Abelcain & Cdatakill: Passage
Ad Noiseam

Thunderous breakcore is alive and well—at least in the minds of Abelcain (Marty Frank) and Cdatakill (Zak Roberts), who team up for seventy minutes of bone-crushing beatsmithing on Passage . The collection includes tracks from two split 12-inch outings (Six Stigmata and Playing with Knives, issued by Zhark Intl and Low Res in 2002) along with four new collaborations. Strap yourself in ‘cos the American producers take no prisoners in this uncompromising exercise in aural ferocity.

Hard-hitting beats are front and center in Abelcain's three opening cuts, with piano, strings, and voices (choirs, conversation fragments) doing battle with furious rhythms that hammer relentlessly. Beats briefly subside during “Canto V,” a nightmarish evocation that suggests workers condemned to back-breaking labour in the depths of hell before Cdatakill takes the stage with a trio of tracks that's slightly subtler in design and as focused on atmospheric sci-fi mood painting as chopping heads (the blistering “Falling From The Sky” showcases the full measure of Roberts' attack).

Up next are the four pieces from the Playing With Knives 12-inch in which each remixes the other's tracks. Though Abelcain's remix of Cdatakill's “Nothing Can Damn My Soul” actually manages to work in the gentle pluck of an acoustic guitar, the instrument's almost buried by the beat storm that detonates throughout the song. Hold on when the heavy artillery of Cdatakill's “Imperial Passage” rolls out A mood of dystopic gloom cloaks the material as cryptic voice samples and haunted atmosphere appear amidst thrashing beat fusions of drum'n'bass and breakcore. In keeping with the Herzog film, Abelcain's string-heavy “Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes” (remixed by Cdatakill) is gothic and ethereal in spirit—ambient, even—and the piece provides some welcome moments of meditative calm in this context.

The closing quartet again finds the duo again remixing each other, though this time in 2008. While there's no lessening in intensity in Cdatakill's “Raining Glass” and “Tornado Sirens” (both remixed by Abelcain), traces of funk clearly surface amidst the tracks' marauding beat crunch. For his part, Abelcain obviously hasn't mellowed in the six-year interim, if the hellacious fury unleashed in “Musica Domestica” is any indication (given its encompassing sampling of beat styles, it's a prime representative of the collection as a whole). Without question, Passage's relentlessness can make it headache-inducing but one presumes that that's at least in part what the artists have in mind.

March 2009