The enigmatic figure of Tristan Shone, a mechanical engineer/metal sculptor, is the driving force behind the Author & Punisher project. By developing custom machines, controllers and speakers (named Drone/Dub Machines) in order to produce an impressive array of different sounds, merging together doom and industrial music, Tristan Shone tried and succeeded in building his own Frankenstein’s monster.
The sound of the band remains quite distant and dystopian, giving the idea that Author & Punisher are something completely inhuman, more machine than man. And that is when the interest twist comes along. Tristan Shone, instead of simply creating an album that will relentlessly beat you down with its huge, furious sounds and destructive rhythms, takes a step back and includes introverting moments of melancholy. The idea works perfectly, while the duality of the album is disorienting the listeners.
The spooky intro of the title track soon gives place to the cold, menacing industrial vibe of the band, filled with alien frequencies passing through, with the full extent of the weight and extremity of the band hitting you soon after that. The most impressive part in all this is the way that Author & Punisher are able to build up the track, taking their time before unleashing their entire wrath. The level of extremity and heaviness is displayed even further with, what is probably the most punishing moment of the album, “Fearce.” The continuous beating is slowly driving you insane with every drumbeat feeling like a punch straight to your head, plummeting you into the depths of darkness. Reality seems to distort and then expands with the unreal groove and the big vocals on the background giving the music a further sense of space; especially the vocals near the ending of the track are surreal.
On the other hand, the melodic tonality that Author & Punisher are setting with “In Remorse” offers great contrast to their heavier side. The paranoid effects are still at large and the sound is heavy enough, but the attitude of the band seems to be shifted from their destructive path to more melancholic ventures. The same principle is found in “Tame as a Lion,” with the very intriguing melodic piano at the start of the song, while the strange effects are still dominating the background. The song slowly builds up, reaching a boiling point near the end, but never fully erupts. Though, the most humane moment in Women & Children has to be the beginning of the closing track, “Pain Myself.” With a heartbeat sound giving the rhythm of the track, with the melodic vocal lines at large, a lamenting feeling prevails. The track progresses and alters from the melodic, mournful parts to heavy extreme moments.
There are even cases when a mystical sensation occurs. The darkened atmosphere into which you submerge by means of chthonic frequencies in “Melee,” with the band building solid structures out of effects while at the same time trying to crush your brain with their rhythmic patterns. The other mystical track of the album is “Miles From Home,” with the song retaining its minimalistic nature for the first four minutes whiles the vocal effects attract your attention and lead the way. It slowly evolves, introducing rhythm parts but always retaining a certain minimalistic attitude and gloomy nature.
Women & Children is a unique album. Author & Punisher have somehow managed to create an industrial album that is not just destructive, but also has its emotive side. With this alchemy of the machinists, it might just be that in Tristan Shone we have found a new stratospheric colossus of sound.
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