Agoraphobic Nosebleed - PCP Tornado [reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Agoraphobic Nosebleed

PCP Tornado [reissue] (2006)

Hydra Head

PCP Tornado is about as fitting name for an album as I have ever heard.

The monstrous sounds and cataclysmic amount of noise made by Agoraphobic Nosebleed have no doubt been picked up by seismographs on more than one occasion, and this CD re-issue of the 1999 release that was previously available only on 6" format more than shows that fact. The material that was on the original vinyl only makes up about five minutes worth of music -- par for the course for AN, but that five minutes are the noisiest five minutes you're liable to hear for quite some time.

See, too many of the so-called "noise" acts around today do just that: make noise. Be it grind or what have you, all that's going on is a couple of guys wailing on their instruments as hard as humanly possible and hoping it makes sense. And while Agoraphobic Nosebleed don't fall that far from the tree, the fundamental difference is that these guys (or guy, as it was before the most recent releases ) have been doing it for 12 years now. In his time away from Pig Destroyer, Scott Hull is AN's jack of all trades.

Handling vocals, guitar work, and the programming of drum machines, Hull has been able to keep his one-man project noisier than any group with five times as many members. It's just one constant barrage of light-speed drumming and frantic riffs that somehow manage to keep up too. Using a drum machine allows AN to use what is essentially super-human speed on the double bass, and that kick combined with the sometimes screechy sometimes guttural vocal delivery of Hall is a brutal one.

This CD is an hour long though, and only five minutes of that is the 6" re-release. That leaves 55 minutes for remixes of various tracks from the band's past that have been altered beyond any recognition. The combination of ambience and drone add a real air of mystery to the what's still an oft-unrelenting barrage of screams and distortion. Each remix is a new excursion down a dark and desolate path that's as heavy as it is unpredictable. One minute controlled by fuzz and feedback, the next a tidal wave of straight intensity, there's no real way to tell what's coming so harshly around that corner.

A tornado is unique in its unpredictability, coming and going on a whim, leveling a house completely on one side of the street and not so much as affecting the lawn on the other side, and that's something in which Agoraphobic Nosebleed can identify. You don't know when or how their attack is going to hit -- just that it will.