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Burned Mind

Wolf Eyes
Burned Mind
(Sub Pop)

I just have to admit that I sometimes flat-out don't understand the appeal of some musical artists. Although there are some spots in the Wolf Eyes catalog that appeal to me, much more of the time I simply find myself wondering how someone could actually listen to their releases straight through and find a great deal of satisfaction in doing such. Burned Mind is the latest in the long, long line (the group released dozens of CDRs in 2002 alone) from the collective of noise terrorists and it's also the major label debut.

Just in case those at home were wondering whether the group would back off from their signature assaults just because they signed to the label that also released The Postal Service, the answer is a very large and very conclusive "no." Burned Mind is exactly what the title states, a scorched-earth, pummeling assault on the senses in which nearly every sound is overdriven and feedback is as much of a component of the sound as anything else. Yes, my friends, this shit is brutal.

You could reference everything from Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music to the noisiest stuff from Throbbing Gristle and still not quite hit on the head the entity that is Wolf Eyes. Over the course of 13 tracks and just over 40 minutes, the group thuds away at your cerebral cortez with serious sonic mayhem. "Dead In A Boat" opens the release with squalls of electronic noise and filtered growls before "Stabbed In The Face" drops a throbbing 4/4 beat over the top of more red-line howls and belches of processed sludge. "Village Oblivia" takes similar components (thumping overdriven beats and tidal waves of feedback and noise) and layers them into something with a smidge of dynamics (from louder to freaking loudest) while "Rattlesnake Shake" mimics the reptile of the title with fluttering noise while hell-bent vocals implore doom.

If anything, it can be said that at least the group has the heart to provide slight breathing moments between some of their more heavy moments. In-between some of the more thunderous tracks are shorter bridge tracks that take things down a smidge without ever actually taking much of an edge off. If the disc stayed relentless throughout, it would be nothing but a haze of hellish noise, but those slight pauses (even if they are still rather harsh) give a much needed respite for what would otherwise be a nearly unbearable attack. Going back to my original statement, I simply can't imagine a time when I'd put this disc on for pleasure listening, but considering Halloween is coming up, Burned Mind is the perfect thing if you want to scare the bejeebus out of the neighborhood children (and their parents for that matter).

Rating: 3.75