Keiji Haino / Sumac

American Dollar Bill - Keep Facing Sideways, You're Too Hideous To Look at Face On

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American Dollar Bill - Keep Facing Sideways, You’re Too Hideous to Look at Face On contains several lengthy extracts from a series of improvised sessions by legendary guitar terrorist Keiji Haino and post-metal trio Sumac, featuring Aaron Turner of Isis. The entire album is a relentless torrent of bitterness, despair, and frustration at the system, with Haino's full-throttle screaming matched by the intensity of Sumac's surround-sound sludge. This is completely harsh, brutal, and disorienting, and not for one moment does it ever sound boring, uninspired, or pointless. The opening title track is a 20-minute monolith that starts out slow, with high-pitched, reedy tones which could either be flutes or guitar feedback (it's hard to tell). It takes a few minutes to build up, but eventually Haino's paralyzing roars join the maelstrom of thundering drums and piercing guitars. The last few minutes are particularly chaotic, sounding like the recording studio is caving in and the musicians have no choice but to panic. The first part of "What Have I Done?" (which has a ludicrously lengthy subtitle) is even more over the top, with the drums bashed in rhythms that defy any time signature and the guitars overdriven with effects and turning into some form of nightmare psychedelia. It's just way too much. The first part of "I'm Over 137% a Love Junkie and Still It's Not Enough" is unexpectedly calm, and fools the listener into thinking that they've reached an area of relief, but the sparse, bluesy drift is interrupted by Haino's blood-curdling shrieking, which rips out of nowhere with absolutely no warning after four minutes. This periodically occurs throughout both parts of the piece, and it's startling and horrifying each and every time, even after repeated listens. As sprawling and combustible as this entire album seems, all of the musicians maintain a deadly, razor-sharp focus, and the whole thing is powerful and full of purpose and conviction. Completely unbelievable.

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