Welcome to this Noise And Metal United in Mutual Deconstruction today lesson. Please have a seat – there you go, good boys and girls. In case you should feel a panic attack, there are only two emergency exit doors: one down your ass, the other one through an explosion of your brain cells. So one could easily argue that Choronzon’s third full-lenght, Psychosis Ex Machina, with all its avant-genre procreations and intriguing manners of being, fully contained, by and in itself, many so-called experimental bands complete discographies. And as if this wasn’t enough, P. Emerson Williams came back two years later to release his most punishing and disturbing record to date. As a matter of fact, Panic Pandemic is so much violating your senses and turning so hard your musical consciousness into a tiny drop of fear, that I should prevent most people from a) absorbing hallucinogenic substances while this album is in the stereo and b) listening to this music at all! But at the same time, this album is so much waving out and just like floating as pure acoustic equations that I should invite everyone to a) take hallucinogenic substances while this is playing in the stereo and b) listen very carefully to its subtle, epiphenomenal harmonies.
Am I exagerating? Am I only taking the piss at you? Well I’m not so sure myself what the answer might be. The first few times I gave this record a spin, I seriously thought that P. Emerson Williams had lost his mind, and that after having spent his golden years deconstructing every metal genre known to mankind, he was now venturing into pure metal abstractions that didn’t retain any substantial link with common sense and reality. In that sense, I somehow conceived this new album as an ultimate way for him to wave a final goodbye to his worldwide fanbase. But let’s stick to the music and not to my fragile imagination. This is in-your-face, explicitly damaged, disturbed, maniacal, frightening, psycho-schizo twisted and viciously tortured music, over-expanding itself to a point where it can get barely bearable. Often I would take my headphones off and say to myself: this is too much! Forget about your usual satanic, bloody misanthropia-induced black industrial metal band, because Choronzon makes Aborym look cheesier than Hammerfall doing a ballad with Elton John, to quote Metal Coven. Be prepared – you have been advised.
Actually, don’t let yourself be fooled by the first track on here, Ontological Anarchism, which is kind of a laid-back, weirdly mixed entrancing post-metal and pre-jazz tribal introduction. One should consider it, most probably, as a sleeping lull before the upcoming natural disasters. Yes, this albums sounds like the purest chaos of all times. Even more so when Mr. Williams, for example on Human Rites Schizoanalysis, decides to carpet bomb his listeners with faster-than-light drum programming methods, which include multi snares, multi bass drums and multi toms all blast-beating together but on different time-signatures, of course supporting some sort of hard to decipher, immense, monstruous tornado-riff machineries that no one happens to know how to turn off. And please never forget that when I use the word “riff” within a choronzonic context, I’m always referring myself to thousands and thousands of crypto-voices, all kinds of peripherical shimmering noises, industrial landscapes, mesmerising wave frequencies and ritualistic formulas recited over and over again in otherwordly raspy trance states. While on The Process Of Conditioning, there even are traces of a voivodian punk approach underneath it all, which was by the way so cool to hear, the song just before it is all about a deconstructed post-rock monster groove. You never know what’s going to be in the next corner with Mr. Williams.
Using less and less colours and blurring everything unto an oppressive, dark menacing ambience, I would go as far as to say that with Panic Pandemic, Choronzon has expanded the notion of what metal riffing is supposed to be, and actually did bring it up to an atmo-sphere of abstraction where melodies and rythms are either practically non-existent or have been inherently noisified to a grandeur unknown. Even compared to his own previous material, this album is more aggressive and along the lines of a retro punk black speedy jazz-thrash on the edges of contemporary noise music. In other words, once you discover every single instrumental details that were subsumed by the overall production, it is highly tempting to compare his compositions to a thick fog or to a group of heavy clouds. Whereas Choronzon is using, as I said, so many elemental fragments of sounds as a starting point, he’s transforming these into one pulsing, undetermined plasma of energy. Now isn’t that what the science of magic is all about?
The second part to Panic Pandemic is a well-done and multi-layered hour long ambient, noise track, slowly emerging from a relatively calm drone to an ever-growing intensity, as once again, tribal percussions take the lead and sound martial as the Apocalypse itself. You ought to hear this one in order to realise how artistically talented and varied is Choronzon, even more so now that ambient experimentation and electronic music in general have become the trend of the day in the metal circles; well, here comes a man who’s more than obviously been doing it for a very long time. As a bonus to the first 333 buyers, Mr. Williams offered a 100 or more pages book version of the album, thus delighting us all with many exemples of his magnificent paintings and poetry, which are all linked in some way or another to the music recorded on Panic Pandemic. Get in touch with the man and perhaps there are still some of these gems left in his well-hidden cryptic caves. Here comes a one of a kind album, that’s for sure. One can only hope that Choronzon will soon enough come back even stronger because I truly believe that the scene is more ready today for a comeback than it’s ever been. Or is Choronzon forever condemned to stay out of the scenographic script? Once again, it’s all up to you by now.
01 – Ontological Anarchism
01 – Aftermath