Be my enemy", proclaims Audio Immolation Industries' first album
length release, which less than surprisingly sports the name Fire in the
Head on its cover. Once again Michael Page vents some pressure in the
form of rough, deformed noise at health-endangering volume levels, so
if you're in pursuit of rich melodies and angelic sounds, better start
clicking the browser's back button.
If, for some reason, Fire in the Head is not a familiar name yet, the
best way to describe his sound is an amalgam of harsh noise and power
electronics, where constantly mutating, dirty walls of sound meet vocals
that are often said out in a cold, even tone full of despise. Sometimes,
but only sometimes, the sounds quiet down to a momentary lull, but even
at a full pace FITH's mood is much closer to threatening and menacing
than outright aggression. Something like this should've without question
been on the sound track of Saw, last year's most entertaining comedy,
instead of dumb toned down guitar wankery.
Be My Enemy is a mean disc. It utilises every frequency available from
room shaking basses to debilitating high ends without sounding muddy or
unclear, and every sound seems to have only one purpose: to make the listener
cringe, and the only thing that varies is intensity. Hard, even noise
usually leads to hard, even boredom, but on Be My Enemy the tracks are
sonically varied enough to fend off dullness. Headphones are recommended,
because all the little detail embedded in the cacophony takes the experience
a level further.
My personal favourites are without question the opener When This No Longer
Satisfies, the outright weird Collapsing Sun and the almost melancholy
No One Can Hear You, where the background is ripe with sounds remniscient
of a choir of tortured screams. Even though after repeated listens I consider
the aforementioned trinity to be the definite high points of the album,
the rest of the material is also strong. There's also a remix bonus from
Wertham of When this No Longer Satisfies on the disc. It's a solid piece,
but its most remarkable quality is its similarity to the rest of the cd's
contents, up to the point where without it being stated in the track list,
I would've never guessed the track was remixed by someone else than FITH
There's no point in becoming an enemy of Fire in the Head over this cd.
Instead, a better idea would be to toss the requested amount of cash at
Michael for it and hope that the bucks go into providing us with another
album like this, because Be My Enemy just happens to be that good.
From Vital Weekly:
From the noise department comes Fire In The Head, a project by Micheal
Page, since early 2004. Page was a member of Slogun, when they played
live but after a while he wanted to do his own thing, mixing noise, drones,
dark ambient and power electronics. So far he has released ten CDs/CDRs,
which I didn't hear. So it's not easy to relate the new work 'Be My Enemy'
to that. Ten tracks are to be found here of not just the classical noise
of banging some sheets of metal and feed that through a bunch of distortion,
causing a storm of feedback. Fire In The Head uses synths, distortion,
the usual power-noise vocal screaming, but there are also moments of relative
tranquility, taking things a few steps back, such as 'Daddy's Got A Gun'
(the whole thing with titles of course is the usual thing with the power
noise musicians), which is a spooky affair. Influences by Whitehouse (or
any copyist since them) are never far away, but Fire In The Head gives
the material a strong twist of his own, and makes this into a more than
nice disc of power noise.
I am not
sure if this project's logo is intended to be a hockey reference but as
I wish to honour all Canadian cliches, I'll take this moment to note that
the New York Rangers suck balls like a transvestite hooker $20 short for
her next flap of smack. Go Canucks! That garbage out of the way, Fire
In The Head are one of those acts for which I have been hearing positive
things via that muttered secondhand voice one finds in Internet forums.
Not to mention that in house staple Royce Icon has been wiping up endless
drool from the material he's been sent so far. So the expectation level
was up there when this disc of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers electronics
showed up in my post office box recently. Well, let's check the score
(when you stop groaning of course).
"Be My Enemy" has 10 tracks total with the run time about 45
minutes which shows some restraint plus makes for a tighter release I
think. The material is firmly in the power electronics camp with its heavy
use of vocals, feedback and distortion but absolutely from a contemporary
vantage point: layers and depth as opposed to a raw, stripped down freak
out. The immediate comparison for me would be Thomas Garrison's gift to
the rest of us Control (from me a high compliment indeed) due to the frequency
layout - it's like a circular saw has been taken to the spectrum with
sharp bands of red light blasting through with each scathing pass of the
blade. High end without being frustratingly piercing, dense without being
If one was to call this release highly processed it would be akin to
calling Hurricane Katrina a little windy. This sucker has been through
sonic hell before it made it into the pits of this CD I would hazard,
multi-band compression for sure as it extremely loud and as compact as
a diamond's carbon. Distorted as all get out sure but in a positive way
and any pumping from the extreme compression is more like the sound of
loading a shotgun than a lap dog getting jiggy with your ear lobes. A
tight reverb is wrapped around the entirety which makes for a very lively
sounding recording which helps to unite the disparate mix of effects tweakage,
mid range vocal spew and real world elements. By "real world"
I am referring to the odd sound which appears to have been say a cymbal
or drum hit before it was pushed face first into the effects grinder.
Loops are used but rarely as a steady monotony. Instead, they are brought
in momentarily to show off their gnashing inner workings before a swell
of feedback blasts them to bits. When all these components hit at once,
this disc is downright explosive.
One aspect that did surprise me here was how some of the blunter headstrokes
get replaced by steady throbbing as the release progresses. By about half
way this release starts sounding more like harsh ambient than caustic
power electronics which admittedly shows some range but does change the
timbre of "Be My Enemy" from purely manic to the ragged arc
formed by a full revolution of the mood swing. For example, "No One
Can Hear You"'s surface grit over despondent pad work is like a trail
of tears left on the concrete as you are dragged across the basement floor.
It's no goth like whimper but at times it it would be too dark for Slogun
to venture in.
Whatever the path, this excellent release instantly winds me up. Think
hair on end, fingers twitching, eyes on fire and a deep hunger for more.
From Semtex Zine:
This is interesting. Fire In The Head is a project by Michael Page who
appeared as a guest performer through the awesome power electronics unit
Slogun. Michael decided to start his own harsh noise powerlectronics project
under the name Fire In The Head. After releasing several demos and some
releases on the Japanese Denshi Zatsuon, Nihilist Records and the legendary
RRR Records. For me this is the first time I'm getting to know Fire In
The Head with his latest effort "be my enemy".
What you hear is what you get. 10 tracks of dark distorted industrial
feeled power electronics, with a harsh brutal death manner. Almost like
a travelogue in to the mind of Michael Page, the first track "when
this no longer satisfies" sets the mood for the entire cd, a dark
breeding harsh composition with distorted mangled vocals. Shouting out
his words on metalized distorted harsh power electronic sounds. This first
track feels more like an opener for what still has to come.
"Daddy's got a gun" is one psychopatic trip of a disturbed
head and mind, by which a story gets revealed on a densing floor of ambientesque
noise. This one is pretty scary and makes me feel like psycho, like some
frigging serial killer stuff. It's the longest track on here that makes
it up to six minutes, while all the others clock out around four minutes.
Up next is "prettier things" and it's good to hear Fire In The
Head flaming up the heat with this track as this one is pure power electronics
mixed up with distorted harsh sounding vocals. The whole thing is getting
to collapse into a wall of straight on harsh noise brutality.
Throughout the ten songs you get on this cd by Fire In The Head I definitely
can conclude that besides the sheer brutality Michael is aiming at he
still manages to create a stable diversity throughout his power electronics/harsh
noise. While "sometimes, just sometimes" has more of an ambient
feel, and "submit/succumb" relays more on the vocals, I thought
a track such as "fear becomes complacency" could be counted
amongst my favorites here. Relaying on an ambientesque layers, creating
a darkened blackened mangled landscape where primitive thoughts and lusts
get in conflict with each other. A pretty dark soundtrack to your lonesome
With last three tracks closing off this "be my enemy" I can
conclude that Fire In The Head delivered quite of an impressive disc here
with dark industrialized harsh power electronics. Dark, blackened brutal
and psycho. I can only think of stuff like Sickness, Slogun, Lockweld,
RRR Records, Facialmess, The Grey Wolves and Freak Animal Friend Records
and Japanese harsh noise as the main influence. Good stuff, and eventually
you get what you want from Fire In The Head. Good stuff. Comes in a full
Fire in the Head is back!! I screamed this from the ninth floor of my
des res council flat to the ants walking below and garnered not one look
up in my direction. Total and abject apathy was shown. This is more likely
down to the fact that I’m perceived / considered to be a person
with extreme mental health problems who shouts a lot from skyscraper balcony’s
and not down to the artist in question...the mighty Michael Page. He who
has released copious recordings on cd and cdr format…I’ve
just run out of fingers and am now onto my toes to keep count…and
someone that I’ve reviewed in the past for this very site. Some
of the reviews I think he may have liked. Hope so anyway. Feedback should
be a two way thing. Builds a bond between reviewer and artist that lasts
until the first shitty review. That bond won’t be broken, by me
anyway, today. For Fire in the
Head is back!!! Note the extra exclamation for effect. Time to rejoice
People often wonder what purgatory is like. You’re dead and your
poor soul is in temporary suffering until finally all sins are purged
and you’re allowed to sit by the shoulder of God. Well I don’t
know what it looks like but I bet it sounds like a lot like "Be My
Enemy". The ten tracks on this latest excursion down old extreme
power electronics way is everything you expect it to be. Perhaps even
more so for this time Michael has nailed it sonically. Surging white noise
riding the crest of the damnation wave. Electronic music as a form of
aural torture. High decibel frequencies so intensified and dense that
overload of the brain is inevitable. The screams of the artist mimicked
by the listener as pain thresholds are stepped over and crushed. Respite
from the assault ever so brief before recommencing with even more ferocity.
The background ambience barely discernable above the unmitigated clamour.
Music as punishment sternly doled out and gratefully accepted. A Pandora’s
box for the unwary and ill informed. The sounds unleashed a squirming
mass out of control causing chaos to all within its path.
This is the sound of Michael Page. Rage and despair brought kicking and
squealing into your home. How it differs from his past efforts is a hard
one to call. Think of "Be My Enemy" as a natural progression
from the previous releases where everything that had gone before was merely
building up to this release. Where the cumulative ideas finally merge
together more coherently and cleanly making for an opus of grand intensity
and design. Michael Page is back. Fire in the Head is back. Purgatory
to delight the twisted corrupted sinning masses.
45 minutes of ‘hostile noise’ released on F/T/H/’s
own label. Again a loud and threatening mixture of power electronics and
death ambient, this time with a bigger role for brutal vocals and evil
sampled voices, a bit like NTT. There are even lyrics printed at Fire
in the Head’s website. Of course don’t expect any romantic
poetry. The first line is ‘You have no idea what I am capable of’,
but I’m not sure if I want to know at all. I find “Be my Enemy”
one of the most interesting releases of the American project so far, because
of its greater variation in styles and sounds, instead of plain noise.
The bigger vocal/textual aspects also help to give the music a deeper
dimension. Favourite tracks: ‘When this no longer satisfies’
From Club Debil:
Auch die zweite CD von Michael Page aka Fire In The Head bewegt sch im
gewohnten PowerNoise-Terrain. "Be My Enemy" kommt jedoch soundtechnisch
ein ganzes Stück klarer daher als sein Vorgänger. Zum einen
wirkt das Gehörte wesentlich kraftvoller - wahrscheinlich aufgrund
eines verbesserten Mixings. Zum anderen haben auch Samples in das Programm
Einzug gehalten. Zudem setzt Page seine Stimme etwas differenzierter ein:
es wird nicht nur geschrieen, sondern auch (elektronisch verstärkt)
geflüstert. Damit unterscheidet er sich ein wenig von anderen Genreprodukten,
auch die bereits auf "Come Closer Cut Deeper" enthaltenen klaren
Keyboardsounds Marke Ambient Drones sind auf dieser CD wieder zu hören.
Besonders deutlich treten die bei Titel 7 "Fear becomes complacency
" zu Tage. Ansonsten zwitschern wieder die kranken Sounds durch das
Gehör, dass es eine wahre Freude ist. Dabei eignet sich das Ganze
weniger zum "Tanzen" als zum "Faust in der Tasche ballen".
Sicher; Michael Page hat das Genre nicht neu erfunden, doch immerhin ist
er mit dem, was er tut, überzeugend.