AUTHOR & PUNISHER – Melk En Honing
In the world of heavy metal, or extreme metal if you prefer, one seldom comes across a genuinely original and innovative act in this day and age, which is to say the 21st century. How often are ideas not recycled? How often are old themes not rehashed? Luckily for some of us, there is something out there called Housecore Records, which is run by Phil Anselmo (Down, Superjoint, etc.), that releases quality albums by quality acts that are far beyond the usual run-of-the-mill bullshit that others constantly spew out in terms of talent and integrity. Bands such as Christ Inversion, King Parrot, Fulgora, and Author & Punisher are perfect examples of great bands and artists who actually bring something new to the table. Artists with something on their minds that they’d like to share with us. The latter is an extremely interesting and captivating musical entity. Having never immersed myself in the music spawned by Author & Punisher before, I can honesty tell you that I was in for a treat when I pushed play and started listening to "Melk En Honing" ("Milk and Honey", in case you suck at Dutch).
The brainchild of Tristan Shone, Author & Punisher is a highly original industrial doom machine of sorts. Drone-like, noisy, and repetitive in places, Author & Punisher weaves a bleak, unsettling, and pulsating abyss-like darkness together by means of mechanized inventions, sheets of metal, factory-like soundscapes, bomb-like percussion, engines, and so on and so forth. I remember reading a text at school years ago, more specifically the classic "The Manifesto of Futurism" by F. T. Marinetti, and perhaps Author & Punisher somehow corresponds to what that old Italian scumbag-poet had in mind when he envisaged the sound and the music of the future? While one might be led to believe that Author & Punisher is anti-music, I can tell you that it is not. It is fascinating and hypnotic, captivating and melancholic, claustrophobic and beautiful, and suffocating and exciting. Despite its harsh contours and dissonant bombardment of the senses, there is a visible red thread from start to finish that binds and holds everything together. "Melk En Honing" is a sonic journey; not necessarily a pleasant one, but a journey nonetheless. The screamed and masked vocals enhance the feeling of displacement and otherness, and all one can do is to just sit there and watch as the dividing line between man and machine becomes blurred and eventually erased. The beauty of "Shame" and the ugliness of "Callous and Hoof" are simply a disgusting wonder to behold. The closing track, "Void, Null, Alive" is monolithic and epic, kind of like an industrial hymn, I suppose.
If for some reason you harbor doubts as to whether this is a metal release or not, allow me to say that "Melk En Honing" is way darker and much more profound than the majority of those black metal and death metal releases that are flooding the market today. Sure, it is not metal in any conventional sense, but believe me when I say that Author & Punisher is darkness re-shaped, re-defined, and re-energized. Abstract and complex yet accessible and giving. This is one album that the open-minded listeners out there need to check out ASAP.