Normally I am a fan of dark and bizarre music. However, Elizabeth Bernholz (AKA, Gazelle Twin) is a British musician who frankly scares me just a wee little bit.
UNFLESH is the sonic equivalent of a violent assault; a soundscape dominated by electronic buzzing and industrial beats, but there’s something more…troubling…lying just underneath the surface.
Opener “Unflesh” sounds just like its title would foreshadow: it offers pounding percussion, shrill-like vocals, thumping bass. It’s a regular cavalcade of gloom (good thing Halloween is right around the corner). The immediate cadence of this track with the open internal exchange of “It’s gonna get me/Come and get me” on repeat sounds like some sort of twisted invitation that, regardless of our common sense, we will undoubtedly accept.
Restlessness ensues. The rattling and clanging reminds me of the chains around Jacob Marley’s neck and eerily compels me to keep listening. Gazelle Twin lays an unsettling foundation from the get-go and does not give an inch.
“Exorcise”‘s whirling buzz (not unlike my washer and dryer setup) casts a hypnotic spell. Coupled with looped lyrics like “It’s a kind of pain, nothing brings relief from” and “Its all in my mind”, the track is a horrific funhouse.
Following the established mood, “Belly of the Beast” presents a baseline that drives a stake through your cranium and gives you lyrics that include such wholesome imagery as:
I’ll take it like milk from a baby, suck the teats and the nipples that feed,
I’ll take it like milk from a baby, swallowing it down, tasting that sweet thing. -Gazelle Twin
(Not quite poetic, but fits the tone she sets.)
The majority of this album follows a similar path; the tracks are engulfed with menacing beats and cryptic lyrical poetry (mostly delivered in spoken word form) save for a few gems which offer a glimpse into the psyche of the Gazelle Twin.
“Anti Body” has a pulsating, Nine Inch Nails-esque rythym to start, before some hard hitting lyrics help to provide us with some insight into the dark recesses of Ms. Bernholz’s mind. Although said verses are almost completely swallowed by the music, they fortunately make their way to to the forefront:
“When I was fourteen
I hid in his room
Hoping I would sleep
Never be exhumed
History and the past
It was always there
Swallowing the pill
Til I breathed my last”
“Still Life” reintroduces the shrillness and pounding of the opener, thus bringing the entire experience full circle, and allowing me to come out from underneath the bed. UNFLESH is creepily enjoyable (not something I could listen to at the drop of a hat, but very good for when the need to tidy up the kill room strikes).