Author & Punisher – Ursus Americanus (24 April 2012, Seventh Rule Recordings)
Good afternoon, readers. You might remember about two months ago, when I told you about a couple preview tracks from the new Author & Punisher album, Ursus Americanus (as well as an interview with the mechanical engineer Tristan Shone who is the architect of these technological soundscapes).
Well, in case you forgot or you haven’t been paying attention, that album has since been released by Seventh Rule, and is now available for streaming, or to purchase the album download or CD, whichever is your preferred method for experiencing post-apocalyptic harsh industrial nightmares…
Do you remember the basic idea behind The Matrix movies? At some point in the future, humans have built machines that developed higher and higher levels of intelligence, until eventually they became self-aware and rebelled against the people who had created them. “The Matrix,” or the reality that we all perceive, is actually just an artificial virtual environment created by those machines to occupy the minds of the human slaves who are kept as sources of energy; meanwhile, the “real world,” or the actual reality outside of the Matrix, is a war-torn, post-apocalyptic hellscape as the result of generations of battles between men and machines.
In that reality, where the machines are the dominant ‘species’ and nearly all of mankind is reduced to the role of subserviant ‘batteries,’ so to speak, one would imagine that there would be plenty of leisure time for those advanced technological creations. Perhaps they get together for parties or go out to a night club. And when they do, this is their soundtrack.
I can just see their huge, terrible metal bodies writhing back and forth to the beat of “Terrorbird,” with the bass cranked all the way up, in some darkened, nightmarish industrial warehouse rave; or busting a move, drunk on some sort of fermented engine oil, to the pounding rhythmic breakdowns in “Lonely.”
With no small amount of trepidation and horror, I can envision a pair of these mechanical hellbeasts scurrying off to a private corner, and ‘interfacing’ with each other, with the ambient mellow droning noise of “Mercy Dub” in the background.
“Set Flames” gives the impression of machinery revving up and shifting gears, under a blanket of terrifying sounds of torture and pain; a gang of robotic delinquents heads out on the town after being ejected from a bar because their partying grew a bit too rowdy for the crowd there. In a particularly mischevious and destructive mood, mayhem follows them wherever they go. Eventually one of them tells the others that it had heard about an experimental — and highly illegal — program that they can download into their computerized brains, which is supposed to temporarily knock all their sensory systems out of whack, causing all sorts of hallucinations and other psychotropic effects. For a while, everything seems to be moving in slow motion, but then they all start acting real paranoid and suspicious, the result of which (“Flesh Ants”) resembles a scene out of Fight Club — reenacted by giant killer machines. 2-1b had bitch tits.
Eventually, they all pass out, and later wake up with unbelievable hangovers. The slightly fuzzy and muddled sounds of “Below and Above You” approximately captures their current state of mind. Finally, the denouement, “ILL Consuming,” pretty much sums up the story, while looking ahead to what the future may hold for these unnatural, unholy terrors. It isn’t exactly clear where things are headed from here, but (SPOILER ALERT) things seem pretty bleak.
Whether you hear the sounds on this album as the cautionary tale they are — and you want to prepare yourself for the terrible consequences that will inevitably arise from humans’ increasing dependence on technology, or if you’d rather remain blissfully ignorant of the coming apocalypse, and you’d just like to enjoy some excellently crafted industrial doom metal played on home-built mechanical contraptions, either way you can listen to Ursus Americanus via this Bandcamp widget: