Like its semi-mythical Chinese torture namesake, noise duo Death By a Thousand Cuts has a horrific facade, but mostly falls apart on close examination– at least if a self-produced “hopeful radio cuts” cdr is any example. With five tracks ranging from the scree and amp drone of “Sistermouth” to the faux-field recordings and strummed acoustic guitar of “The Moon is the Only Witness,” this cdr rarely stays in place long enough to make a point. And where the mostly electronic harsh noise of “Cockroach” scores some points for aggressive use of dynamics and a genuinely inventive noise, “The Litanines of Satan” sets everything backward– misspelling “litanies” isn’t scaring anyone but English teachers.
Of course, it all cuts two ways– on one hand, Jason Ziemniak (half of DBATC) has good enough taste for his Chrome Peeler label; which suggests that this cdr may not be an adequate representation of the group. On the other hand, I’d expect someone to send me their five BEST tracks, and not just whatever was laying around. Even with noise, first impressions are important.