Disc one:
  1/  Parish of Tama (Ossuary Dub)               (PainKiller)                 16.05
  2/  Morning of Balachaturdasi                  (PainKiller)                 14.45
  3/  Pashupatinath                              (PainKiller)                 13.47
 Disc two:
  4/  Pashupatinath - Ambient                    (PainKiller)                 20.00
  5/  Parish of Tama - Ambient                   (PainKiller)                 19.19

 Disc three: Live in Osaka
  1/  Gandhamadana                               (PainKiller)                 13.00
  2/  Vaidurya                                   (PainKiller)                 9.00
  3/  Satapitaka                                 (PainKiller)                 11.00
  4/  Bodkyithangga                              (PainKiller,Eye)             13.00
  5/  Zorn/Eye duo encore                        (Zorn,Eye)                   9.05
      a/ Black Bile
      b/ Yellow Bile
      c/ Crimson Bile
      d/ Ivory Bile

          Recorded and mixed at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Engineering: Oz Fritz
          Engineering on disc two: Robert Musso
          Assistant: Layng Martine
          Disc three recorded live in Osaka, Japan
          Produced by PainKiller
          Subharmonic: Ambient Bob Soares
          Material Inc.: Tracy McKnight
          Axiom/Ambient: Peter Wetherbee/Bill Murphy
John Zorn: saxophone, voice; Bill Laswell: basses, samples; Mick Harris: drums, samples, voice; Yamantaka Eye (Disc three): voice.

          1994 - Subharmonic (US),  SD  7008-2  (2CD)
          1994 - Subharmonic (US),  SD  #1708  (2CD Ltd. Ed. in Marble Box)
          1994 - Subharmonic (US),  SD  #1708  (2CD Ltd. Ed. in metal)
          1995 - Toy's Factory (Japan),  TFCK 887313  (3CD)
          2016 - Karl Records (Germany) (2Vinyl) - due in late September
Note: The Subharmonic version does not contain Disc three.
Note: The Subharmonic Limited Editions were limited to 250 each.
Note: The Karl Records vinyl omits track 3 of disc one and does not contain the live disc.


Well, the twisted team of LASWELL, ZORN and HARRIS have done it again. This time, they've created music almost completely unlike their past efforts. The tweaking, screeching alto sax of Avant-Jazz composer JOHN ZORN is still present, as are BILL LASWELL's throbbing bass noise and MICK HARRIS' thundering percussion, but... The music is a radical jump from the material that appeared on "Guts Of A Virgin" and only a short hop from "Buried Secrets", which featured the masterful JUSTIN and BENNY of GODFLESH fame on a couple of near-ambient tracks. As with BROADRICK and HARRIS' other project, SCORN (which JUSTIN has since left), PAINKILLER has begun to drown itself in the isolated dimensions of Hardcore Ambient Dub, swinning through the amniotic air, layer upon layer of textured sound. The double CD features one disc with three tracks, none of which last for less than sixteen minutes, whereas "Guts Of A Virgin" featured about four tracks which lasted less than a minute each. "Buried Secrets" also has its share of short bursts. No such phenomenon appears on this newest effort, however. Disc Two is the ambient disc, featuring two 'remixed' versions of two tracks from disc one, which actually bear nothing in common with their namesakes aside from the titles. The material on disc two is far superior to that on disc one, some really incredible stuff, bubbling away into the night, sample over sample, sounds wafting up from outer space, the most incredible track being "Parish Of Tama Ambient" an amazing nineteen-minute, nineteen-second long track full of haunting beauty. All in all, "Execution Ground" is an awesome album.



Painkiller is such an iffy proposition. Though the pedigree of the three musicians involved is extremely high, there is that tendency of the trio to delve into freeform music that borders on intolerable and pointless. Buried Secrets is a great example of how Painkiller goes to great lengths to make their music appealing to a very small, select group of listeners. And chances are, Painkiller cares not.

Execution Ground is a bit more palatable and digestible than their previous effort. Though the first track, "Parish of Tama (Ossuary Dub)", starts out in the unstructured, free for all mode, it finally settles into a more interesting ambient soundscape atmosphere after six minutes or so. The dichotomy between the jarring noises the open the album to the more expansive sound collages shows that either my tastes cannot stand John Zorn's noisy sax bleating or that uncontrolled music is precisely that, uncontrolled. Once Bill Laswell and Mick Harris settle into a sonically pleasing dub pattern, Zorn's sax inclusion sounds much more appropriate, even if there are times where it sounds like a kitten mewling. All three tracks on the first disc are lengthy and travel rather aimlessly, though a lot of the journey is intriguing along the way. Those with short attention spans might long for someone to take Harris, Zorn and Laswell aside and suggest that some trimming be done here and there. The second "ambient" disc takes two of the three tracks and reworks them into the ambient motif. There actually isn't a whole lot of difference between the two discs, other than disc two is a bit more atmospheric and expansive. The mood is creepier at times and somewhat unsettling, but who said ambient music has to be happy and undemanding new age?

Painkiller's Execution Ground is indeed a more interesting release than Buried Secrets. Some of the excessive traits of the trio do give much creedence to those who suggest avant garde music can often become self-indulgent exercises in pointless music, but this double CD set retains enough substance to be worth investigating.

John Chedsey (courtesy of the Satan Stole My Teddy Bear website)