It’s hard to believe Eternal Stalker is the first official collaboration between these two titans of experimental sound, but the wait is worth it. Across 40 caustic minutes, Merzbow and Lawrence English sonically dissect the lives of machinery and production. Bristling in the midnight glow of fire-breathing engines, they let the harrowing hellscape throw its most brutal punches through a buffer of electronic mayhem.
A world is ripped apart in opener, “The Long Dream,” leaving us to wonder if it ever existed in the first place. Dead space is marred by broken chasms dripping ice-cold water in the barren expanse. Those eerie drips are like little points of light, reminders that beneath these grinding behemoths is a stripped landscape still teeming with microscopic life. Granular debris rains down on the concrete maze of “A Gate of Light,” imbued by the timbral buzzsaw, painting solid matte darkness across every surface. Cut glass shards rip through the floor, leaving an open wound for blackened sludge to creep in.
Much of Eternal Stalker creates meditation through unflinching, constant intensity. Unrelenting, it finds new ground to inhabit, new scars to let fester. “The Golden Sphere” hides in shadows, spilling serrated fragments into every crevice. Wind scorches the outside surface while a blast furnace rages inside. Shredded tones arrange themselves into random patterns, spelling out unintelligible messages in an unknown language. Every ounce of moisture is sucked out of the air, leaving us flailing and parched. Eternal Stalker continues unabated.
The howl of a thousand disintegrating moons sends “The Visit” spiraling. Gravity comes alive. Flatline arrangements overwhelm all the senses until there’s nothing but a loud, corrosive whiteout. Surgical incisions cut out the brashest expanses of metallic noise, morphing into tattered remnants spun into the voiceless void of “Magnetic Traps.” Aural factories split atoms into an incandescent maw, ready to swallow every ounce of light until the end of time. The intensity never lets up, spitting darkness at every angle. The night is young, and the night is forever.