Matthew Bower's Skullflower has always been a bit of an enigma. With a penchant for repetitive fuzzed-out stoner jams making up the bulk of their earlier work, they combined wailing noise with driving rhythms; all buried under swathes of distortion and squealing feedback. Form Destroyer, along with their subsequent three lps, constitutes the best of Skullflower's material.
Form Destroyer's sound is built around deeply distorted bass riffs and pounding drums, overlayed by reverbed guitar-screeching drones and rampant pedal abuse. Vocals make the occasional appearance, but they are smothered by the other instruments in the mix and act more as an extension of the guitar's atmospheric swell than anything. Melodies are non existant and much of Bower's guitar playing seems to have a complete disregard for structure in favor of tremelo-picked fretboard rape or droning amplifier shreaks. Stuart Dennison's drumming provides a perfect mechanism for reigning in the chaotic wall of noise, as he beats at his skins with an almost primal intensity, ignoring the use of symbols and focusing more on marching, tribal rhythms. His drumwork on the nearly 12-minute processional dirge of opening track "Elephant's Graveyard" creates a primitive, seemingly unstoppable force before petering out into sustained feedback.
Production throughout the album has a very hollowed out sound, as if it were recorded in a large cave. The guitar appears to snake its way through its own heavy instrumental haze, while the vocals echo and collide with themselves. Even with everything going, the sound is not so much heavy as it is engulfing. Turn it up loud and you get an taste of well-engineered noise rock lying more on the periphery of what is usually indicative of the genre and all the more appealing because of it.