Take a look at your record collection and consider all of the different instruments that went into the recording of all your favorite albums. Since the advent of modern rock and roll, there’s a pretty standard set of tools artists surround themselves to get the job done. Guitars, bass, drums, vocals and keys of one form or another are responsible for nearly every minute of enjoyment you get out of music. But every now and again an artist comes along that does things a little differently. For these musicians, the rules of the past sixty five years or so don’t really apply, they’re gonna do thing their way, to hell with tradition! Sometimes that’s a really good thing, like when Throbbing Gristle eschewed all sense of traditional instrumentation and format and planted the seeds of an entire new genre of sound. Sometimes it’s bad, like the early aught’s nu-metal band Motograter, who used a homemade instrument to push their sound to unlistenable levels (and subsequently launched the singer of Five Finger Death Punch upon the world.) And sometimes, it borders on the absurd, like Rick Nielsen’s completely unnecessary (but exciting to look at) 5 neck guitar. But none of these acts can hold a candle to Tristan Shone.
Originating from San Diego, Shone has been recording and performing under the Author & Punisher moniker for the better part of the last decade. His unique brand of droned-out industrial metal sounds like nothing you’ve ever heard before, mostly because nothing else like it exists. A mechanical engineer by day, Shone began developing numerous instruments to implement his own terrifying brand of aural warfare. With each successive release Author & Punisher added new sounds and machines to his arsenal, culminating in a visually and sonically experience unlike anything else out there.
That trend continues on his new effort Melk En Honing, his first album under Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records. Like his previous albums, Melk En Honing is a jaw-dropping affair. To listen to the entire thing through is a testament of the listeners endurance, with pulverizing bass frequencies and thundering drums reigning supreme, Shone flattens nearly everything that stands in his way. Tracks like “Cauterize” and “Future Man” largely follow in the footsteps of 2013’s Women & Children, slowly churning and grinding away at any sense of humanity behind the music, leaving a path of destruction in their wake. This specialized form of electronic doom metal is A&P’s bread and butter no doubt, but it’s the more unexpected elements throughout Melk En Honing that make it Shone’s finest offering to date.
For example, album opener “The Barge” utilizes haunting atmospherics and a middle-eastern influence to create the backbone of the nearly 8 minute long dirge, all before smashing it to pieces with the machines made by his own hand. It’s a supremely satisfying, but unsettling listen and really sets the tone for what’s to come. “Shame” sees Shone channel his inner-Godflesh, replete with crushing distortion and sounds of factory production. That being said, the song isn’t simply an industrial metal retread. With a menacing vocal delivery and a haunting piano bridge whose melody will follow you for days, “Shame” may very well become Author & Punisher’s calling card for years to come.
As mentioned before, Melk En Honing is being released on Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records and Anselmo himself also co-produced the album, meaning that the heavy-quotient was certainly upped on this go around. Proof of which can be on “Callous and Hoof.” It’s a dizzying display of distorted guitar, drone machines and screaming, which pushes the Author & Punisher sound to uncharted territory. One can’t help but to think that Phil’s influence drove the album to darker, heavier places and frankly, Shone is all the better for it. Author & Punisher’s earlier albums are intriguing in their own right, but Melk En Honing is a career-defining effort. It needs to be heard to be believed. It’s no longer possible to label Author & Punisher simply as an industrial drone act, lost somewhere between creativity and inaccessibility, but something much more expansive, more vital and without a doubt more brutal than anything you’ve ever heard before.
I am absolutely and unabashedly in love with music. If I could eat a huge bowl of songs for breakfast every morning, I totally would. I'm obsessive about categorization (don't mess with my chronological or alphabetical) and can't stand an unorganized iTunes library. Outside of music and writing, I love baseball (go Rockies), coffee, corgi's and going on fun trips with my girlfriend!