Pharmakon - Devour review

Bandcamp music player

11 users:
Band: Pharmakon
Album: Devour
Release date: August 2019

01. Homeostasis
02. Spit It Out
03. Self-Regulating System
04. Deprivation
05. Pristine Panic / Cheek By Jowl

We at Metal Storm have been known to stretch the boundaries of what's really considered "metal" quite a bit. A review of the latest effort from a queen of harsh noise, then, should come as little surprise.

Margaret Chardiet, otherwise known as Pharmakon, has been crafting abrasive, multilayered noises that straddle the line between metal and electronic music for over a decade now. While a good majority of noise music consists of nonsensical jumbles of sounds one could easily mistake for running washing machines, car engines, or refrigerators, Chardiet has always had a habit of injecting her interpretation of the genre with a considerably greater degree of gravity than many of her contemporaries. Devour, her fourth full length, is no exception to this trend, a visceral assault of feedback, electronic whirls and wooshes, and Chardiet's distinct shrieking to top it all off. If there were any concerns that Pharmakon still had anything to prove as a musician, this album should definitely put them to rest.

While the presence of vocals, a rare feature for noise music, helps to give the music a greater sense of direction and structure that it would otherwise lack without them, Devour is still a release that will probably only appeal to a very tiny audience. Put simply, if you're not already a fan of repetitious, trance-inducing music, you're probably not going to get that much out of it. The tracks on Devour very much create something of a ritual, with each one flowing naturally into the next, and the album is thus best experienced in one continuous, unbroken listen. The production here is also ideal, being not too high on either the treble or bass, as much noise music often is, and allowing for a full digestion of all the layers of the composition without an overly ringy high end or an overly booming low end drowning everything out.

While the music of Pharmakon defies traditional structures of composition to the point that it's likely destined to have a considerably tiny fanbase, hopefully fans of electronic music and industrial metal derivations will find something to appreciate in it. Chardiet's take on harsh noise has been notable for being more dynamic, layered, and all around listenable than a good bulk of what else one is likely to come across in the genre, perhaps even a bit more accessible. If you're new to Pharmakon, Devour is as good a jumping on point as any. And if the music here tickles your fancy and you happen to get the opportunity, definitely jump on any opportunity to see Margaret live, as her exciting performances are known for their rawness and her frequent movement about the crowd.

Devour yourself.


Written on 11.09.2019 by Comforting the disturbed and disturbing the comfortable since 2013.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 36 users
13.09.2019 - 02:29
Lord Slothrop
And I thought Lingua Ignota was disturbing. Sheesh...
13.09.2019 - 02:50
Written by Lord Slothrop on 13.09.2019 at 02:29

And I thought Lingua Ignota was disturbing. Sheesh...

Yeah her and Pharmakon definitely have similar auras, but it's definitely Pharmakon that's harsher and more abrasive. Lingua can get pretty dark, but her more aggressive moments then get contrasted by the more melodic ones where it's sort of neoclassical and opera-ish. None of that with Pharmakon. I dig em both quite a lot though, can't easily say who I prefer.
Life was a commercial for itself, endlessly replayed.
Nothing changed, it just spread out farther and farther in the form of neon ooze.
13.09.2019 - 05:12
Lord Slothrop
At times she reminded me of Merzbow, but he delves deeply into the realm of unlistenable (imo), whereas I enjoyed her new album and never felt like I couldn't take anymore. I'll probably end up buying it and dealing with the nightmares later.

Hits total: 1105 | This month: 42