Noise albums can be like zombie movies; you’ve got your enormous, monolithic, punishing walls-of-noise—let’s call them the slow-moving zombies—and then you’ve got the piercing, unstable, volatile kind of musical horror—let’s call them the fast-moving zombies. The new sonic assault from Patrik Dougherty, the one-man-band Mannequin Hollowcaust, falls squarely in the latter camp, unleashing a beast that shifts with every piece, with many more ideas than expected from a noise album.
Household Accidents is a 22-track thrashing that packs a wallop into just over a half-hour, with both analog and digital violence, ultra-distorted shouts, and low-fidelity fuzz treatments that are ominous and disquieting. Although Mannequin Hollowcaust is carving out its own territory, two precursors come to mind. The first is Throbbing Gristle, the mind-bending British industrial forebearers, and the second is Wolf Eyes, the noise-terrorist Michigan band; however, Mannequin Hollowcaust’s material has a greater sense of urgency, going for visceral, aural jabs from improvised prison-made shivs. “Scourge Report” pulses intensely like a jackhammer-powered car alarm, pierced with ear-splitting feedback bursts, and “Impale, She Said” captures the dying cry of suffering electronic equipment, featuring high-frequency squeals and hums with varying timbres, somewhat reminiscent of mid-20th century musique concrete sound artists but more disturbing. The album’s closing number uses an unsettling John Goodman sample from The Big Lebowski to great effect, among the disorder and machine-gun digital percussion, capturing his unhinged moment with awe of his fury yet delivered with a slight smirk.
Terror and horror are two distinct things; terror is a sense of fear, while horror is the feeling evoked by an atrocity. Translated into the musical realm, terror is the build-up while horror is the release. Household Accidents manages to smash terror and horror together, with brutal and abrupt cycles of tension followed by explosions, leaving the listener shaken and covered with debris.