Warped Vision

Wolf Eyes makes the kind of music that burrows into your skull like a hungry maggot.

Κείμενο Michael Bray
01 december 2004, 12:00am

Photos by the author

Wolf Eyes makes the kind of music that burrows into your skull like a hungry maggot. It’s all screaming, atonal moans and chainsaw buzz combined with blood thumping bass kicks and fried bubbling brains and it’s as scary as shit.

Pioneered by electronics crazed Nate Young in 1997, Wolf Eyes have slowly raped the history of experimental and industrial music and synthesiser design. They’ve released countless demo tapes which are basically documents of late night jams on acid, gained members like flies to a carcass, collaborated and played with a who’s who of new noise royalty (Black Dice, Kites, Vikki and Animal Collective to name a few) and most recently released their most brutal album yet, Burned Mind, in a baffling first major waltz with Sub Pop. Nate Young also designs most of the artwork for their album covers and it’s just as insane as their music. He silk screens twisted screaming skulls being ravaged by massive crows and releases are generally limited to 500 copies.

Operating on a vague assumption that trippy music and album design go hand in hand with smoking vast quantities of prime, sticky Adelaide hydro, I asked some stoner buddies if they minded submitting themselves to the last five major Wolf Eyes releases, and passing criticism on the artwork and sounds. They agreed.

Slicer, 2001.
Cover artwork by John Olson.

Yama forgot the cone for the hookah so a joint is passed around instead.

Damien: It’s like old man evil has taken over the stereo.

Tim: Can we get slushies?

A bong is then found under the sink and someone says they should play “double ups”. The aim is to pull a whole cone, and while you hold your breath another is packed. Your first exhaling breath must be followed by immediately pulling another bong.

Tim: The cover reminds me of when Aboriginals did paintings in their day and they were cannibals.

Damien and Yama don’t seem to be able to speak after this.

Dread, 2001.
Cover artwork by Nate Young.

Another joint. Everybody simultaneously imitates the act of using a chainsaw in time with the music.

Damien: This is much more attention grabbing…it reminds me of ‘SWANS’.

Tim: My head!

I am cajoled into going to buy slushies and when I come back they are sitting silent. The stereo has been turned off.

Tim: The cover looks like a crazy tree laughing under the moon.

Yama: It’s a fucking werewolf!

Damien: It’s a dude standing on a boat with a palm tree. You can see it disappearing into the mountains, there’s a clear path…

Tim and Yama: Oh yeah.
  Dead Hills, 2002.
Cover artwork by Nate Young.

Everyone smokes a massive cone.

Yama: This is fucken awesome! Sounds like Neurosis.

Tim: This is buuuullllshitttt.

Damien: It’s very black metal.

Tim: Can we stop now, please?

Everyone smokes another joint.

Tim: Oh no! The cover looks like a cottage with massive animals instead of a roof…a bird…a hedgehog…a mouse…and a dolphin.

Yama: Heaps of teeth—like an elephant in a pig mask.

Damien: A dead bird, and I think, like some kind of dinosaur cut in half with a tail.
  Smegma And Wolf Eyes, 2003.
Cover artwork by Ju Suk Reet Meate of Smegma.

Yama cannot stop laughing.

Yama: Whoa, it’s Ernie and Bert.
Another joint.

Tim: So the Wolf Eyes part is the noise, and the people tapping shit is the hippies?

Tim: Dude, the cover looks like a hippie train with an eye.

Yama: It looks like a WOMAD poster.

Damien: World Vision pygmy artwork.
  Burned Mind, 2004.
Cover artwork by Nate Young.

Tim: It sounds like Marilyn Manson.

Tim: Are we done? There’s a crow pecking some skulls on the cover and it is called Burned Mind.

Yama and Damien: Yep.
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