A shakuhachi flute haunts the listener like the last vestiges of rational civilization as everything else becomes claustrophobic with the proximity of gunfire. While Raised by Wolves and Medea were much more stringent and bombastic in their chaotic fury, Sacred Fury is a crippling spiral of despair and destruction. Events have gone awry, plans have been truly fucked, and while the narrative voice tries to hold onto a sense of humanity and decency, the spontaneous cataclysms of war keep intruding.
Monkeys scream and caper in "Black Rope Hell" while crazed bell ringers and the howl of the wind over a fire-bomed city accompany a tiny chamber ensemble of melting violins in "Votive Offering." "Burning Heat" plunges the listener into one of the Japanese hells populated by mad Taiko drummers and demented Shinto priests caught up in a bizarre chant ritual (with Merzbow and a monkey as the officiating priests just to keep the sonic churn completely overwrought with chaos and brimstone). "Three Pints of Fluid" is the first breath of air in the initial twenty minutes of destructive sonic works and its dark ambience settles over the listener like a miasma of desolation. After the mortars, the bombs, the fighters and the fire, all that remains is the shattered husks of the city and the thousands of restless ghosts
that still haunt the ruined streets. You can hear them in the background like the rustle of dry leaves.
Of course this is only a momentary respite, as the bombast returns with the symphonic and martial title track. "Sacred Fury" is the phoenix that rises from the destruction of civilization. Is it mindless rage bent on revenge -- an eye for an eye, a city for a city -- or is there still some humanity -- some spark of compassion and decency -- to be found in its black heart? Shinjuku Thief's Sacred Fury is a soundtrack of conflict and while there are overt references to martial combat and strife strewn throughout the record, the dissipation of the fury in the final ambient moments will leave the listener to ponder the nature of conflict. Do we create it or do we find it? Can we leave it behind us? Verhagen's work, across all his multi-faceted projects, simply reaches past all the pretension and noise of our lives and strikes at the tribal and wordless core of our beings. How do you react to sound? he asks. How do you react to your world?
Mark Teppo - Igloo