As the favorite son of the Berkshires region of Western Massachusetts, Josh Landes's Limbs Bin has been a consistently impressive amalgamation of full auto drum machines and harsh electronics. Unrelenting Barrage of Flowers and Amethyst Energy consists of two rather brief live sets recorded last year, the first at the Dayton Noise Symposium II in Ohio, the second at Mass Grind Violence in Providence, Rhode Island. Recorded three months apart, the vibe is certainly different from one show to the other, but both are consistently brilliant.
For the Dayton performance, Landes opens with a bleak bit of sampled dialog around the boredom and loneliness of office work before launching head first into blown out blasts of noise, max tempo drum machine programming, and aggressive, screamed vocals.This essentially sets up the rest of the sub-nine minute performance, with a multitude of brutal outbursts and then erratic, unpredictable pauses of silence in between.At the conclusion he dials down the drum machine a bit so it resembles an actual rhythm and allows the noise to stabilize somewhat into what feels like an almost conventional song structure.
The Providence show has a more relaxed mood to it, with even the recording capturing more of the audience between the explosions.Opening with feedback into overdriven machine beats and harsh screams, there is also more audience banter and interactions during those pauses.With these open bits, Landes spends a little more time introducing what are actually extremely succinct individual songs, in some cases barely a second long.In this, there are some distinct parallels with Bloodyminded‚Äôs live work, although the actual execution is somewhat different.The approach to structure and performance with Limbs Bin feels more like a deconstruction of the smaller scale punk show, while Bloodyminded tackles the traditional rock and roll world.
Two aspects stand out for me regarding this disc, and Limbs Bin‚Äôs work in general.First is that it exceptionally brutal sounding, even by noise and grindcore standards, but Landes never ends up in the world of "most extreme edgelord" garbage.The title of the album alone, Unrelenting Barrage of Flowers and Amethyst Energy certainly does not call to mind autopsy photos, misogyny, or serial killer lore.Instead, and much like the Incapacitants, the sound itself is the truly brutal element as opposed to teenager shock shenanigans.The songs that are introduced here have to do with the Berkshire region of Massachusetts, or the Angola rest area on the New York Thruway (and not in a cruising sort of context) though the lyrical content is anything but clear.
The second, and related to the first, is that his work is entirely fun.There is no macho posturing, no beard stroking artist pretense, just the sound of a person enjoying themselves on stage with a barrage of electronics.This especially comes through on the Providence show, with the closer to local crowd getting his references to Western Massachusetts and so on.Plus, it is the only noise/grindcore/noisecore recording I have ever heard to reference the classic Dragon Quest video game franchise, which is going to be an immediate plus.Pummeling, aggressive, yet engaging and affable, there is nothing like Limbs Bin out there, and that is a testament to his uniqueness.