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.
In contrast to it's companion disc Inverted Black Star, Lessons In Lamentation sounds like it's virtually "rocking". Where Inverted spews monoto-riffs and malevolent power tool noise across the jet-black waste of it's hour long length, this jam is more upbeat, opening with a massive chugging sludgy metal riff that cycles over and over, slowly joined by a swarm of sizzling feedback and high pitched sine-whine. Crazed shredding solos appear, the central riff changes shape throughout, the whole track seems to be split into three distinct sections. It's super hypnotic as Fistula grinds away endlessly surrounded by Makita's dense and textured noise. Deep monstrous vocals emerge from out of the filth, gutteral invocations that are impossible to decipher. A massive plodding industrial dirge, a meditation on repetitive metal riffing and the blackest feedback, recorded all the way in the red, a majestic crumbling obelisk of monstrous noise-doom.
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.
Lessons In Lamentation is packaged in a signature Crucial Bliss three-panel sleeve, with artwork from Ralf Burkart, the disc itself attached to the sleeve on a plastic nub. Release in an edition of 300 copies.