'Rites Of Passage'
UK rhythmic noise terrorist Michael Drayven, AKA Tapewyrm, returns with his first outing since 2014's 'House Of Cards' EP. His latest release 'Rites Of Passage' looks to continue the development of his song-writing and production with a big leap forward from his previous releases.
Gone are the quiet and somewhat muffled mechanical soundscapes of the début album, and instead we're presented with a much louder and arguably more aggressive take on the Tapewyrm sound. The average track length has also increased significantly with only two songs out of eight coming in at under six minutes long. You'd be forgiven for thinking that might make the tracks rather repetitive, but you'd be wrong. 'Rites Of Passage' sees Drayven trim the fat and focus on the strongest elements in his arsenal. There is no room for mediocrity any more and by honing in and expanding on hard and heavy noise.
Tracks such as 'Sacrament', 'Exorcism', 'Invocation', 'The Rite', and 'The Beast Unleashed' are easily the most punishing and confrontational Tapewyrm cuts to date. The beats are still at the end of the day rhythmically pleasing, but they're buried underneath so much distortion they become like the nightmarish percussion of daemonic hordes. The album's most accessible offering comes in the form of 'Hypnos', which pulls back the distortion for a dark and dance-friendly industrial crowd pleaser.
The production is much better here than we're used to. Previous albums had always sounded quiet and muffled to a certain degree, which really dulled the edge of the tracks. However on 'Rites Of Passage' everything is loud and practically tearing its way out of the speakers. Yes it is still heavily distorted, but you can actually hear the complexity of the tracks a lot better now.
'Rites Of Passage' is simply the strongest Tapewyrm release thus far. The songs are aggressive and complex. The production is strong, and it keeps your attention. Drayven does tend to over rely on his rhythmic skills, and it would be nice to see how he could adapt more ambient elements into his noise framework on future releases. But with this outing he his definitely hitting his stride.