S.I.D. – City of Chemistry; Private Prisons – Extrication (2022)

Hello — and Merry Christmas Eve Eve, to those who celebrate.

What a nasty, ugly day this has turned out to be: snow, rapidly plummeting temperatures, and huge wind gusts that very nearly sent our trash cans careening down into the river. Again. That is, we lost one of them to the river during a windstorm a couple years ago; this time both of them did go flying after they were emptied this morning, but I was able to rescue one from the edge of the embankment, while the other has managed to wedge itself between two trees halfway down the hillside, just out of reach of any of the long-handled implements I have readily available so I’m hoping it will stay in place long enough for me to figure out a way to retrieve it.

Anyway, enough about that, let’s listen to some nasty, ugly music befitting such a nasty, ugly day!


S.I.D.City of Chemistry (digital 15 July 2022; vinyl 14 October 2022, Gruesome Records / SFA Records / V.A.N.G.A. Records)


Private PrisonsExtrication (Trepanation Recordings, 16 December 2022)


First up: City of Chemistry, a four-track EP by Italian trio S.I.D., the group’s second recorded output after forming just a few years ago.

These songs were inspired by the book Veleni di Stato (Poison of the State) by Gianluca Di Feo, which describes various toxic chemical weapons used by the fascist Italian regime during World War II — not only the devastating effects on those the weapons were used against, but the severe toll it took in the places where the weapons were tested and developed.

Heavy, sludgey doom, the material here has the stark feeling of funeral doom, except at a more moderate tempo and compressed into much shorter (typically 5-6 minutes per track) running length; roared death metal vocals and the occasional melancholic viola lending a post-apocalyptic atmosphere, hints of anarchocrust aesthetics. S.I.D. have described the record as “a powerful act of denunciation to governments and warmongering powers always ready to cover their crimes under blankets of mystery.” Based.




Next, we have the debut album of Private Prisons, a quartet from Anaheim, California who formed “in the darkest part of the pandemic,” and who described the five-track Extrication as “the culmination of personal and political darkness everyone will experience in life. It is about torture, death, abandonment, imprisonment, eternal damnation, and universal cycles of violence.”

This band too operates in the realm of sludge and doom; rhythms trudging along at plodding tempos with vitriolic blackened-post-hardcore howling, evoking all the nihilistic hopelessness of modern life — but here and there they kick into a higher gear with blackened tremolo riffing, at times almost emulating the exhilarating feeling that comes with the more up-tempo sections of a Tchaikovsky symphonic work, like maybe Marche Slave.


The City of Chemistry EP may be streamed or downloaded using the Bandcamp player below, or you can order the 12″ vinyl (which the label says has unfortunately been delayed at the pressing plant but should be due out very soon) here. digital cassette or CD versions here


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