Genital Shame – Lion Piss + Arm Vulnerability
3.6.23 by Matty McPherson
There was a point before my decent headphones broke and the holidays happened and it was suddenly the middle of February. It was a sunsoaked November day before Thanksgiving and I had to leave the house; I needed a book I had spotted a week earlier in Berkeley that I knew was only a bus trip away. I had been on something of a Scarcity kick around that time, with a burgeoning interest in Aveilut’s symphonic characteristics that often pushed the music out of black metal and into straight gothic industrial noise scowling. There was a thought line and even immense nods to downtown music that I was inkling with more than approaching it from straight black metal tropes. It reinforced a personal belief that the fidelity and speed of the tape are second to the pure underlying riffage and unique displays of intensely carnal visions. That is when I mend with black metal in the present.
I was a bit dazed I’ll admit, especially when I had finally taken a dive into Genital Shame’s Lion Piss + Arm Vulnerability cassingle/EP type beat. When I heard it back then I was gripped by the ambience, a different intensity outside of immediate black metal sound aesthetics that gave me something to grip on to. For, West Virginian Erin Dawson and her C15 is a concise, deft batch of homespun cuts that display a sound palette that is not so much as going full into black metal, but seeing it in a larger tapestry that connects to varying intensities of Dawson’s own endeavors in her life. To make this music is a personal project and approach it from this manner can be seen as a critique, but that can often miss reveling in the noise of a singular entity so esteemed and precise and Dawson.
Her sound is still perhaps assuming an evolved form beyond what we have been left with today. This is not appalachian folk-tinged black metal, nor symphonic black metal, nor blackened pop metal; Dawson’s 3 cuts err closer to though to the revolutionary “last flag standing” apocalypse worlds of Constellation Records. The emphasis on acoustic guitar (specifically during the final cut) put it more towards Mt. Silver Zion’s somber soundscapes, with tingles of the raw catharsis that has always defined Efrim. However, both Gnostienne and Ego non sum trust-fund puer recall the work of the sorely missed Lungbuter–not exactly a metal outfit mind you, but an absolute wonder trio when it came to fuzz. And across those swift blast beats and moments of jagged droned out ambience, there’s a lotta fuzz on the hi-fi. And yet, these 3 cuts all retains a carnal, jagged vision that also entices and invites comparison towards code-breakers (Liturgy), agnostics (Sprain), and revolutionary spirits (Agriculture) without playing to black metal trope adherently. Needless to say, it fits well with that weird lineup of Flenser tapes I’ve started to amass, and is quite pretty as the newest Pink Tape in the collection.
The tape sat in a holding cell without much of a second consideration of when to revisit or WHY NOT revisit it daily. I’ve re-opened the tape for the first time in a few moths and I’m still entranced by it’s simplicity. More than a mere proof of concept, Genital Shame’s “Lion Piss + Arm Vulnerability” is a staunchly gripping introduction to Dawson’s work. From its snarled swagger to acoustic vulnerability, whatever she’s cooking with down the line is to be of consideration.
Limited Tape Available at the Genital Shame Bandcamp Page