Mick Mercer Reviews Cognitive Dissonance
I have to say I'm aglow from reading this one. One sends out ones creations to be reviewed and what comes back is usually expected. Sometimes what is written is surprising, sometimes completely off the wall, to the point that you want to check and make sure you sent the right CD. But when it's understood, whether the review is positive or not, that's one of the greatest rewards.
VEIL OF THORNS
Although working at another end of the noisy bastard spectrum to History Of Guns, Veil Of Thorns, and other P. Emerson Williams projects, provide the same alternative. Just when you have become used to experiencing your guitar stimulants, your ethereal relaxants, your electronic placebo, along comes Doctor Thorns, like a knight in deliberately ill-fitting armour and bellows ‘No more!’ causing all patients to fall from their beds. Where a lot of old-school Industrialists make deliberately obscure, ugly amateurish trash and new Industrialists churn out whatever club-friendly sounds they hope will land them a big record deal, there are some artists wading sternly through the same muddy waters with more artistic sensibilities. Veil Of Thorns may make threatening music but it is not without gentler asides, and often presents itself in alluring form. This is their most stylish work, but some of the thorns have an extra edge.
It’s really just down to P. Emerson Williams on virtually everything but the live drums of James Curcio, whose alarming novel I am currently reading. That’s the thing – music and other genuine influences, with P. himself a very talented artist, as I am sure many of you realise. It infuses what might be a trudging sound and throws light into murky corners. ‘Peripatetic’ has a dark rhythmical flow below a bright needling guitar and the drums stay furtive, the vocals commendably aghast, the song briskly cantering into action. It is actually hard to follow the vocal narrative but maybe that’s a good thing? ‘A Weirdness Less Expressed’ is great. If ever robots develop their own Thrash genre with a glaring sheen and viciously seedy bass pulses they will point to this song as a formative spark; more keenly urgent vocals and liquid guitar unusually catchy at times.
‘The Enigmatic Rarely Atone’ is slippier, as guitar slides away from the gleaming, undulating core. ‘Fallacy Decides Initiative’ lurches off after the seamless intro into a sighing, tumbling exercise, but ‘Delusions Of Excitement’ has low key, sweeter sounds and a dignified comeliness, deeper slopes and a playful atmospheric element. ‘Surgically Dream Like’ does what it says on the bloodbag, the cello providing a blurred setting, as though orchestral ocean liners were calling to one another, Industrial whale song!
‘Languishing In The Rusting Valley’ is not the worse holiday brochure ever, but a fractious combination of tingling guitar and grating rhythm in a plainly enjoyably melodic cacophony, as pert as the ungainly ever get. ‘Corrode And Engulf’ is deep growliness, like an ambient intestinal voyage. ‘Night Access Hallucination’ is a weird entity, being spindly, addled art-rock, with a touch of the Frank Zapata about it, with ‘Anomalous Breaks’; fun, not fearful. Austere, like monks hungover on mescaline, and then the title track itself sends you home with a cold bowl of sonic porridge.
They’re one of the few creative outlets for these more tangled sounds, and this gets the thumbs up, being a fine record, and one which some people might find easier to get into than earlier works as it’s got elements you’d recognise. Okay, you may develop extra thumbs with prolonged exposure, but what is life without risks?