Just when you think that you've heard every type of music, seen all there is to see of instruments, become a little jaded by bands who sound a little-too-much-the-same... along comes Author & Punisher.
Wow. Just WOW!!!!
Supporting Philip H. Anselmo (he of Pantera), Author and Punisher was the second act at the Ace of Spades last night. I hadn't done much by way of my usual research, was expecting all metal, and was wondering what the heck that contraption was, squatting heavy and menacing, like a rough mock-up of a Geiger sculpture or Alien film set, on a carpet in the middle of the stage.
Part keyboard, part metal and wires and torture instruments, part man, part impossible. All music to my ears.
Tristan Shone -- for he is all of Author and Punisher, creator and engineer and musician and mastermind -- took his place not behind, but inside, the contraption, the instrument, the music. Author and Punisher is a one-man-band, but not a one-man-band like any seen before. He is wired in and connected and part of the machine, so much so that at times I was wondering about electric shocks.
The labels are "industrial doom" and "drone metal"; I don't think that does it justice. It's the creepy sound of the inner workings of the machine that spews nightmares. It's the groaning of planets as they align on the darkest night, and the spawing of new universes. It's the music of the factory, after all the workers have gone home, and the metal itself has come to life.
Sometimes I expected to see steam, smell methylated spirits, and to be transported to an H. G. Well's future, with top hats and dress coats and Tripods. The light/video show behind the machine-man combo added to the atmosphere. The audience, at first distant and tenuous, grew closer and louder and more appreciative with each and every song. If you can call man-machine-electronic-torture a song?
I can and I will call it music. Some of the newest, most interesting music I've heard in a long time, and very powerful kick in the open-your-mind area.
Anyone looking for a movie soundtrack should put Author and Punisher on the list for immediate review. And the album Women & Children is available, now. Go listen. It's for you.
More photos from this concert, see the gallery on http://alisontoon.com