(06.2008, Holy Mountain)
Verdict = Pure sonic violence
There is pretty much no end to the wildly invented expletives that played through my head as astounded exclamations while listening to Aufgehoben’s latest piece of complete aural destruction, Khora. I mean, there are some pretty messed up, ridiculously extreme noise records being churned out nowadays, but let me assure you that no one holds a candle to the calculated, grizzled, muscular audio behemoth that lies in the wake of the UK’s Aufgehoben. I am not a regular listener to recordings with the potential of permanent physical damage, both hearing and otherwise, but I have definitely tested the waters with more than a few in the realms of doom, blackness, hardcore, and analog feedback alike and despite the cacophonous depths to which many have mined, Aufgehoben are most certainly the undisputed champions of brutality in sound. 2006’s Messidor was proof enough of that. Khora, Messidor’s “sister” album, is something of a an uncompromised completion of the perfections rendered by its predecessor. Where Messidor spent contained its beats within caged time frames for concentrated carnage, Khora proceeds to let its beast loose, but a little bit more on that in a moment. Khora is separated into four tracks. The opener, “Innocence Oblivion Contempt,” is probably the most concise piece of ferociousness that most people will likely hear in their whole lives. Just over four minutes in length, the track hurdles forth with hellacious guitar squalor and electronic deconstruction pampered with deafening dual drumming. It is a masterpiece in noise and an uncertain mission statement in its potentials. The track flows into “Annex Organon” and “A Bastard Reasoning,” three and ten minutes in length respectively. The first delineates into a swirl of mic’d oddities (shopping cart, bricks) while the second, though still as gruesome as you might expect, shows the largest amount of restraint and minimalism amongst they tracks. The final track, “Jederfursich,” is when the beasts are let loose. Nearing 27 minutes, the track is a single, unedited take of pure, destruction and utter chaos. It is a fairly jaw dropping experience. Taking every ounce of energy imaginable, the band members dive into the piece with unrelenting energy. To try and dissect it would be like attempting to disassemble the metal and limbs tangled together in a 1,000 car pileup. I won’t attempt it here; just recognize that it needs to be heard to be believed. The reason that I find Aufgehoben so attractive, despite its obvious alienating, repellent qualities, has something to do with their method and the heightened air of their recordings. On Khora, you won’t find the more common, uninspiring touchstones of unrelenting, pedal bent feedback or caustic, wretched screaming (no vocals here whatsoever). Aufgehoben are able to create an apocalypse without cheap tricks. Khora presents dignified noise splattered with the purity of jazz and punk and rock. No one ever asked for such a thing, but thank goodness to Aufgehoben for providing – the gold standard of anything that can be considered loud.
Listen to clips of Khora on Boomkat