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Skullflower: Argon (1995)

November 14, 2012

Roll: 5-8-17
Album: Skullflower, Argon

Long-running noise-metal droners, Skullflower have a deep discography of challenging releases.  Generally, they range from brutal and punishing to bordering on sublime. If you consider meditating in a dentist’s office a sublime experience, that is.

Anywhere you dip your toe into this black well of crushing doom, you’re not going to get the full picture of Skullflower. Whatever album you hit on either won’t show the extremes of shrill static and feedback the collective is capable of or it won’t reveal how truly musical they can be without compromising their sonic ideals.

With that in mind, the live album Argon is neither the worst nor best place to start but in some ways it could be all the Skullflower you need. What it lacks in the plodding percussion of their more accessible work or the sheer insurance-test furnace blast of their more harrowing, it makes up for with the added texture of free-jazz informed reed instruments.

Due to the near-bootleg quality of these live recordings, the fidelity here isn’t exactly up to  industry standards but the results aren’t much different from their more polished studio sessions. Distorted noise pushed way into the red sounds pretty much the same no matter how it’s recorded (it sounds exactly like distorted noise).  Mainly the mix lacks stereo depth and in some of the quieter moments the muddiness shows. On the other hand, the performances are some of Skullflower’s most spirited and texturally interesting—especially the sax heavy album closer “Argon IV”.

Argon III

Diamond Bullet” from Obsidian Shaking Codex (1993), another “side” of Skullflower’s noise assault.

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4 comments

  1. sunroof! or hototogisu


  2. Sunroof! didn’t do it for me. For whatever reason.


  3. new age meth noise



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