I’m not a huge fan of pure download as a format. Being well over 23 years old, I remember the old days of cassettes and vinyls. Then something called the “Compact Disk” came, and since then I’ve been all confused and a bit angry with everything. When stuff is just thrown up on the internet, or even purely digitally released in a more thoughtful way, something gets lost, in my view. Recorded music isn’t just music. This goes especially for a genre such as HNW, which benefits heavily from good artwork and packaging.
Some people have chosen to take the absolute opposite stance, and I don’t know if this is on general principle or due to financial issues. Many of them seem to hail from Russia and Eastern Europe, so perhaps it’s both factors in equal measure. Either way, if you take a look at the catalogue of labels like Nihil Worship HNW and Wall Noise Action, you realize that there are people out there who love nothing more than just pumping out incredible amounts of simplistic but brutal wall noise on the internet.
Ivan Sandakov’s Sleep Column has made almost 400 releases since the band was founded in 2011, and very few of those have been on physical media. There are a number of compilation appearances, and a few tapes and CDrs, but other than that most releases have been made on online labels. Mr. Sandakov also has a large number of other Harsh Noise Wall projects, including equally hyperactive Revelation of the Dead Girl and the (so far) somewhat more restrained Oasis of the Zombies. And did I mention he runs Nihil Worship (and probably Wall Noise Action as well)? In fact, even if you make your Harsh Noise Wall as simple as possible, it can’t be easy to keep this productivity up for years on end.
Sleep Column’s latest online album, Threat Exploitation, contains one track, just under an hour long. It’s not one of the Column’s best. Like most of Sandakov’s walls, there is very little change going on during the actual noise barrage, even if we do get a sample in the beginning. That could be fine, but I just don’t find the particular sound he arrived at here speaks to me that much. There is a type of quality to the wall, a kind of non-melodic melody, which doesn’t appeal to me. Sleep Column has done better, but of course it is impossible to keep a constant quality when you go so much for quantity. As an introduction to the purest form of mass produced Harsh Noise Wall, a starting point if you will, Threat Exploitation would probably work just fine. It is available for a couple of bucks here.
If you want to check out a better work by Sandakov, I recommend Oasis of the Zombie’s Forest of Death, which has a far more gut wrenching and generally ear pleasing crunch to it. Hey, if I’m going to listen to the same noise wall for half an hour or more, I better enjoy the noise.
Harsh Noise Wall, by the way, seems to be becoming a central feature of Archaic Triad in these the magazine’s defining days. That bodes well for its future commercial potential, don’t you think?