Every time I get something new from Fistula, by the time that I reach the end of the CD, or 7", or whatever, I make up my mind that there's no way that this band can get any goddamn heavier. This ongoing habit of laying down sonic ultimatums in my relationship to Fistula's music has been going on for what I guess has been seven years now, ever since I first picked up their Hymns Of Slumber CD on Shifty Records. Man, I felt like someone was stacking cinderblocks on my head the first time that I spun Hymns. And each subsequent release from the Ohio group (which over the years has oscillated between various permutations of the same lineup, always returning to the core of guitarist Corey Bing, bassist Bahb Branca, and guitarist Scott Stearns) just keeps cranking the frustrated, ultra-pissed-off negativism, mutant crossover thrash riffs, gooey doom tempos, feedback, narcotics, trailer park satanism and absolutely skull-splintering slow-motion mosh riffs even further. If you've never heard 'em, imagine an unholy union between Japanese doomlords Corrupted and the scathing thrash of The Accused colliding together into a mutant form of sludgy, thuggish doomthrash and left to stew in an oily vat of Gummo-esque atmosphere. God damn, I love Fistula.
But this, this is something different. Different at least from any of the other Fistula records. At some point last year, the members of Fistula met up with another Ohioan, Steve Makita from the midwest power-violence legends Apartment 213, midwest power-tool noise legends Lockweld, and current second throat for Agoraphobic Nosebleed. At some point, both of these parties decided that joining forces would be a good move and had Makita lug over his toolbox to the Fistula practice space and drag out some of his most lethal circuit-shredders, keyboards and power tools. The end result are two new discs, Lessons In Lamentation and Inverted Black Star, each one possessed by a single hour-plus track of Fistula with Steve Makita conjuring fucking HUGUNGOUS slabs of apocalyptic free-metal. And it's Fistula's most abstract, demonic music ever, a charred mess of harsh electronic skree and gut-rumbling noise and unholy doom metal.
The title itself points to the pure blackness of Inverted Black Star: a massive hour-plus wave of bleak, blackened improvised doom riffing, only one or two riffs tops, but each one repeated over and over into infinity as the band and Makita pile on layers and layers of corrosive feedback, pneumatic drill noises, slicing sinewave tones, long black tentacles of undulating drone. About halfway through the disc, a voice begins speaking underneath the crushing sludge and noise, and it creates an effect similiar to hearing a television news bradcast about something really bad from four rooms away, only to sink back into the lumbering, monotonous deathtrance. Utterly crushing.
There has been a groundswell of bands and artists lately that have been fusing the heaviness of the slowest, most extreme doom metal and black metal with pure harsh noise, artists like Wilt, Josh Lay, Matt Bower's Mirag stuff, for instance. Well, you can add these two discs from Fistula to the top of the heap of blackened doom noise. These are as crushing, noise-encrusted, and corrosive as anything else lurking in this new realm of abstracted heaviness.
Inverted Black Star is packaed in a signature Crucial Bliss three-panel sleeve, all black and green with artwork from Ralf Burkart, the disc itself attached to the sleeve on a plastic nub. Release in an edition of 300 copies.