In the vast depth that is extreme music, it takes ingenuity and a great deal of creativity to set an artist apart. In Tristan Shone’s case, a background in electromechanical engineering and sculpture not only made him wholly unique in his production, but also defined his performances: a man all his own, surrounded by the great beasts of machinery he created. Shone’s sixth album as Author & Punisher, Melk En Honing, continues his experimentation in industrial and doom, blurring the line between man and machine.
Produced by Pantera and Down frontman/Housecore Records head Phil Anselmo, Melk En Honing is the most comprehensive visit to Shone’s mad scientist laboratory. Inside, he utilizes his musical inventions: his Masks, his Dub Machines, and his Drone Machines, from which flow his immense, unforgiving, and authentic brand of industrial doom metal. The centerpiece of the album, “Disparate”, seems to be an anthem celebrating Shone’s very ability to stand out, comparable to nothing — not even his past work. Hoisted above the track are discordant, lo-fi notes that would not be unwelcome on an early Burzum record, and as the song goes on, they fall gradually into the mix of mind-melting drone and virulent drums. “Disparate” moves into “Callous and Hoof”, which is both the first track to be released from the album and the point on Melk En Honing where every one of Shone’s inventions is dimed out to the point where you wonder whether man or machine is really in control.
It’s truly an opportunity missed, though, to simply listen to this record. Genuine appreciation comes only with a good deal of research into the equipment Shone has invented and employed to produce these sounds. While Author & Punisher is assuredly best enjoyed in a live setting, YouTube videos of performances and Shone explaining his machines suffice in bringing you into his world where, trapped and alone, a crazed inventor is forced into submission. And in that self-imposed cage, Author & Punisher comes alive.
Essential Tracks: “The Barge”, “Disparate”, and “Callous and Hoof”