Spotlight: Stizzla & Eater – Schlachthaus LP (VSD008)

Barricaded in a darkened room in the heart of Cologne, Germany, mysterious producing duo Stizzla & Eater have been keeping their heads down, working hard on not only their first LP of their producing journey, but their first fully fledged, full length project. Together they’ve nurtured a sound that comes with an unmistakable, finely tuned abrasive sound unique to them and their producing circle, albeit taking influence from current trends within in the genre. ‘Schlachthaus‘ LP runs through an intimidating maze of the underworld with a handful of beasts festering in dark corners. The duo guides the way for seven original productions until fellow one2six crew member Nosq jumps on for a couple of heavy collaborations, plus a remix from fellow Cologne inhabitant Submarine. Straight out of Japan, growing imprint Vomitspit saw the opportunity and reached out with a keen interest to do the release justice and not only that, but further add to the already mammoth track-list with two remixes from label owners Dayzero and Karnage. If you’ve recently kept up with recent H&B posts, you’ll recognise the excitement that’s bubbling away within the underground scene in Japan and Vomitspit is right at the forefront.

Before heading into the dark depths of the underground, the opening track ‘Iceborg‘ sucks you into a false sense of security. With a smooth easy listening bass-line under light esoteric chimes, rather Samba-esque at times, ‘Iceborg‘ already displays the lightest areas of the record. But like a radicalised angel, the track takes a dark turn as the chimeful melody contorts into a sinster de-tuned guitar as the atmosphere turns cold and intimidating, stepping into Stizzla & Eater‘s obscure world. With the record heating up, ‘60 Degrees‘ exposes Stizzla & Eater‘s true intentions for the album as the hostile environment becomes clearer. Featuring a dizzying composition of whacky sampling and jarring rhythms., the track follows a disorientating construction that finds itself in a state of constant progression through relentless changes in melody and grungy sound design.
Once the following track ‘Kairophobia‘ initiates, it’s clear we’ve already hit the deeper depths of Stizzla & Eater‘s dungeons. Lurking in the shadows, demons announce their presence as dread inducing screeches echo, bouncing off the damp, mossy cavern walls. Once ‘Kairophobia‘ drops and the dizzying fluctuations of the low end develops, the piercing screeches become more melodic alongside flutters of erratic technological bleeps. However the demons still give chase, running deeper into the depths of ‘Schlachthaus‘ (that’s ‘Slaughterhouse‘ to the English speaker). Before you know it, the hypothesis behind the record’s title is discovered when one finds themselves in the hostile territory that is ‘Meat Grinder‘, bringing the most damaging low end thus far. Thick with a dense blood red mist, listen closely to the menacing surroundings, Stizzla & Eater go wild on the sampling once more; plenty of detail and teeth-grinding textures. Ignore the warnings from the circling demons and stick around for the hair-raising switch where the ‘Meat Grinder‘ is in full operation, aggressive and tough as the distortions grow, matching the intensifying pace.

Ornitho‘ sees the duo experiment further with their inventive structures, designing a track that’s absolutely perfect in it’s progression. A track that must be heard in its entirety, all the way up to the powerful final phase. The sound palette is as creative and unnerving as ever; from the cry of a crow to the progressing trippy bass-line and the eerie chimes, ‘Ornitho‘ quickly becomes one of my personal favourites on the record. It feels like an intense journey on this track alone.
Still without a filler, Stizzla & Eater finish their section of the LP as a duo with ‘Kickdown’ and ‘Abuse‘, both as dark and as filthy as the proceeding productions, still travelling through the grungy unexplored corridors of the dungeons.

Broken Flute‘ sees Nosq emerge from the shadows to complete the onetwosix line-up for a couple of characteristically experimental tracks. ‘Broken Flute‘ captures the final walk into the eternal occupancy of the underworld. There’s no going back now we’ve reached the deepest levels of ‘Schlachthaus’. The ominous war cry from a shrieking flute sits at the forefront, ringing throughout the lonely passageways. The dampness drips from the caverns black crevices. Once the static supernatural energy inevitably consumes the chamber, the feedback grows, the sounds distort and contort, becoming louder, more belligerent and overwhelming. Vision becomes blurred, the room spins and the floor is taken from beneath your feet by the crippling bass-line.
Just when you though the tension wasn’t high enough, the final boss level is delivered courtesy of dark techno producer Vanta Black, joining the trio for the albums title track, ‘Schlachthaus‘. The ruler of the underworld rears its ugly head, the final boss speaks its words, it’s distorted graphic lyricism finds it’s way amongst a ball of fiery 808 chaos leading up to it’s monstrous climax.

With the initial journey over, ‘Schlachthaus‘ continues into it’s remix section as the dungeons veer off into different obscure directions. Fellow Cologne resident Submarine jumps onto ‘Iceborg‘, originally the albums lightest track. Having appeared on the likes of 1985 Music and Dispatch Recordings, you know some mad shit is about to go down when the original track is already a certified banger. Submarine lashes the track with extra helpings of mid range growls, powerful percussive additions and an extra reverberating synth that makes the track feel huge, culminating in a fittingly ferocious, larger than life recreation.

The album concludes with two remixes from Vomitspit‘s pioneers, Dayzero and Karnage. Where the original ‘Kairophobia‘ brought pure unapologetic ferocity, Dayzero strips it back. From a murderous, bone crushing composition, the Japanese producer salvages only the necessities and forms the track into an eyes down, heading nodding, shoulder swaying stomper, fairly unique compared to the majority of the track-list with it’s consistent rolling rhythm. Whereas similar to Submarine‘s effort, Karnage takes the rough menacing sounds of ‘Schlachthaus’ and pushes them to the extreme bringing the LP to a fitting conclusion.

Emerging from the other side and reflecting on the intense, dread ridden tour of Stizzla & Eater‘s dungeons, it’s worth saying this album is incredibly impressive for a first release from the duo. Although a couple of tracks do fall in the realms of melting into one another, Stizzla & Eater never lets the quality slide. The succinct, heart stopping sound that has been meticulously constructed is as gripping as it is fascinating. The overall experimental design and comprehensive textures throughout the play-time throws you into a vivid world of horror and completely ignites the imagination.

‘Schlachthaus’ LP is out now and available from the Vomitspit Bandcamp.

Check out Stizzla on Soundcloud and Twitter.
Check out Eater on Soundcloud.
Check out Vomitspit on Soundcloud.