INFIDEL?/CASTRO! - Bioentropic Damage Fractal
More than three years ago, when I was first confronted with Infidel?/Castro!'s music, I was awed but also a little lost in front of the sonic onslaught which at the time I was not yet prepared for. In the last couple of years, I have become more familiar with the work of this noisy two-piece, especially with all the projects that hyperactive wunderkind Colin Marston is involved in. Dysrhythmia play quite accessible instrumental math metal, Behold The Arctopus are a more extreme kind of the same genre, Byla is Dysrhythmia without drums and rather ambient guitar drones, and Infidel?/Castro! are like all of the above and more.
Although this project goes already back to the last millennium, the Bioentropy concept started in 2001 with Case Studies In Bioentropy, to be continued with a long track two years later on a split-12" with Friendly Bears. The third part comes as a seemingly never ending double CD album split into the two chapters "Cancer" and "Decay".
The first CD start with the hectic The Onset Of Life, a painful industrial 100 second short track that teaches Fantômas what fear is all about. The even shorter The New Delirium segues into the three-parted Damage Fractal Series I (the first of three occurrences). It is here for the first time that sprawling structures take over, combining metal elements with ambient soundscapes, adding indigestible digital audio treatment, sounding suspiciously like a broken CD player. But don't worry, the first (short) CD ends with two nearly ten minute long tracks that leave you on a conciliatory note, with especially (In)voluntary Emotional Response being a drony indie-ambient track many post rock bands could be proud of.
The second (longer) CD starts with the politically charged Bedsores (for G.W.B.), and generally has a more nervous atmosphere. Free jazz metal is deconstructed into fragmentary noise elements, and what can be monotonous drone one minute all of a sudden becomes discordant noise that couldn't be further away from music. And when you think that you can't stand it anymore, the album ends with the more than twenty minutes running Temporarily Dissolving Into Plasma During A Moment To One's Self, starting with soothing acoustic guitars that are later on joined by drones, a perfect way to end one of the strangest yet most ambitious (and very like controversial) albums of the year.
So far I met people who like the ambient moments on the album, which means that you have to limit yourself always to the last twenty minutes of each disc (or better yet, buy the Byla CD), but Infidel?/Castro! is much more than just that. It is a journey through your mind, from the very beginning of your birth to the moment where you are ready to let loose of your earthly existence. As life is not always pleasant, this human soundtrack isn't either, allowing for grating arrhythmic noise orgies that come to the surface every so often.
As music is still considered escapism by so many people, Bioentropic Damage Fractal will have a hard time finding its audience, but those who will be torn towards it will appreciate the daring sounds they encounter. This is not easy listening, much of it isn't really music, but it is a beautiful aural artefact that should be tasted by the more experimental minded among you.