Acid Goose - Perpetual Torment (Album Review)

The sociologist Margee Kerr has the most incredible job title in the world; fear scientist. Through her research of fear at the University of Pittsburgh, Kerr has found that scary scenes, such as those in horror movies, trigger our flight-or-fight response, offering a free dose of adrenaline. This explains why listening to Perpetual Torment by Acid Goose is entertaining, despite feeling like you've found yourself trapped in an abandoned hospital at night. There's a terrifying quality to the music of this anonymous Dublin-based electronic artist. Bent on making you squirm, the fearmonger creates unnerving and highly environmental soundscapes on his debut album, a collection of 11 thoughtfully produced tracks arranged for a linear, hair-raising listening experience.

Like waking up into a nightmare, "Tortured Soul" opens the album with static vibrations, demonic splutters, and eerie textures. However, the album is not all formless, meandering horror. The industrial sounds of "Unwelcoming" introduce a strong percussive element, with sustained drum hits morphing into pockets of alternating deathly noise and dead silence. Themes of perverted sci-fi are supplied via track titles and glitchy electronics, which inspire cultural associations of a horrifying deep space. An example would be "Dystopian Exoplanet", a short but effective piece that conjures its setting through rising tones and factoried percussion. Also, the celestial coolness of "Havoc" sees forboding frequencies act as surrogates for notes. While most of the album relies on the creepiness of its sounds for effect, tracks such as "Bodies of Terror", with its surging bassline and rhythmic melodies, or "The Laboratory", which builds distant elements into a haunted house of tense sounds, showcase a musicality hiding under the mud. Elsewhere, "Gore" sounds like instrumental death metal with most of the EQ chopped away; its thick wall of distortion alludes to heavy riffs and headbanging drums without sacrificing any of its vague mystique.

A dark and acutely visceral listen, Perpetual Torment is not for the faint of heart. Acid Goose has a distinctive way of building terrifying worlds with sound, worlds that are alive with mood and feeling. This abstract, often difficult, and dark music might make you feel a little weak in the stomach, but you will appreciate the adrenaline.