AMN Reviews: Skullflower – The Spirals of Great Harm (2017; Cold Spring Records)

skullflower-the-spirals-of-great-harm-lo-res-album-cover-for-webUK’s Cold Spring Records puts out recordings of a wide variety of unsettling music: dark ambient, neo-folk, harsh noise, and experimental. Skullflower, which centers around Matthew Bower, fits the more extreme end of that spectrum. Bower has recorded under numerous monikers for over 30 years and this double-album reflects the confidence that comes with experience.

The Spirals of Great Harm features traditional instrumentation, particularly guitars, rather than just electronics. But this might not be apparent initially. To that point, the album is a viscous, ever-shifting series of noise walls featuring long drones from distorted chording. Hidden in these walls are some subtleties that careful listening will pick out – a melody or two within the mass of sound. But Skullflower ultimately offers an overwhelming post-post-rock and post-industrial set, fitting for both foreground and background absorption.

Comparisons to early 70’s Krautrock are not out of order here, though without the rhythmic emphasis. A welcome slab of dissonant, twisted darkness from an early purveyor of the same.

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