The Level of Vulnerability seems very intent on putting out multi-disc sets lately, and with Underwater Nuclear Tests the turn has come to Necrotik Fissure. This time around it is six CDrs in one case, and the limitation is set at 10 copies. Considering that Harsh Noise Wall isn’t an entirely mainstream genre at this point, it may well be that this limitation is reasonable. Discog scalpers need to live too, even if most of them probably and hopefully don’t have kids to feed.
Underwater Nuclear Tests is centered around the theme of, well, underwater nuclear tests, which shows in the song titles. Taken from names of various test detonations, the tracks sport names like “Swordfish”, “Baker” and “Umbrella”. Each composition lasts a full CDr, though the exact duration of the walls are a little different from track to track.
Necrotik Fissure has some preferences when it comes to wall construction. These are evident here, though the material on Underwater Nuclear Tests is far more coherent and closer to “common” HNW than something like Erratic Liquid Under the Surface of Europa. There’s still a heavy focus on the slightly higher ends of the spectrum, with loads of mid-range taking center stage. While there is a presence of bass, it seldom dominates the sound, and it is in fact often hardly noticeable. On the opening track “Wigwam” a rather sharp, textured and occasionally broken up mid-range sawing noise makes up the core, while crackling fuzz work together with the main noise to form the bricks of the wall. The bass resides somewhere far in the background, an almost hissing, wind-like sound. This model recurs in one way or another on most of the tracks, though not all.
“Umbrella”, to take one example, is somewhat more collected, with a broader and more bass focused attack, with crackling fuzz sprinkled on top for good measure. In “Korall”, one imagines hearing a non-electronic sound source hidden somewhere way inside the fuzz, which otherwise is rather common, but well executed feedback loop type HNW. With “Swordfish”, the 6th and last CDr, we get quite pure Necrotic Fissure, with a distorted, mid-rang assault with a slightly inhuman feel, violating us constantly for a full 64 minutes. There are clear dynamic shifts and little breaks here, though as usual it is difficult to know what is really there and what is created by the brain. There’s also a little surprise hidden in the very last few seconds of the track – who said there can’t be craziness in HNW?
Each wall is very much distinct from the other, satisfying this reviewer’s intolerant view that multiple discs featuring the exact same noise wall make little sense when done by anyone else than Vomir (at least so long as there is a “repeat all” button on our CD players). Necrotik Fissure also has a very distinct style, and while some of the walls could easily be compared to other artists others, especially the first and last CDr, showcase a personal touch in a very nice way. At 36 Euros this may feel a bit steep, but you do get one hell of a lot of raw noise wall bang for your buck. And, as usual, the digital download is not at all as punishing – price wise, that is.