Review Summary: A degenerate rabbit led Alice to Beastland.
Mother of all clichés, I’m going to start this off with a Webster dictionary quote:
--a person of fresh initiative or inventive capacity
Now that we’ve established that, let’s meet Tristan Shone AKA Author and Punisher. This man is a musical innovator and engineer. He creates his own instruments from scratch. His own design, his own engineering, his own purposing. And all that to create the most hellish and frantic music out there. Beastland
might as well be his most fully realised and cohesive record to date.
That is not to say that it is somehow his best, because that is always debatable with anything in the world. What it is, is an album where Tristan managed to finally move past the aesthetic of “weird guy with his own weird instruments and here are the bleeps, bloops and screams it created” to first and foremost great music with its own original
sound that just so happens to have been played by a madman with personally built instruments. At the core here is the memorable song-writing and the unsettling atmosphere of apocalypse and dismay.
The album oddly enough manages to get surprisingly emotional every now and then, like the gargantuan dieselpunk of “Nihil Strength”, similarly dizzying “The Speaker is Systematically Blown” or melodic “Nazarene” (which also has a mildly disappointing finish, where it just suddenly stops, but that doesn’t ruin the experience). Other songs reach more for a disturbing eccentricity and hard-hitting instrumentation like “Ode to Bedlam” or “Apparition”. Or a combination of both on the epic “Night Terror”. And all then is topped off by the haunting, dreading and disorienting title track, which in its almost anti-musical
aesthetic mirrors album’s opener “Pharmacide”.
Perhaps the biggest mishap of the record is that its sound can sometimes come off rather obnoxious and headache-inducing. After all, the idiosyncratic industrial noise that dominates the production is not necessarily the most pleasant sound to listen to, but much like with many other extreme or unconventional styles and genres, if you get through the surface level rattle, you can sometimes be greeted to an outstanding performance and engrossing song-writing. It is a ride that can be swallowed in one sitting with unease and simultaneous unquenchable intrigue. A difficult to examine journey through the insane, toxic and polluted world of Beastland
. Rather a disgusting tour, but one that needs to be experienced.