It shouldn’t be anything close to a secret that I am quite a purveyor of noise music. So I find it especially interesting when an artist is able to integrate noise music aesthetics into an album that veers regularly into pure noise while also adding the elements of rhythm and melody in just the proper amounts without coming across as too light. This is exactly what Colorado-based artist killedherself manages to accomplish on her latest release hanging in the balance.
The subject matter behind this album (and much of her previous work) is extremely dark and probably worthy of a content warning despite having no lyrical content. However, she makes up for this lack of lyrics in startling fashion by creating an album-encompassing soundscape that is disturbing and jarring. The album does especially well at creating these weird, quiet moments that then proceed to explode into harsh noise that is either rhythmic or arhythmic. Great examples of this dynamic can be found on both “be patient, death will bring you peace in the end” and “let the venom comfort you;” the former of which takes us from the quiet piano on the outro into a crushing kick rhythm and the latter takes us from spacey gentle plucks into a solid wall of time-stretched noise.
As alluded to, killedherself introduces quite a bit of varied in track composition throughout the runtime of this album. There are those aforementioned quiet parts, of course. But the rest of the tracks tend to go one of two ways: either based on heavy rhythms or pure noise with little discernable rhythm. For the rhythmic tracks, there are such gems as “I didn’t expect you to understand” which gives us a hyper-crushed almost dubstep-like rhythm that absolutely punishes your speakers in terms of low end and “eternally martyred in isolation” which gives more or less the same amount of punishment at a higher tempo. As for the other type of track, these are mainly reserved for around the end of the album with two long-form tracks “the melting pot” and “muffled screams of the true self echo endlessly.” The first of these two is a much more “digitized” type of noise whereas the second is far more reminiscent of those analog flavored “wall of noise” tracks that have been the standby of noise artists since Merzbow.
This album is not an easy listen, but it injects plenty of variety and utilizes different techniques to create an absorbing experience. I would just recommend leaving the volume knob where it at during the quiet parts.