Reviewed by Rex_84 on September 23, 2016
Paul Lemos has been releasing experimental albums through the Controlled Bleeding moniker since 1985. Fans of groups such as Swans and Coil also recognize Controlled Bleeding as a pioneering act in this ilk. “Experimental” is a catch-all phrase that not only denotes non-traditional compositions but also stylistic combinations. Controlled Bleeding’s “Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps” shows Lemo stirring an electro stew of industrial, prog rock, jazz, and metal. The 2CD digipack album features a ton of harsh, layered noise to melt listeners’ brains.
Each track has several instruments playing off-timed rhythms, but it somehow meshes together. No matter how far out to left field he takes a sound, the drums fill in the wide gaps and keep the music moving forward. Those drums really stand out on “Driving Through Darkness” as the hard beat and synth give it a goth/punk leaning reminiscent of Samhain’s intro“Diabolos ‘88.”
While “Larva Lumps…” contains the expected synthesized noise, it has plenty of guitars to keep metalheads happy. Lemos’ guitar playing is certainly noisy and don’t expect metallic industrial grooves, but nonetheless his skill can’t be denied. He plays small-string, solo-type guitar parts. Often, as in the case of “The Perks of Being a Perv,” the guitar works as a climatic instrument. This track constantly raises its notes, keeping the listener on edge but never reaching a true pinnacle. “Garage Dub,” “Trawler’s Song,” and “Return of the Quiet” show Lemos utilizing two guitars. One is rhythmic, bassy and undistorted, while the other is distorted and seems to go in a million directions. “Swarm” features a bass that slides up and down in a Primus-like motion.
Most of the two discs contain instrumentals except the psychotic “Carving Song.” This shows the project at its darkest, creepiest and heaviest. Of course it’s noisy as the guitar runs through transistor noise. John Zorn-ish, crazy saxophone squeals appear near the end of the track. If the harshness of the record becomes too overbearing, listeners can find a soft solace in “As Evening Fades.” This track still features layers of sounds, but the sounds are soothing and meditative. It has a sitting-on-the-porch-at-dusk kind of vibe.
“Larva Lumps and Baby Bumps” can be harsh at times. Noise music can produce headaches, but Controlled Bleeding’s music strikes a balance between extreme sounds and musicality. There has to be a love for experimentation and electro noise to appreciate this album. The average metal head may not get it. However, guitar players should take note of Lemos’ shredding.
Highs: Paul Lemos is a shredding guitar player.
Lows: The album is mostly instrumental.
Bottom line: Worth a listen for fans of experimental music.
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