Torch of War (Ger) – The Principle of Cosmic Instability
The Principle of Cosmic Instability (Autopsy Kitchen, 2007) is probably the harshest recording I've ever heard. The music is plenty scathing, but the sound is an icepick in the ear. Imagine inverting metal's usual scooped EQ into a "frown," then boosting the midrange until something bleeds. This shit is painful.
In fact, the sound is so blown out that I asked Autopsy Kitchen boss Jeffrey if it was a mistake. He said no, that he had mastered the album himself, and that the sound was originally even rougher!
Given that it makes Darkthrone sound like Def Leppard, this record is beautifully clawing nastiness. It's one-man black metal, from a German named F. Nachzehrer. There are drums (probably from a machine), but they're really poundings for help inside walls of metallic abrasion. The vocals, too, are sandpaper as wallpaper.
Once one acclimates to such scratchiness, melodies emerge. They're slicingly mournful, though, and not a concession to anything. Such extreme lo-fi sound is not normally my taste, but it's integral to these songs. In fact, it's kind of addictive. It hurts too much to turn up loudly, but it's marvelous as a grim, mid-level buzz.
The Principle of Cosmic Instability is available at Autopsy Kitchen.