Friday, April 3, 2009

Mick Mercer Reviews Cognitive Dissonance

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. 

Mythos Media

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?

Veil of Thorns: Back Catalog

Veil of Thorns: Back Catalog


Demo 1991 – Cassette – Remastered 2008 (, torrent, buy)

Study In Decay Demo – Cassette - 1992

Legemet Og Stemmen Demo – Cassette - 1993

Lust Beyond Flesh 7» ep - 1994

Cafe Flesh CD - 2002 (, torrent, buy)

Birthed CD – 2002/2006 (, torrent, buy)

Legemet Og Stemmen Demo Remastered CD - 2006 (, buy)

Manifestation Objective CDR/Online Release - 2005 – Remastered Edition + Bonus Tracks 2009 (, torrent)

Cognitive Dissonance CD – 2007 (, direct download, buy)

The End of the Beginning – First album sessions 1992 – Remastered 2008 (, torrent, buy)

The Dead God Sessions CD – Second lineup album sessions 1996 – Remastered 2008 (, torrent, buy)

Live WMFO 1991 – Fall 2008 (, buy)

Live Halloween 1992 WMFO – Fall 2008 (, buy)

Bats in the Belfry 1994 Live – Fall 2008 (, buy)

Salon Apocalypse - Winter, 2009

Gothis Beauty Reviews Veil of Thorns - Cognitive Dissonance

The latest issue of Gothic Beauty is on the racks, choc a block with reviews, interviews and some great articles and photos you'll wanna check out. Their reviewer had some kind things to say about the latest Veil of Thorns album:

Veil of Thorns

Cognitive Dissonance

Mythos Media

Veil of Thorns is an edgy, eclectic blend of electronica and metal. It reminds me of early Bowie in that it pushes the envelope, shakes up the status quo, and demands attention. We're entering a new world of music indeed - one that's refreshingly different. the Cognitive Dissonance title track is ominous, like free-falling into a dark abyss. "Peripatetic" pushes us over the edge of insanity. "A Weirdness Less Expressed" can only be described as enigmatic or avant-garde. The instrumental "Surgically Dream Like" feels like anesthetic wearing off while you're on the operating table - terrifying! (Athena) - Gothic Beauty

This fall will see "Salon Apocalypse", which looks to push things a bit further.

Side-Line Reviews Veil of Thorns - Cognitive Dissonance

The following reviewer at Side-Line was looking for familiar grooves and hooks in Cognitive Dissonance and found out that they reveal themselves over time. The only thing I want to clarify is that the instrumentation of this album is guit-bass-drums-vox except for three solo cello pieces and one cello-vio-lin-drums-vox piece. No electronic elements are present.

Veil Of Thorns - Cognitive Dissonance (cd Mythos Media)

Posted on 22 Oct, 2007 - Bookmark at
VOT brings a mix of guitar parts and electronic arrangements. From the debut song till the last one this band brings a quite chaotic sound. It all sound like the songs are loosing their power in a dense sonic fog. I’m missing carrying parts and a kind of melody in the choruses. The only song that really caught my attention is probably the less representative ones from the album. The instrumental “Surgically dream like” is a quiet song that would fit as soundtrack. It’s a bit psychedelic as well, revealing another side of the band, which remains rather hidden for so far. An album with different ingredients and ideas, but too chaotic and less coherent in the end! (DP:4)DP.

Cognitive Dissonance Transmission IV

represents the final chapter and transmission of the Cognitive
Dissonance process. I thought I'd share a few bits of what I've been
working on lately, between things I'm bound by blood oaths not to
talk about, extensive research into rhizomatic consciousness, chaos
theory, extreme esoteric number manipulation and viral linguistics. A
ton of creative output had been gathering momentum, and dissemination
has been an afterthought, though I came to see that aspect becoming
part of the creative flow. Further dissection of the sounds. In
keeping with the original intent, I'm going to limit the final
production notes to a bare outline of the process that got us here
and convey gratitude to those of you who followed and added to the

first thought I had at the outset was to track a simple album with a
classic trio sound. I've done well with that, except for the added
melody line at the beginning of the first track. Then a few stray
ideas took root and grew into strange mutant entities. Major revamps,
rethinks and re-visions, then sounds, images and artifacts suggested
ever more forms and eventually, narrative, albeit os the surreal
sort. With the album itself I took a very direct and raw approach.
I've always preferred the sound of a human being playing instruments
and singing to the mad scientists creation that is the protools
version of injection molded plastic. (Not to be confused with
electronic music.) Vocalists don't usually like to have anyone hear
anything but the most spot on, confident performances, but I was
going for a feeling and a story, and these are my sketches.

Cognitive Dissonance was a working title that became the final title,
for the name fed the blossoming idea that tied the album together. A
story that encompassed a vision split in four directions, a
juxtaposition and melding together of the points of view of of same
world/ two views, two worlds, same character observing and acting in
them. The central idea is of a cognitive dissonance between first
appearances and a closer look.

recorded all the music, and then came up with the song titles. I
decided the order according to how the titles felt. Then I wrote a
short story starting from a cutup of the titles. I expanded that and
took the lyrics from that. I think my machines feaked out and became
possessed in the process. I had some radio signals coming through the
guitar as I laid down the tracks, and I made liberal use of them.
While I continued to track the album I released several
transmissions. I thought I'd make the various stage escapes into
their own entities, as opposed to a few stray mp3's.

the album itself, I layered, layered the layers and added extra
layers to boot. I tried something different in the first, and with
the help of the fine folks at, I added spoken word from
readings of public domain classics. We're hearing mostly Flaubert,
Coleridge and Emily Dickinson.

II I made from the bass tracks from the album. Mostly you're hearing
one track of bass with no layers but the real-time FX, though there
are a couple points where the cello creeps in. A few inexplicable
voices emerged that weren't recorded by me. If it fits as a
soundtrack for your daily experience, I want to hear the story.
throw these out of my head in quick bouts between working on two
movies, my own moving image projects, not included, three comics,
(not telling yet), and a sum total of five albums of various styles
at diffent points of production.

with the sound transmissions, the lyrics were extending into stories.
The lyrics to most songs I'd done so far were dreamlike fragments of
one continuous tale. I wanted to bring some of the underlying
structure into focus. At the same time I listened to others stories.
I was especially interested to hear some apocalyptic tales. Ragnarok,
Armageddon, the end of one life and the beginning of another. The
death of the ego, the body, a belief. The hearing became expression,
and the telling of the tale that resulted was an embodiment of

Veil of thorns is an act that rarely repeats itself, but with Cognitive Dissonance, they may surprise even some long time fans. Veil of Thorns approach has

never been this stripped down, nor has their music been more complex. Stark, angular post-punk songs give way to a cello as it descends into madness. Spare

jazz-inflected tone poems lead back into sanguine deathrock dust storms.

For nearly a decade now, most of the work of front man P. Emerson Williams has been focused inward. Dissemination of his wide, varied

output took place through tales whispered in corners remote from. This conversation is part of the creative flow that forms his work.

Williams tackled the latest Veil of Thorns release by sharing the process in a new way. After having tracked the basic instrumental elements

of the next Veil Of Thorns album, "Cognitive Dissonance", Veil of Thorns released podcasts created from the sonic raw material of the tracks as they

progressed. Through the bands website, blog comments and emails the resulting conversation helped expand the bands vision while focusing the tale being


Inspired by scrambled radio signals coming through the

guitar as he laid down the tracks, Williams created long form compositions using montage techniques derived from the work of Williams Burroughs and Bryon

Gysin. Unlike the album itself, he layered, layered the layers and added extra layers to boot. His machines freaked out and became possessed in the process.

Where podcasts are often in a format similar to radio shows, Veil of Thorns ranks among a select group of sound and video artists who are stretching the

boundaries of the form into unique works of art.

Every Veil of Thorns song so far contain lyrics in the form of dreamlike

fragments making one continuous tale. Cognitive Dissonance brings some of the underlying structure into focus. While they wove their tale they listened to

the stories of others. In the spirit of our times they collected many apocalyptic tales. Ragnarok, Armageddon, the end of one life and the beginning of

another forms one side of this archetypical narrative. Tales of the death of the ego, of the body, the breaking down of a belief offer a more insightful


Coming off collaborations with Industrial cabal subQtaneous and Norwegian post Blackmetal band Manes, Williams

took the experience of working with such gifted and unique artists and has re-emerged with a stronger and darker vision. Lyrically encompassing two universes

and two realities, this tight and spare album ends up being more expansive an experience than anything Veil of Thorns has released before.



Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Fear and Loathing on the Internet: Redux (Part 2)

Fear and Loathing on the Internet: Redux (Part 2)

Part two of the three part series Fear and Loathing on the Internet: Redux (Part one here) GPod Radio host Joseph Matheny moderates a roundtable discussion on the subject of Myth on the Modern World, with guests: Wes Unruh, James Curcio, John Harrigan, Lucy Allin, P. Emerson Williams and Anna Young. (Note: When I recorded the intros to part one and two, I forgot to mention Wes as a participant in the roundtable. He is however introduced in the actual roundtable piece and is a major contributor to the conversation. My omission was simply due to being overworked with too little time. Hopefully he will not hate me for this oversight. )
Also, the first installment of In Your Ear, some tidbits about the Y project and some ranting and raging in response to the mailbag.
In part three we will introduce another regular segment to the GSpot, A Concise Guide To Setting Yourself On Fire with Kara Rae Garland.
Part Three coming in about 2 weeks. Enjoy!

Fear and Loathing on the Internet: Redux (Part 2) [88:41m] Listen at Alterati

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