Drew McDowall - Unnatural Channel

by paul_guyet Rating:9 Release Date:2017-05-26
Drew McDowall would like to break down the barriers of this reality and send the horrible, indescribable entities that exist between realities spilling and skittering out through the rift into our world. Rather than procuring some arcane enchiridion written in blood on cured human flesh and chanting a gateway into existence, he has decided instead to create a series of sonic invocations to accomplish his dark ambitions; Unnatural Channel is the second chapter of those invocations. Over the years, McDowall has created and collaborated with Psychic TV, Compound Eye, Nine Inch Nails*, and, most importantly, Coil. His first solo album, Collapse, was a singular and disturbing entry, reflecting shades of his past work as well as defining his own unique sound. This follow up brings listeners further into his world.
 
Things gleam wetly on the opener ’Tell Me The Name’ and slither about in the dimness. McDowall forces the listener into their midst. At first, there is a sense of restraint, then a beat emerges and the feel becomes more structured and dynamic, dark and industrial, very cinematic, although I think that’s an overused term. At the end, the sound shivers and shatters to a close. ‘Habitat' starts off sounding like an ancient robotic congregation worshipping in an abandoned cathedral, 'This Is What It’s Like' is just horrifying, some beast dragging itself out of a void to follow you home while slit, hissing vocals lash out with the intent to lacerate, and the two part title track sounds like a sojourn through some alien menagerie, insectile and chuffing at the same time. ‘Recognition' is another stand out, a nightmare you can't tear yourself out of and ‘Unshielded’, which features ragged, broken vocals by Roxy Farman, comes off like a chant overhead at a ritualistic slaying, tribal and on the edge of fervor.
 
More percussive, dynamic, and unsetting than Collapse. Still packed with menace, but now the threat is contained within and careening off walls of grimy metal as opposed to floating, nebulous, about the aether. Unnatural Channel is a fantastic follow up to an excellent debut.
 
*Resulting in some of their most nuanced and compelling work