The Myth of Meat

Schloss Tegal “The Myth of Meat” CD Tegal Records

myth_coverA few years have rolled by since I reviewed Schloss Tegal’s awesome ‘Black Static Transmission’ in 1999 and now the winning combination of Richard Schneider and Mark Burch have released another great album. The pictures of bloodied chainsaws, racks of hanging carcases, butcher’s knives and the accompanying references to human and religious cannibalism, various degrees of torture and a certain Ed Gein suggest that in the past decade Schloss Tegal have developed more than an unhealthy fascination with all things flesh. In fact you won’t be surprised to hear that this is a gross understatement, with a form emphasis on the gross. The ambulance doors are thrust open and ‘Death Car Display’ arrives with a rhythmic whoosh of sound, waves of blackened ambience passing through your ears like the roar of adjacent traffic on a motorway. ‘Cannibal Communion’, an obvious dig at Nazarene theology, contains the sound of squawking geese and is like an inversion of the Last Supper. Instead of warm images about Jesus sharing out the bread and wine with his beloved disciples, however, this aggressive and menacing track contains twisted samples about human cannibalism and ‘willing accomplices’ who are more than happy to find themselves on the menu at a macabre banquet. ‘Urban Funk Campaign (Feraliminal Lycanthopizer)’, with it’s looping ‘I-don’t-want-to-die’ vocals, is a pummelling cacophony of massive beats that smash into your head like a wooden mallet on a chopping block. It’s exhausting and incessant, several minutes of Industrial genius. Having worked as a butcher on no less than three occasions, I know instinctively that ‘Panic Man’ contains the unmistakable slamming of chiller doors, the rubbing down of wooden surfaces and the light buzz of a bonesaw. It’s a soundtrack through which we find ourselves exposed to the working environment of those who wile away their days among blood-stained aprons, chucks of quivering fat and congealed sawdust. The next track, ‘Custom Slaughtering’, is full of noisy frequencies and measured bursts that loiter in the distance like a bad-tempered man with a cattle-prod in his hand. The rhythm increases and you get the impression that the slaughtering business is going very swimmingly indeed. ‘The Long Pig’ sounds like something that has been hanging on a hook for too long, but it’s actually an old culinary reference for human flesh. Busier than the other tracks, the vocal samples are hemmed-in by an electronic tapping and a fluctuating tonal range. ‘Mes’ haf I Resh’, which is dedicated to the late, great Jhon Balance (Coil), bubbles up from the depths of your consciousness like a wellsping of spilt claret. The strange tones are there again, but flanked by a metallic ringing and the sound of a passing carriage. The title – which means ‘Black Book’ in Kurdish – refers to the ancient Yezidi text that tells of the messianic appearence of Malek Taus. In the wake of this prophetic interlude, ‘Butchermaster’s Meal’ steps in with a rumbling collection of lengthy drones that remind me a little of Chris Walton’s work for TenHornedBeast. A meal fit for any purveyor of flesh and Mrs. Lovett and the customers of her infamous pie shop would have … well … loved it. ‘Bind Torture Kill’ – or ‘BTK’ as it is more affectionally known – has a fuzzy-headed, dreamy appeal and sounds like a crowd of maniacs speaking with their mouths full. The orgasmic gasps in the background, meanwhile, make the essential link between food consumption and sex. This is a very powerful album with some extremely vivid moments.

_Troy Southgate

Schloss Tegal “The Myth of Meat” CD Tegal Records

myth_coverSchloss Tegal continues to explore the absolute outer regions of “human” experience, with every recording and live action they issue. I put human in quotation marks because, on The Myth of Meat, their latest release, they manage to forge the spiritual netherworlds of previous efforts in a visceral assertion of pure corporeality; we are all animals, we are constantly reminded, from the blunt photographs of a Czech meat factory adorning the cover, to the slashing sounds of manic butchery encapsulated within. In the past, Schloss Tegal has dabbled with ufological sampling as well as electronic voice transmissions from the spirit world. Now, the collaboration of sound artists Richard Schneider and MW Burch has entered into a new era, one of “psychogenic music with extreme realism,” as the pair describes it. “I don’t want to die.” This plaintive statement is repeated on a loop on the album’s third track, “Urban Funk Campaign (Feraliminal Lycanthropizer),” and it is backed by yet another gravel-sharp voice intoning the indecipherable, as doors slam and the hatchet stabs the metal dissecting table. Bloodlust satiates our membranes, and yet only the most powerful are able to satisfy these cravings. No less an abomination than the Hostel films express this subhuman norm, but in their inherent patheticity, we cannot seriously indulge the truths they purport to represent. The Myth of Meat, on the other hand, gives us a realness we are truly ill-prepared for. While the layering is dense, in true Tegal style, we can readily discern the sounds of a slaughterhouse, the mundane slayings that give rise to the evening meal – the “Cannibal Communion” that comprises our nightly ingestion of death before farting our way into nocturnal slumber.There’s nothing to panic about, kids. Not unless you’re an imaginative type, drawn to infer that it is you yourself about to be hung on the meat rack, the valuable parts of yourself torn away to reveal your ultimate soullessness. It won’t be dramatic. You won’t scream. The part of you that enables that function will no longer be there. Does this gruesome hoax, this filth of days, serve some so-called higher purpose? Can you imagine a radioactive farce being played out on the dissecting table as you try to call to mind the proper names of those entities, beings that have placed you there? Or will the sounds of the saws and the cleavers and the gadgets remind you the impenetrability of such happenings? Wild occurrence: that’s the fantasy of an enlightened few. The anomaly here is “The Long Pig,” a track that seems to return Schloss Tegal to its sci-fi roots in its beeps and subliminal voice warblings. The mix, as always, rends its way through your skull via invasive volume. Maximalization truly necessary in a time when most are afraid to assert anything. When crippled by language (against language), we may rely on raw sound as the true transmitter of certain ideas, truths. Sadly, the image may only rarely be trusted. Gertrude Stein said it most coherently, even presciently, in Lucy Church Amiably: It is easier to listen than to look. To be as and can.When the metaphorical is extricated to blend with and uphold the possible. That is where a new opening, a flesh wound, gives way to a certain light, a light of recognition that binds as it blinds.

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