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On their first record, The Towers Are Burning, Oakland, California's Noisegate are a devastating powerhouse, creating four huge, ominous dronescapes sprawling across 60 minutes. Noisegate's sound occupies a nether region somewhere between the quarter speed muscularity of Earth, the death ambient experiments of Lustmord, and the ear splitting noise of Merzbow, all delivered with the glacial ferocity of grindcore 45s played at 16rpm. With The Towers Are Burning, Noisegate unleashes a nightmarish wall of impenetrable sound that includes waves of uneasy ambience constructed from teutonic rumbles, washes of tranquil humming disrupted by violent squalls of hyper-distorted slow motion riffs, and crushing sludge shattered into a thousand hypnotic pulses. Despite all of this, it is easy to recognize that there is a metal background buried just below the surface of Noisegate's past. The Towers Are Burning flexes the band's metal muscles with a slow-motion grindcore chug that forces its way through the ominous drones.

If metal is to be seen as a form of adolescent transgression -- with archetypes of rebellion, debauchery, and self-willed glory -- the sound of Noisegate is the grown-up intelligence of metal's transgressive behavior. As evidenced by "Alamogordo," instead of releasing an artifact of infantile rage, The Towers Are Burning is a calculated and virile attempt to extract fear and horror from sound, presenting a devastating and uneasy aural landscape for the listener. The Towers Are Burning possesses the ultra-lumbering brutality of death metal devoid of a propulsion system, taking even the likes of Godflesh and Skullflower deeper into the pit, drowning the listener in static chaos. "Chorale," taken from Noisegate's second release, Suspended Animation, Ambient Vol. I, demonstrates the more drone-oriented ambient side of the group.

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