In 1998, Samoth's Nocturnal Art Records released something of a milestone record that went by without being noticed at all in the underground circles. Choronzon's Magog Agog, a mostly industrial-fed post-black-thrash-heavy psychedelic and nightmarish beast, however, probably surprised the few groups of people that actually had the chance to hear its bizarre malice, to the point where they did like me and followed with great care each of its subsequent musical steps. Well, six years later, P. Emerson Williams launched what I would call one of the most psycho-advanced and noise-demented metal album of the 21st century. I really had to write about this album in relation to our great electro metal celebration, because if you ask me, this is the real thing!
First of all, Choronzon isn't simply adding a couple of electronica elements now and then on top of a galloping rock metal band, nor does he recharge in expensive studios his compositions with a typically over-produced industrial, polished and clinical sound, as most actual so-called electro metal bands are doing. On Psychosis Ex Machina, Mr. Williams has found an ensemble sonore which doesn't allow you anymore to distinguish the noisy, EVP-fuelled and feedback noise overall dirt from the sometimes out-there majestic, sometimes spooky black angular guitar riffs. Despite all these abstract definitions that I'm making up here, Choronzon kicks major ass and is always on the edge of catchiness, but in an extraterrestrial fashion I should add.
That's why I love how Mr. Williams hasn't sacrified any of the aural rawness aesthetics which are usually linked with old-school metal. His music, as psychedelic and coloured as it is, has real bite, which means that it's got an authentic aggressive attitude and a futuro-retro punk-head archaism. I would say that it is right out of these subtle tensions that his musical boldness is expressing itself with a rarely witnessed power. It can bring out the caveman inside you as much as it can open up your mind to unknown forms of music. One has to mention the multi-layered shamanic vocal techniques that at every turn can easily overwhelm your attention spots. The man is screaming, whispering, singing, crooning, deep-throating, gagging, scratching, breathing, feedbacking, morphing, reciting - often all at the same time! Pretty engulfing, to say the least.
Among the album, there are three shorter segments of pure dark ambient music, where it is made clear that this man has been working hard with his alien machines before getting to a musical language as fluent as this one is. I won't settle down for a track-by-track description, since Psychosis Ex Machina is Mr. Williams clearly most diverse and genre-bending effort to me. For example, listening to The Enchanting Dead, with its ear-candy mystical far west cowboy metal groove, is quite a surreal experience I must confess, and it always makes me feel like I'm surrounded by miles and miles of desertic sand dunes, smoking mirages and dead-hot snakes. Asymmetrical Red Chamber, however, sounds like it has been generated by a furious, out of control machine factory whose irresistible penchant for dirge rythms and horror metallic sensory assaults will knock you down. And yet, when you get to Ornamental Crypto-Anarchy, the fifteen minutes vastly epic finale, you are first welcomed, at least for a few minutes, with some of the most felt-through melodic black metal guitar lines you'll ever have the pleasure to hear, only to lay down in the middle part of the song and let yourself be submerged by a much-needed evanescent lull, out of which, one by one, millions of massive ambient drone waves slowly build up to a godspeed climax of sheer, enthralling and grandiloquent post-metal beauty.
So if you haven't already, go and get yourself a copy of this high-quality album, turn up the volume and test the limits of metal. I mean, I've been for quite a long time a fan of electronic music of all kinds, but I've never ever heard something like that. Also, both the beautiful and very artistic cover and inside layout have been completely painted and organised by P. Emerson Williams himself, only raising Psychosis Ex Machina to a well-deserved classic status. Will you ever dare enter his world? It's all up to you by now.
01 - Dies-Ease (Wrath) 02 - The Enchanting Dead 03 - Crypt-Analysis 04 - Surge Of Blood 05 - Crossing I - The 30th Aethyr 06 - Asymmetrical Red Chamber 07 - Crossing II - The 29th Aethyr 08 - Justified 09 - Crossing III - The 28th Aethyr 10 - Ornamental Crypto-Anarchy