Author & Punisher

Melk En Honing

Drinking and driven

dB Rating: 8/10

Release Date: May 25th, 2015
Label: Housecore

Funny that the title translates to “Milk and Honey.” The sixth Author & Punisher album doesn’t explore the rape and honey terrain of industrial forebear Ministry—this stuff is in no way dancey or inclusive—but Tristan Shone sure can conjure the seething, all-is-fucking-lost disdain of the more plodding dirges on Psalm 69 or Filth Pig. Oh, and in no way is “plodding” an insult.

Shone teaming up with Phil Anselmo’s avant-friendly Housecore makes a lot of sense. Anselmo has devoted much of his second act in the American metal consciousness to shepherding weird-ass boundary-pushers toward broader audiences. Sitting in the producer’s chair for this one must be a thrill. Author & Punisher live is extreme music’s ED-209, Shone engulfed in “Drone Machines,” “Dub Machines” and “Masks,” physically yanking on bizarre custom-made apparatuses to fire rounds of mechanized percussion with extreme prejudice. Luckily, when it comes to wax, Melk and recent predecessors Ursus Americanus and Women & Children silence any sounds-like-a-gimmick bullshit detector blaring in your skull.

The maniacal oscillating bee-swarm of “Callous & Hoof” is a good entry point for the already-familiar, and the multi-tracked angelic clean chorus to “Shame” makes the verse’s industrial stomp more novel than it should be, but the centerpiece of Melk is clearly “Future Man.” Seven and a half minutes of morose self-hatred, in which Shone’s coruscated rasp (“We’ve got no future plans / too little, much too late given how far we’ve fallen”) is suicide-inducing fun for the whole family. Wait, did I say this wasn’t inclusive?

— Andrew Bonazelli
Review originally printed in the August 2015 issue (#130).