Signed to the man himself David Lynch’s Sacred Bones record label, Pharmakon describes her music as coming from a ‘deep-seated need/drive/urge/possession to reach other people and make them FEEL something (specifically) in uncomfortable/confrontational ways’ and new album Bestial Burden pulls no punches in this particular department.
Pharmakon’s gut wrenching new album offers no relent to the New York experimentalist trademark violent audial assault, whilst also showcasing the progression in her songwriting skills and album craft. Kicking off with a track of industrially syncopated moans of pleasure, possibly a representation of modern culture’s oversaturated, computerized obsession with every sort of unholy vice, or maybe it’s just an excuse to throw in some good old fashioned controversial, sexualized content into the album.
Whilst previous album Abandon’s gut-wrenching terror seemed to come from the bowels of a tortured and deeply dissatisfied subconscious, the new album is something else entirely. It doesn’t deviate from the sound laid down on Abandon, but this new sound is somehow demonic; its production more intensely compressed, yet also minimal in comparison to Abandon. The signature screams of anguish thrown across the tightly syncopated beat seems somehow more tortured, and the musical content evokes an uncanny and ritualistic form to the torturous, stand alone soundscapes presented on Abandon. In fact, the building blocks of the tension running through Pharmakon’s hellish sound are slowly weaved throughout the album, indicating a more sophisticated and conceptual sound.
The narrative runs through the album alongside the musical tension, showcasing Pharmakon’s development from collections of terrifyingly anguished soundscapes into a number of interlude tracks that are included across the album. As the bedlam comes to a boil, the album builds up to the cacophonous mess of the title track. The track develops slowly from a schizotypal chant, slowly climaxing into a hellish crescendo of wretched moaning and distorted power electronics.
Bestial Burden is definitely not for everyone, but if harsh, torturous, but somehow sophisticated noise is your cup of mescaline, then by all means, indulge.