Review this album
Jul 4, 2013Margaret Chardier is a 22 New Yorker, she is Pharmakon, and she brings us Abandon.
The album is volatile and atmospheric, it is dark and uneasy, it is painful to listen to, but you never leave. It's like a haunted house, you go in knowing that you will be scared, that you won't like it, but it still fascinates you, it puts you, it entrances you into a state of awe.
The abrasive blood curdling vocals on "Milkweed/It Hangs Heavy" really puts you in the thick of it. This album is not a pretty glistening pop gem, it is dark noise with drone thrown about the mix of all the tracks. There feels like a lot of hurt and emotion in the vocals, with lyrics that may be indistinguishable, but I don't care because, unlike a lot of music that uses screaming over singing, in Metalcore for example, I still feel that they draw your attention, a cry out for help, a cry out in abandonment.
The album, with it's four tracks and one bonus track moves from strong song to strong song. It never feels heavy though, sure you have to be familiar with Noise Rock, and darker genres, maybe listen to SunnO))) but it is listenable, definitely not commercial or easily accessible, but I get enjoyment out of listening to this, a lot more than most records that seem to get lost in themselves.
With the short amount of tracks comes long running lengths. Each song, even in "Crawling on Bruised Knees" which is my favourite feels under-developed. It's only in the bonus track "Sour Sap", that lasts for almost half an hour where you get something on a grander scale, but that still feels like many songs in one.
This album is great though, I truly love listening to this. It takes you away from the stale of reality and puts you into a lonely dark hole and makes you love every minute of it. Overall, if your looking for an enjoyable dark journey that will haunt you, then pick it up.… Expand
Sep 3, 2014Pharmakon—AKA Margaret Chardiet—has received more attention from the masses for Abandon's admittedly ugly album artwork more than the EP's even uglier sound—seriously, if Alice Glass' vocals on Crystal Castles' 2010 song "Doe Deer" challenged your eardrums, Chardiet is going to slice, stab, and mutilate your ears with her black metal-esque screams that sound like she's, well, getting sliced, stabbed, and mutilated in the darkest part of the woods. Maybe it was recorded during the shooting of death metal band Cattle Decapitation's extremely NSFW music video for "Forced Gender Reassignment", I don't know.
To call Abandon atmospherically dark is an understatement—it's even kind of scary to listen to if you're at your home alone at night. It's not meant for casual ears ("Milkweed/It Hangs Heavy" builds on the sonically Silent Hill-esque momentum and climaxes into Chardiet's indistinguishable screams of anguish that'll strike the senses in even some of the most devoted noise listeners). By far, "Crawling on Bruised Knees" is the most ambitious track on the EP: one of the most effective drumbeats of 2013 accompany grinding synths that sound like the eerie spaceship level on a '90s video game and Chardiet's gurgled vocals that, for all you know, could be summoning the dead to come and take your life by the end of the song, who knows.
As another review here has mentioned, Abandon is like walking through a haunted house that you know you won't like, but you're still somehow fascinated. Pharmakon has made a very, very unique EP that's certainly one of the most memorable noise—or whatever the hell you could call a genre like this—records of the 2010s. Here's a challenge for ya—I quadruple-dog-dare you to get through the bonus track "Sap Sour", which is half an hour in length, with your headphones on full blast while you're out in the woods during the darkest night of the year. If you succeed, you were probably possessed by whatever ominous demon Chardiet is summoning somewhere in there.… Expand