Steel Hook Prostheses – Atrocitizer / Malignant

The first of two guest reviews from a producer with Darkfloor connections operating covertly under an alias. Over to Opine Kosinski and their review for 2008’s Atrocitizer by John Stillings & Larry Kerr’s Steel Hook Prostheses.

The more vacuous candified myuzak Simon Cowell insidiously pours down my ear holes, the more hyperloud brickwalled-to-the-ceiling mainstream yawn-step (or identikit r’n’b ‘singers’ who struggle with pitch and moving beyond G major or posh boys in tight cardies, strumming guitars, squeezing their gentleman parts to achieve that falsetto) I am exposed to, the more I need to eviscerate my own ear drums and fill my head with coruscating NOISE (or NOIZE, if you dig US spellings).

Having spent the afternoon with my niece, politely listening to her pre-teen adoration of all things Cheryl Cole, I headed down to a local record shop, where I headed straight for the experimental section and bought the first CD I’d never heard of.

Noise for me fills a gap that punk left: an iconoclastic counter-culture in an age that holds up consumerism and mass-marketism as THE NEW RELIGION; something that retains the power to shock, that prompts cries of ‘turn that shit off’; a truly underground scene that thrives in its small way in numerous cities and towns across the world (even villages in New Zealand – Our Love Will Destroy the World), peopled by dedicated and enthusiastic individuals eschewing ‘success’.

There is noise and there is noise. The permutations of what should by rights be a narrow genre never cease to interest me: full-on confrontational NLP-inspired ravings from Whitehouse to guitar-based Jazkamer or Muscletusk, from noise-terrorist Kylie Minoise’s situationist live shows to the drones of Marzuraan or Sunn O))). Ever since seeing Whitehouse play live, to a surprisingly packed club, with a ferocious energy bordering on the sexual, I’ve been a convert to this rich, passionate and subversive genre.

Steel Hook Prostheses’ ‘Atrocitizer’ is my introduction to the noise scene of Houstin and represents yet another aspect this genre. Horror films rarely seem to have quite the music to match but this album is, for me, the sound track to the best horror-noise film yet to be made. While I don’t wish to use the term ‘cinematic’ (no pounding jungle drums or extravagant Devine-esque scapes – would ‘filmic’ do?) this feels as if it was made for an imagined film. It’s less out-and-out power electronics and more bitterly and harshly sinister. Swarthes of distortion are suffused with hideous and disgusting devil words, with interjections of rich drones and tentative soundscapes ebbing in the distance.

Atrocitizer is atmospheric and textured, without the hint of a recognisable sound or instrument that can mar other filmic music, and may even be the rare kind of noise that you can just about listen to in bed – I shall try tonight. It’s always refreshing to hear something that’s a bit different and difference can be a rare quality these days. Four stars.

This is Opine Kosinski, signing off.

Steel Hook Prostheses – Atrocitizer
GRAB / US GRAB / UK


Steel Hook Prostheses – Dehumanization
Steel Hook Prostheses – Murderous Science
Steel Hook Prostheses – Tepid Discharge
Steel Hook Prostheses – In Dreams We Are Malevolent
Steel Hook Prostheses – Skin Melt Threshold
Steel Hook Prostheses – Scarifier (Alternate Version)
Steel Hook Prostheses – Trauma Bonding
Steel Hook Prostheses – Grand Declaration Of Obedience
Steel Hook Prostheses – Atrocitizer
Steel Hook Prostheses – The Excruciation Sequence
Malignant: TumorCD34