Author & Punisher – KRÜLLER

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Ever since discovering Author & Punisher while doing some research on the artists booked for Blowup vol. 4 in Helsinki back in 2018, discovering both his old work and 2018's 'Beastland', I've been a huge fan of what Tristan Shone does with this incredibly intriguing project. If you don't know by now, A&P is the perfect symbiosis of man and machine where Tristan produces inhuman machine-like sounds created through his manipulation of the impressive contraption he built. While many of the industrial music he makes could have been done through pressing some buttons, he opted to put his whole body to work by literally banging out the beats and draw out other weird sounds with the machine components surrounding him. I've been awaiting a new album ever since and now the time is finally here!

On this album we see Tristan finding help to shape the new album with guitarist Phil Sgrosso (As I Lay Dying, ex-Wovenwar, Saosin, Nails) and Jason Begin with his synth and drum work. And on top of that there are a handful of amazing contributors to be found throughout the album with drummer John Cota on ‘Drone Carrying Dread’ and ‘Incinerator’, his wife Marilia Maschion on vocals on ‘Maiden Star‘, Tool bassist Justin Chancellor on ‘Centurion‘ and Tool drummer Danny Carey on ‘Misery‘. This iteration of Author & Punisher is clearly not only about a man and his machine anymore, but dared to expand into different realms and by doing so, adding a touch more humanity to the whole construction.

Mind you, that doesn’t mean you won’t get the dose of abrasiveness and grinding industrial (metal) music anymore that you’ve come to expect from Author & Punisher by now. For diehard fans this release might not be extreme enough, but they will still find it to be a very satisfying piece of art. Opening track ‘Drone Carrying Dread’ starts the record at a rather slow pace with a noisy kind of industrial that is somehow still very melodic with vocals by Tristan that are probably the least distorted as of yet. Nevertheless, this track immediately drags you into the Author & Punisher world to not let you go for the next bit over 50 minutes.

With ‘Incinerator‘ they really crank up the cold machine-like sounds and droning into a slow and churning piece of harsh music with the return of Tristan‘s distorted vocals, but that is still interwoven with melodies at regular intervals, adding a highly emotive and more human side to the at times really abrasive and anxiety inducing sound. While ‘Centurion‘ is a very bass heavy mostly instrumental track where the little vocals in it are drowned out by the wall of sound most of the time. ‘Maiden Star‘, that features Tristan‘s wife’s vocals, is a surprisingly light track that feels more open and soaring than the usual constricting and claustrophobic nature of Author & Punisher‘s music. It still carries the slow and heavy droning we’ve come to expect, but with Tristan going in a higher register vocally and adding these almost ethereal parts really makes a difference.

On ‘Misery’ we almost go into what we could count as what trip hop would sound like when Author & Punisher turns it through their machines. Fittingly so, it precedes the take of Author & Punisher on ‘Glorybox‘, the song made famous by trip hop greats Portishead. Despite being a huge fan of the track, it took me a couple of plays to realize that this was a cover of that majestic song. Tristan really took the track and made it his own, by slowing it down and adding that layer of machine-like industrial on top of it. And with ‘Blacksmith‘ and title track ‘Krüller‘, they round it up with another exemplary showing of how this new chapter in the existence of the project will continue to blend the harsh and cold machine-created industrial soundscapes with melodic, emotive and more human-like vibes.

Overall, this is again clearly an Author & Punisher release where you’ll find the abrasive nature of his machine-created industrial sound of before, enhanced by new influences, new partners in crime and a lot more melodies and human touches. And while I always really enjoyed the heavy crushing industrial sound of before, I like the direction this is going. The entity that is Author & Punisher is evolving without losing its authenticity for even a single bit. ‘KRÜLLER’ is a really strong contender for my personal albums of the year 2022!

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music / Songwriting 9/10
  • Vocals / Lyrics 9/10
  • Mix / Production 9/10
  • Artwork & Packaging 8/10
  • Originality 10/10
9

Overall, this is again clearly an Author & Punisher release where you’ll find the abrasive nature of his machine-created industrial sound of before, enhanced by new influences, new partners in crime and a lot more melodies and human touches. The entity that is Author & Punisher is evolving without losing its authenticity for even a single bit. ‘KRÜLLER’ is a really strong contender for one of my albums of the year 2022 and highly recommended to anyone whether you’re more into metal, are rather into industrial or anything in between!

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