In the 1989 Tom Hanks flop ?The ?Burbs?, a new family, the Klopeks, moves into the quiet cul-de-sac of Mayfield Place. They?re Eastern European and, so, strange enough to rouse the suspicions of their middle-American neighbors, who decide that the Klopeks must be a band of Satanic cannibals. In snooping around the Klopeks? basement for evidence, though, Tom Hanks accidentally blows up their house, and then (spoiler!) the satire is squandered when Dr. Klopek tries to murder Hanks, not because Tom destroyed his home, but because the Klopeks actually are a band of Satanic cannibals.
The Goslings, Floridian couple Leslie and Max, moved in with two EP?s on DIY kingpins Asaurus Records (both soon to be re-issued on Crucial Blast), followed by some mildly doom-y side projects, and a surprisingly blissful collaboration with digi-grind dude Roxanne Jean Polise.
They were always a little weird- low noise releases on a pop label, a drone release on a harsh noise label, etc., but I didn?t really suspect anything until ?Between the Dead?. Here, joined by drummer Steve, they eschew the theatrically of like-minded heavweights Sunn0))) (never mind the pentagrams or the title) and go straight for the jugular: this shit is evil. Plodding opener ?Crow For A Day? sounds like the kind of thing the orcs in Sauron?s army listen to. The only time the VU needle ever touches the black is on its way to the red, and the only time it touches the red is on its way 360 degrees around before the meter just starts squirting out blood.
Second track ?Brindle? doesn?t even give you that moment at the beginning to prepare. It starts out with what sounds like a chainsaw, before slowing down and mutating into the most malevolent shoegazing song ever. ?Dehlilahia? takes the opposite approach, starting off with a painfully distorted but honest-to-goodness melody before degenerating into more noise and malicious stomp.
The ten-minute ?Seed? is what your mama meant when she warned you about ?eardrum-shredding endurance tests?. And lest you think any part of your body will escape the Goslings sinister appetites, the song rattles your bowels for good measure.
The Goslings finally take their foot off your neck and let you catch your breath on ?Morning Jewel?, a quiet, minute-long field recording that segues into the gorgeous and relatively clear drone of ?Yellow Sky?, which, after ten minutes, makes the opening note of ?Blood A Necklace?, the only other really shoegazey song on the album, that much more monumental. Finally, ?Flowerpot? sounds like a psych song blasting out of a broken stereo at the bottom of the hole in Buffalo Bill?s basement. It marches you- breathless, paranoid, and a little nauseous- to the end of the album, before fading out and leaving you frantically looking over your shoulder, wondering if they?ll be back for more.
With Dead Raven Choir or Wolfmangler, you expect this kind of punishment. With the Goslings, you don?t, but you should. Still, ?Between the Dead? is beautiful music, though I wouldn?t snoop around the Goslings? basement.
8/10 -- Nadav Carmel (27 June, 2006)