Label Feature: Altar of Waste Records

This might not appeal to a lot of the metal fans that reads our site, but I know there are a lot of fans of noise out there, so I'd urge all of you to check this label out.

Many of you will remember the Dreamless CD, All This Sorrow, All These Knives, put out by Handmade Birds a couple of years ago, which for some unknown reason, is still available (here). In fact, a lot of people have just recently been turned on to this album, and to the band. That's great. It's criminal how few people know about that album, considering how absolutely amazing it is. Listen to it once and it will have your head spinning for days.

One of the members of Dreamless, a fellow named Cory Strand (who is also a member of Yog-Sothoth and Kafka Dreams), also has this label called Altar of Waste. He has issued some other Dreamless material on his label - for example, just a day ago he released the Dreamless split with Planning for Burial, which sold out just about instantly - but for the most part, the label focuses on HNW (harsh noise wall, for the uninitiated), drone, and dark ambient recordings. The editions are highly limited, but are always fantastic - if you like this sort of stuff, and maybe even if you don't. I'm personally very selective about the HNW and dark ambient that I listen to, but I've got almost every Altar of Waste release, and I have not been let down, not even once. This is one label that I am always sure to support - once a new release is out, I buy it, whether or not I've heard of the artist and whether or not I have any money, because I've come to trust Cory's taste by now.

Some of the best recordings on Altar of Waste are Cory Strand's solo albums, which are obviously nothing like his band's material. Two things that I have found to be especially poignant are his soundtrack reworkings (on such films as The Thin Red Line, Halloween, Hellraiser, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, The Shining, A Serious Man, and many others), and his reconstructions and deconstructions of the works of quite a few pop starlets, including Pink, Ellie Goulding, Avril Lavigne, and Lindsay Lohan (the Lindsay Lohan reworking, Punishment Will Be Severe, came out on Occult Supremacy, a fine HNW label in it's own right, though Cory has copies for sale as well). I'm particularly excited for the just-released album Cory did with Love Katy, a HNW project that breaks down and celebrates the work of Katy Perry, and a project that I think has inspired Cory a good deal. Cory's exploration of the sounds of Weezer's Pinkerton is pretty amazing too. He's got a bunch of other really outstanding works as well - some under his name, some not - but suffice to say they're all pretty damn genius.

Besides his own works, Cory has put out albums by Crown of Bone, Love Katy, Clive Henry, Dead Body Collection, Culver, Burial Ground, Vomir, and a whole host of others. It's also important to note that there is an aesthetic and presentation common to all Altar of Waste releases. They're all CDrs, and all come packaged in DVD cases, with layouts and artwork often done by Cory himself. Many of the albums are multi-CDr packs as well - the Thin Red Line reworking was 6 CDrs, and a coming Cory Strand box set will be 12 CDrs. The most important part, though, is the music, and I can't emphasize enough that the music (and non-music) coming out on this label is fantastic. Across the board - I can think of few other labels who's releases are consistently this amazing.

Like I said, if you're not into noise, drone, or dark ambient stuff, you might not be into this label, but if you're looking to explore the genres, this is a great place to start, as the label releases only the highest of quality. And if you're already a fan of any of those genres, you've got to pick up some of the fine stuff Altar of Waste has to offer. Some of my favorite releases are Lindskold's The Majesty of the Lidless Eye (sold out, sorry), Dead Body Collection's This is My Home, Carrion Black Pit's Necronomicon, Culver's Circle of Scars, Crown of Bone's The Serpent and the Rainbow, and any and all of the Cory Strand releases. I highly recommend the Lindsay Lohan reworking that just recently came out on Occult Supremacy - there's a great variety of sounds at work on that release and I seriously cannot get enough of it.

More info on Altar of Waste can be found here. The webshop can be found here.

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