Tristan Shone is more than a musician — he’s an architect. The sole artist behind San Diego-based industrial-doom act Author & Punisher creates his music largely from self-built machines that not only make some outstanding noise, they defy any conventional definition of what a musical instrument is. Plenty of metal and industrial musicians have used samples and drum machines to their advantage, but it takes a particularly novel craftsman to build from scratch some intimidating implements of sonic malevolence. With all due respect to Lou Reed, this is real metal machine music.
Author & Punisher’s second full-length, following 2010′s Drone Machines, puts these metallic contraptions to use by conjuring up the slow, gut-churning industrial metal sound pioneered by Justin Broadrick’s Godfelsh, albeit adjusted with some modern and atypical advancements. Shone’s hands of doom conjure up some pretty righteous noise, though he’s able to cover a lot of ground within a pretty noisy space. The 10-minute monster “Set Flames” goes nowhere particularly fast, yet the manner in which Shone tunes his distortion up and down seems to parallel the sonic illusion of a car speeding into higher gears. Yet it’s not all deafening chaos; the understated dub of “Below and Above You” conjures up terror via minimalist means, while “Mercy Dub” clangs and buzzes with a maximum of space, rumbling with the unsettling quiet in the eye of a storm.
Still, for how eerily jarring A&P’s subtler material is, there’s no denying the sheer magnitude of an industro-stomp like opening track “Terrorbird,” all distorted thuds and mangled shrieks. It’s a dance of beastly furor, inhuman yet extremely primal all at once. This must be what the house DJ at the nightclub in Hell plays.