Author & Punisher is more than your average solo metal project. It's the industrial equivalent of the very literal one-man bands you see on the street corner. Yeah, those dudes with the drum rigged to their back, cymbals triggered by their feet, and an accordion. Except Tristan Shone commits this idea to gears and steal. He's the Tony Stark of one-man bands. Iron Man is based on his story. Okay, maybe that last part is a stretch, but suffice it to say that Tristan and his machines have accomplished something truly superhuman in Melk En Honing.
One of the many great things about this album are the minimalist lyrics. Author & Punisher has developed a mastery of shocking with a few very visual words, not unlike the work of Lord Mantis. "The Barge" repeats the cryptic mantra of "No peace, no faith." Messages like this leave you in a cesspool of nihilism. The delivery, especially on closer "Void, Null, Alive," is both hypnotic and illustrative. The haunting, almost atonal, singing on "Shame" contrasts harshly with the violent eruptions of pessimistic bile. This is just one example of the excellent use of vocal layering. Meanwhile, the pulsating notes of Tristan's machines are undulations of cyborg sex. The debauchery comes to a head on "Teething," which just sounds downright dirty.
But more than anything, Melk En Honing feels like a love note to industrial music. "Cauterize" filled me with nostalgia for Ministry and The Process era Skinny Puppy while "Future Man" has a very NIN sounding outro. "Disparate" thumps around with equal parts Manson aggression and Ohgr levity. "Callous and Hoof" sounds like Wisconsin Death Trip being played on a cassette as it's eaten by your stereo. The vocals, intentionally or not, even sound different from the other tracks, as if Wayne himself has taken possession from beyond.
And besides being a tongue-in-cheek summation of the societal themes within, even the title seems to reference classic industrial and industrial metal acts. Land of Rape and Honey? Perhaps milk could refer to "Blood, Milk, and Sky" from White Zombie's quintessential Astrocreep: 2000? Maybe I'm just reading too much into it, but it all gives me an industrial nerdgasm. Hm... Sounds like a great album title. I thought for sure there would be answers in the use of Dutch, but it turns out that this is a tribute to Tristan's sometimes arduous travels in the region and the resulting appreciation of hard work and self-reliance. I know I can't imagine lugging that type of equipment all over the Netherlands. You can preorded the album (out June 30) RIGHT HERE "May the chaos reign."