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TONESUCKER – Slaughterhouse (Onoma Research)

Posted: July 15th, 2008, by Pascal Ansell

How many albums do you know of that were recorded in an abattoir? The noise/drone duo Terry Burrows and John Bowers answer that question under the name of Tonesucker, whose 2006 album ‘Slaughterhouse’ captures the intense claustrophobia of a filthy parade through an abattoir.

The album opens with a monolithic guitar chord repeated every twenty seconds, the track’s title ‘Hook’ ominously punning on the portent of the horror that the listener / cow awaits. As the song develops there are some wonderfully weird guitar crackles that begin to burn then gently fizz out – just a sample of the great tones and effects the two guitarists Bowers and Burrows achieve in this album. One of the most nerve-wracking songs imaginable is ‘Crush’: a glacier-slow raising of pitch and tension, which achieved (I would guess) by gradually moving a slide up the guitar’s neck. On ‘Slice’ the duo treat us to hypnotic wavelength vibrations – that underlying hum synonymous with Earth and Sunn O))).

It’s amazing to think ‘Slaughterhouse’ was recorded with just guitars (plus pedals and amps) – the array of sounds squeezed out of a couple of the instruments is immense. It’s an incredibly intense listen packed full of triumphant droning and delicious noise. According to Terry the final product of ‘Slaughterhouse’ insisted on “tortuous amounts of audio sculpting” – all worthwhile in a particularly effective four songs.

Listening to this album makes you wish there was a drummer somewhere in the mix, and lo, Tonesucker have done the right thing. Drummer Steven Elsey joined earlier this year, and the band will surely benefit from this addition.

Tonesucker Myspace

Pascal Ansell

Pascal Ansell

Pascal is a fearsome, hungry giant trapped in the body of a hyperactive boy. On a mission to waste no more than 14 seconds per day, he bounds from activity to activity like a deer being chased by a cheetah. Follow him now, as in ten year's time he'll be a leading voice in something or other. He's also writing down every word you say in a small book so watch out!


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