A musical innovator who immerses himself into his bruising sounds with unparalleled tenacity, Tristan Shone aka Author & Punisher has pushed himself to the limit on his tenth album Krüller.
Three years in the making, the San Diego based mechanical engineer and artist continues to craft his doom-ridden, acerbic noise with his idiosyncratic set-up of machines, synths and guitars, flooding listeners' ears with corrosive industrial noise.
With contributions from the likes of Justin Chancellor and Danny Carey from TOOL, subversive techno artist VYTEAR and vocalist Marilia Shone, Author & Punisher guides listeners through a murky landscape of fear, rage and fatigue on Krüller. Whether Shone is swirling in the ashes left by the “permanent grudge from neglect and disgust” on the aural obliteration “Incinerator”, or wading through the tense, shadowy oblivion of the impressive 8 minute “Drone Carrying Dread”, he does so with a palpable sense of urgency.
Whilst the music often overpowers Shone’s lyrics, themes of a crumbling climate, political despair and the repercussions of oppressive social structures bubble to the surface and are explored through ambiguous words and crushing waves of noise. This feeling of chronic unrest is enhanced by contributions from TOOL bassist Justin Chancellor on the scathing “Centurion”, whilst fellow TOOL member Danny Carey’s drums punctuate the corrosive and aptly titled “Misery”. Shone delves into glitchy territory alongside VYTEAR on “Blacksmith”, but it’s on the album’s eponymous track Krüller that he’s at his most potent, drenching listeners in seven and a half minutes of visceral noise.
Even in the album’s equally as heavy, but more graceful moments — like “Maiden Star” which features Shone’s wife Marilia on backing vocals — Author & Punisher provides a brutal opportunity to bliss out amongst crystalline guitar riffs and dual yearning vocals. His cover of Portishead’s “Glorybox” retains the magnetic quality of the trippy original track, but it’s permeated by chunkier guitar riffs and doomy electronics, complimenting the spiralling nature of the 1994 classic.
A culmination of three years spent contemplating loss, deprivation and decay, Author & Punisher’s Krüller is a sonic purge that rages and recoils in equal measure, enhanced by collaboration, but with Shone remaining the master of ceremonies of his distinctive noise.