment to listen to because like any good noise record it removes the listener to an isolated space for a very personal experience. 

Skullflower – Tribulation (Crucial Blast) 2006

Posted in Music, noise, Skullflower, Sunroof! with tags , , on January 22, 2009 by noisenoisenoise












I’ve had this sitting in a pile for some months. I forget where and exactly when I bought it but a reconissance mission to get things to sell on ebay (seller ID manitobahill if you’re interested. I’m selling some Merzbow and a rare Death in June CD?DVD that I stumbled over)  turned this up. I’ve already posted on IIIrd Gatekeeper (I quite liked it) so after a few days listening it’s time to post ion the last Skullflower record I’m likely to own. It’s the last Skullflower album simply because as Daniel Johnson summed it  up in a recent Wire interview, you can’t listen to everything and I certainly am not a rich man.  I find a lot of what Matt Bowers (Sunroof!) does is pretty interesting and Tribulation is no different. I was trying to explain this to a mate and the best I could come up with is: Imagine you are at a music festival of some type. You’re standing at the back of a tent where some noise genius is blasting out squall of pretty generic distortion and fuzz. The noise is so thick that you almost descend into a trance. But somehow, under the din, you can hear, in another tent over yonder, a Black Sabbath tribute band. The riffs are murky, they sometimes sound doomy, but you know that there is a metal band playing and they  fucking rock. That is what this record sounds like. It is a bit inconsistent towards the end but those middle tracks are right up my alley.  Although this might be the last Skullflower record I buy I’m pretty keen to get hold of one of Bower’s records when he records as Hototogisu.

Skullflower – IIIrd Gatekeeper (Crucial Blast 2007) 1991

Posted in Music, noise, Sunroof! with tags on September 7, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

In 2007 , Crucial Blast reissued Skullflower’s long out of print IIIrd Gatekeeper. Skullflower’s one fulltime member is Matthew Bowers who is know to many a noise freak as the  brains behind Sunrroof! and Hototogisu. I had always thought that Skullflower were a noise band and thought at some stage I’d get around to hearing one of their records. I decided to start with this one solely for the comment that Neil Campbell (Astral Social Club) made in an issue of the Wire. He described IIIrd Gatekeeper as “awful, ridiculous, Goth dogshit.” He’s wrong. What IIIrd Gatekeeper actually represents is an early, extreme example of sludge rock. It’s a total rock pig record and if you love those moments when Birchville Cat Motel gets his metal on, then this is well worthwhile checking out. There is still  a crap load here to keep noise freaks happy with massive walls of impenetrable feedback but it’s really a record for Melvins and Boris fans to wallow is and wonder what might have been.

Sunroof! – Panzer Division Lou Reed (VHF) 2007

Posted in Music, noise, Sunroof!, yellow swans with tags , , , on May 18, 2008 by noisenoisenoise

A couple of weeks ago a reader left a comment on this blog alerting me to the imminent demise of Yellow Swans. On June 30 of this year they will be no more. Now I fucking love the Yellow Swans and after the excellent At All Ends I was really looking forward to where they were going next. So I again look to greener pastures on my journey through experimental music. One of the bands that I’d heard of but hadn’t heard was Sunroof!. Sunroof ! is the band of Matthew Bowers, the veteran experimental artist that was also behind Skullflower (another band I’ve heard of but haven’t heard). I thought it was time to give them a go and I started with Panzer Division Lou Reed because firstly it is their latest and secondly because it was the only Sunroof record I could find in my local rip-off record store.

I’ve read a couple of other reviews and they all seemed to mention that his is one of the more aggressive and dense recordings that Sunroof! have produced and is a swerve to the left from their usual drone based recordings. I have no idea whether that is true. This is the only Sunroof! record I’ve listened to, so I have nothing to compare it to. What I will say though, is that this is one of the most challenging yet interesting noise records I currently own. It’s a big slice of improvised rock-noise that certainly took me aback when I first listened to it. I’ve wrestled with it now for couple of weeks and I’m pretty happy with the journey it took me on. This sounds similar to those Yellow Swans records when they preface their name with a word beginning with D. In particular I though that this sounded a lot like Dreamed Yellow Swans which is now sadly out of print. I’m a sucker for this type of noise and although the reviews I read weren’t exactly positive, having no knowledge of what their other records sound like allows me to approach it with an independent mind. This record is great and if you are a Yellow Swans freak like myself then Panzer Division Lou Reed is well worth tracking down.

Sunroof Live 2007!

%d bloggers like this: