Devilman - Devilman
Devilman is the progeny of some of the most prolific musicians in their fields. Shigeru Ishihara (DJ Scotch Egg/Drum Eyes, Bo Ningen's Taigen Kawabe and Dokkebi Qʼs Gorgonn assimilated each other a few years back to create a dub soundsystem drenched in noise and monolithic riddims, pierced occasionally with a frenzied yelp.
Guilty party-wise, Shige takes control of the gut-rumbling bass, while Gorgonn works industrial mecchano-drums and Kawabe punches holes through the hypnotic ensemble with that shriek. Yeah, that shriek.
A good yardstick to match Devilman up to would be Airloom-era High Rankin – snares like a femur snapping and a driving monotonik vibe that doesn't relent until you're so hooked that you're too fucked to stop anyway.
The album feels as though it's split into two distinct sections. The former handles the straight up repeated punches to the solar plexus that you'd expect. Beats march on and the bass is heavy and everyone's bussin finger inna di club. At least, that's the way is remains until 'Ross', which could easily be a cut from Prurient's new Darkwave direction. Melody with menace, I think.
This segues into ominous static. Well, it doesn't sound ominous on first listen, but every subsequent foray into the hiss will only mean that the drop of the album is about to appear from 'Noise Step', an utter steel-toe-capped shit-kicker of a song that relies on nothing but a beat that is staccato in extremis, the gaping chasms between each thump and smack only adding weight to the next brutal beatdown to come.
With the badlands of the album's middle crossed, things start to head in slightly different directions. Top end is ushered in with Kawabe's echoplex-drenched yowl and the drums get more skittish. In fact, the tracks are more skittish – '93' is broken up with psychedelic modulation and breaks that are almost playful, eschewing the menace that permeated the first five songs.
'Nirvana Dub' is, unbelievably, exactly what it says it is – a harsh, dentist-drill and scream dub cut of Scentless Apprentice, complete with the holler of "hey, go away!" Though, to be honest, the lyrics lose all meaning, as Kawaba's contribution is textural, not contextual.
Devilman stumbles on 'Tunnel Dub', slamming on the breaks to quickly instead of easing the ride to a crawl. The sampled toaster is a little ray of organic matter inside the completely automaton-like consistency fo the song, a reminder that machines could go forever if they are not stopped. But, they can be stopped, and so can you ride, as 'Last Black Emperor' cleanses you with a static squall. It washes the palette clean of everything, its pitch undulations like a hose being sprayed around to get the bits the rest missed. Then your brain is pushed back into the land of the conscious, dreaming of opportunities to hear everything in a body-to-body wall-to-wall treacle-black vibrating space.