Iron Forest's Body Horror is the second full-length release from this new project from Midwestern industrial/experimental artist Brandon Elkins. Some might know Elkins from his previous project A Crown Of Amaranth, who released an excellent album of dark, futuristic heaviness and black-hole ambience on our own Crucial Bliss series in 2005 as well as a short-lived collaboration called A Crown Of Light that had one album out on Italy's Eibon Records. It had been a while since I had heard anything from Elkins, but within the past year he re-emerged with a brand new outfit called Iron Forest that instantly hooked me with its super-heavy industrial rhythms, mutated drone/dub experiments, and doom metal influenced riffcrush. The band released another disc earlier in 2012 on Paradigms called Pantechnicon that was issued in an extremely limited run; this follow-up Body Horror comes via our Crucial Blaze series and features the new album of music accompanied by a set of collage prints depicting various biological hallucinations that were all created by Elkins for this release.
The eight songs on Body Horror are forged from gleaming metallic drones, glitchy electronica and vast clouds of interstellar synthesizer that wind around fractured doom-laden riffs, rife with the sort of apocalyptic atmosphere that Godflesh exuded from their more experimental albums. Justin Broadrick's pioneering industrial metal is one obvious influence on Iron Forest's sound, though here the crushing guitars and solemn ambience are cracked and broken into strange splatters of percussive noise and dissonant dronescapes that evoke an altogether more warped vision of industrialized doom-tronics. The music is varied, ranging from the bizarre but ultra fuckin' heavy robotic dub-sludge of "Rust And Decay", "Prognosis" and "Mountain Of Teeth" (where blackened doom metal meets a hellish variation of Scorn's dystopian beatcrush), to the orchestral majesty and skittering percussion of "The Divide" and the abstract, bitcrunched rhythms of "Dead Batteries". Elkins abuses a bunch of dubstep tropes (the blown out speaker rattling bass tones, the vicious synthesizers, the fragmented rhythms), but what comes out doesn't sound like dubstep at all. There's hardly anything here that a sane person would consider "danceable". It's more of a chaotic, noise-damaged, dub-infested version of Skin Chamber's industrial metal, if that band had been obsessed with the experimental glitchery of Autechre. Combine that with Body Horror's obsession with Cronenbergian themes (mutation, deformity, etc), and you get a pitch-black brand of mechanized dread that wallows in a similar cyborg plasma-pool as bands like Wreck And Reference, Cloaks, Necro Deathmort, The Blood Of Heroes, and Author & Punisher.
Released in a limited edition of four hundred hand-numbered copies, the Body Horror Cd comes in Crucial Blaze's signature clear dvd-style case with an insert card and a black folio (with black printing) that holds a set of gorgeously grotesque full color collage prints.