Personnel: Mick Barr (guitar, drum machine).
Recording information: 608C, San Francisco, CA; Paincave, Brooklyn, NY; Pro Studios, Washington DC.
Photographer: John Zorn .
Guitarist Mick Barr is probably best known as one half of the notorious Orthrelm with drummer Josh Blair, though he has been a member of Crom-Tech and Quix*o*tic. The 16 pieces on his debut solo effort are divided into two distinct parts. The first ten are "Iohargh," a work that combines solo pieces, though often the guitars are over-amped and/or multi-tracked with drum machines. The second work, "Wended," is comprised of six parts, and here four drum machines and guitar titles are bookended by solo pieces; these works all have the same guitar and percussion lines, and they take off from there. The effect of this recording is simply dazzling as well as pummeling, punishing and utterly dizzying. This is heavy metal pyrotechnical flash wrapped tightly around scalar and harmonic ideas, where sound effects, thematics and stratagem replace the notion of trope and resolution. Nothing is really resolved in any of these pieces, with the possible exception of "DSS-2," where an overarching scale architecturally constructs itself, turns inside out, and unwinds with as much violence as Barr can muster. It's the most unwieldy yet most brutally beautiful piece here. For those fans of Orthrelm's OV, this precision-oriented slaughter is for you. This is the electric guitar at its most sick and extreme. ~ Thom Jurek
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