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Women & Children Review

I have to be entirely up-front and say that industrial music, especially something as provocative and grim as Author and Punisher, is a new foray for me. The collision of metal and electronic music has always left me a skeptical in some ways, as I am oft reminded of bands such as Static-X or various artists from the Blade 1, 2, and 3 soundtracks. However, to lump Author and Punisher into that would be horribly idiotic and in no way am I attempting to do that. Rather, I see Author and Punisher in the same realm as industrial metal heavyweights and household names such as Jesu and Godflesh. Since listening to Women & Children, I’ve grown to value something I often discredited, which is indicative of the value of this album in general. So forgive me if I sound strange throughout this review because I’m tackling it from a place of newness, but understand that this piece of music is without a doubt remarkably woven and created by a highly creative and musically-learned individual.

Through some research I’ve found that the man behind Author and Punisher, Tristan Shone, is a mechanical engineer and metal sculptor who has created all of his own performance equipment; ranging from a contact microphone “arm” and an almost Saw-like vocal piece (don’t hate me for that reference) which distorts and complexifies his voice. Women & Children is the follow up to his popular and genre-breaking second album, Ursus Americanus. As I dove into my research on Shone, I found myself wholly captivated by live performance videos shot over the course of 2013. As a performer, he is without a doubt the perfect blend of man and machine; a musical cyborg locked into a rig that is both dark and twisted. Shone crafts a truly dense and unbridled set of doom and drove-inspired music, all of which is accompanied by a visceral, emotionally-rich live performance.


The opening track of Women & Children is highly reminiscent of the drum machine compositions in Godflesh, except it is littered with moments of crickets and buzzing flies. Soon after, massive waves of synth crush and pulverize the listener in deeply opiate manner. Shone’s voice casts a heavy bleakness upon the track which is accompanied by a dynamic, never faltering push and pull. The bass is a key factor to examine within the track, as it juxtaposes itself with the subjugation of the synths.

After having listened to both Ursus Americanus and Women & Children, there is an interesting relationship between the two albums. Where Ursus is without a doubt the most oppressive of the two, Women & Children wanders towards moments of emotion and mechanical collusion. During the track “In Remorse,” Shone sings cleanly which allows the listener a rare glimpse into the true sound behind the electronic monolith that is Author and Punisher. This theme of humanity follows throughout the album and returns later in the track “Tame as a Lion” in which Author and Punisher dabbles in piano and even allows himself a chorus. While Shone perpetuates a distant sadness in his words, there is a clear orientation towards hope amidst bleakness. These moments of piano show a new side to the oft densely crafted tracks of Author and Punisher, allowing for one to understand the project as something more than punishing.


With this new creative style in mind Women & Children conveys itself as a torn down version of a previously cataclysmic band. While it distances itself from the misery and destruction in Ursus Americanus it is more rhythmic and unafraid. Tracks such as “Miles From Home” and “Fearce” express a newfound sense of creativity in Shone’s music as they prove to be more developed and less overwhelming in their nature. More so, what they lack in anger they make up for in a calming, almost subversive empathy.

Ultimately, while I know very little about the genre and the artist beyond a day’s worth of research and hours of live videos, I found myself wholly pleased by the transition between Ursus Americanus and Women & Children. While I can’t really judge Shone as an artist in terms of genre-based quality, I do highly respect the growth and creativity which this project expresses. If anything it has served itself up as an entry point for me to dive deeper into the genre and explore the circuitry and tortured moods of industrial metal artists beyond Justin Broaderick projects. Without a doubt, fans of industrial metal will flock to this album with a heightened curiosity towards the evolution of the genre and the creativity of one man’s work. I highly recommend this, even if from a level of non-understanding, as it is an album that is truly creative in ways that I cannot even begin to describe.

Tristan Shone’s website

Author and Punisher bandcamp

Author and Punisher facebook


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