Crate-Digging: Wolf Eyes – Always Wrong

I have a completely-filled 120 GB iPod classic, the record crate of the digital age, containing my entire music library. I’m listening to each release in alphabetical order by record title – kind of a virtual archaeological dig. These are my findings.

(Hospital, 2009)

Imagine you’re having a tense conversation with your evil twin, and the words smear across your consciousness, barely comprehensible, and so instead of arguing further you decide to go upstairs and regroup. But your twin starts banging around in the basement – smacking pipes with a hammer, welding, sawing through metal, making a general industrial racket. Electricity shoots between nodes. At first it seems like he’s making that noise out of aggravation, but it slowly dawns on you that it’s calculated, something awful’s going on down there. What’s he building in the basement? What could he possibly be up to? What are his grand plans? Why does the banging seem to have a reverb, an echo, a delay? Did somebody dose my coffee?

So, as it turns out, somebody actually dosed your coffee, and you’re in it for the long haul. “Cellar” is where it’s all happening – that conversation turning into the industrial din – it’s real, man, and you’re screwed. This is the Wolf Eyes sound, an unholy amalgamation of bent and distorted tones, drums, circuits, guitars that don’t sound like guitars, seething vocals pushed further to the front than other Wolf Eyes releases – and it keeps getting worse, that sinking feeling as the wood paneling on your walls starts to take on ominous forms. Faces and features keep melting together and distorting, like water colors in a rainstorm. And that evil twin, man, that evil twin, channeling evil spirits in “Living Stone” – he’s out to get you.

Really the only thing you can do is grit your teeth, hold on as tight as you can to the heaviest appliance in sight – let’s say the refrigerator; at least you won’t go hungry – and shut your eyes through “Broken Order,” its pounding and shrieking madness stomping up the basement stairs. It stops at the door, a brief respite to the clanking. But that horrifying processed saxophone means only one thing: the arrival of David Lynch’s New Orleans ensemble of the undead! The zombified band lurches through the living room, which now resembles a rain forest, to the “tune” of “Pretending Alive” momentarily taking your focus off the maniac downstairs.

Of course, it’s a diversion – “We All Hate You” comes next. Oh yeah. Now your evil twin is coming up the stairs, and he’s going to cut you in half with something. Here he comes. Any second now. He’s sharpening something behind the door, but starts freaking out at some unknown problem with his means of destruction. Screaming, industrial/punk thrash, in and out of maximum screeching – if you could be any less comfortable, you’d pass out, but it sounds like something’s going wrong during “Always Wrong” (how appropriate). All of a sudden the tantrums cease, and they’re replaced by the foreboding drone and oscillation of “Droll/Cut the Dog.” The buzzing miasma is still unfamiliar and unsettling, but the worst seems like it’s past. It’s still hard to focus, but at least the door leading to the basement has stopped pulsing. Maybe you should let go of the fridge and creep over to the couch. There you go. Calm down.You’ll be able to sleep in a bit.

You wake up sticky, covered in melted ice cream (freezer door was open – stupid), and your eyes quickly dart to the basement door. You spring up from the couch and warily move to the door, slowly opening it on its creaking hinges. There’s nothing behind it except wooden stairs, so you flick the light switch and begin to descend. You crouch to peek between the railing and the ceiling, but still nothing. Not a power tool or blood stain to be seen. In fact, your basement’s finished – how’d you forget that? There’s the couch, the TV, the pool table – it’s not the hellish death cave you’d imagined. And of course, it slowly dawns on you, you don’t have an evil twin.

And that’s Wolf Eyes’ M.O. – they’ll come in, dose you, and freak you the hell out. And it is sooo worth hearing the results.

RIYL: Hair Police, Dead Machines, Black Pus

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