Stagnant Waters - Self Titled (Adversum)

It hurts so good...
Release Date: 
29 Oct 2012 - 12:30am

Oh My Fucking Word. Do you like it extreme? Really, really extreme? Have you ever wondered what absolute insanity sounds like? Then wonder no more because Stagnant Waters self titled debut album has provided us with a crystalline example of how madness can be converted into audio files.

This is extreme, this is death, this is experimental. And it has frightened me terribly. Algae opens this eight track album, and it lets you know immediately that this is extreme; it tears out of the speakers like a hurricane. There are whiffs of punk and black metal in here too but it's the chaotic piano and drums (coupled with the distorted screaming through a megaphone) that will freak the living shit out of you. It's like having a fire hose turned on full blast in your face. Chuck in a dash of industrial electronica and you may start to form a vague idea of what this track is all about. Aymeric Thomas is credited as drummer, clarinet-player and electronics master and he's busting it out on CCAEP (I can't put the full title of this track as I don't have a Cyrillic script font). This song is jazzy as a turtle-neck sweater and beret with Thomas throwing some spicy hep cat jazz drumming across a backdrop of electro pops and squeaks. It's intriguing chaos.

Of Salt and Water starts out as a reasonably cohesive number before speedily degenerating into fuck knows what. There's a level of organisation to Stagnant Waters work yet there's also another level that I would call 'proper mental'. Svein Egil 'Zweizz' Hatlevik (I guess he's the Norwegian component of this French/Norwegian collaboration) screams like a crucified banshee yet he also lays down some (relatively) clean vocals, luring the listener into a false sense of security before he brings out another barrage of wailing, mewling and other assorted noise based fun. Castles has an intro with some mellow synthy styles but it's not long before we once again descend into extreme chaos. Camille Giraudeau does double duties on bass and guitar (now that would interesting to see in a live setting) and he does not let up at all on here. We're also treated to a particularly haunting piano piece at the end of this track. I'm already calling nurse for an increase in my medication.The clarinet is back with a vengeance in Concrete and surely they've lashed a lobotomised chimp to the piano for this one? It's like Aphex Twin meets GG Allin meets Whitehouse. Terrifying and wholly exhilirating. Bandaged in Suicide Notes has so much going on that I'm over-dosing on sound - the electro sampling is twitching like a mouse on speed and I conclude that this album is NOT a fun-time, party soundtrack. It's simultaneously horrifying and engaging but I would strongly advise that you try before you buy because this won't be everyone's cup of tea.

The last two tracks are Axolotl and From the Breaking Neck to Infinity and they are simply terrifying. The sheer wall of noise that's coming out of my speakers suddenly gives way to an (almost) harmonious section before I'm flung back into the beautiful chaos again. Midway there's a bit of a jazz-break on Axolotl while FtBNtI is like someone is tuning a radio to a backdrop of electro-madness. A confronting album that I love, despite its 'challenging' nature - although I did need some valium and quiet time after listening to it.