Doom and Boom
Author and Punisher, a one-man show performed by Tristan Shone, released its latest industrial drone and doom album, Melk En Honing, with Housecore Records. The album title is Dutch and translates to “milk and honey,” meaning abundance. Shone definitely delivers this abundance, but in the form of heavy-handed industrial and metal noises. Shone, who has a background in electromechanical engineering and sculpture, built his own machines to produce the sounds and noises that comprise all of his work, some of which are his Drone Machines he built for his master’s thesis while studying at the University of California, San Diego and his Dub Machines. On top of his machines, Shone adds layers of more traditional instruments, such as guitars, keys and vocals, to create a cold as steel metal album.
First on the album is “The Barge,” a nihilistic song also somewhat like a TV that has lost signal and is full of static but with added toxic shouting and a snare. “Cauterize” sounds exactly like the definition of its title. It’s scathing and burning with harsh frequencies constantly playing in the background behind a heavy bass and hard-swinging drums. “Shame” is the least exciting of the album. It seems to fade into the industrial and electromechanical booms and shouts. “Future Man” drags you through drones and pulls you into dizzying guitar lines and smashing cymbals and crashes. It’s the tamest of the album.
Shone shows us what his machines can really do in “Disparate,” which defines Shone’s work: unlike anything and comparable to none. It is haunting and intimidating, with dauntingly heavy keys and dissonant ambience. Callousness only scratches the surface of what “Callous and Hoof” is. It is slow and distorting and heavy. If an angry newborn baby transformer were chewing on a rusty car that is what “Teething” would sound like. The album closes with “Void, Null, Alive” and by the time you’ve made it to this last song, you will be exhausted, because that is what this album is: gruelingly exhausting.
Melk En Honing punishes the ears yet captivates the mind, especially after learning how Shone produces his work. It is heavy in almost all respects, in the lyrics, in the vocals and in the instruments. There is a massive weight to every sound produced. And Shone’s innovative and out-of-this-world sound production is definitely worth looking into. Melk En Honing is not sweet like milk and honey, but it is just as satisfying.