Whitehouse will make you its bitch in two minutes.
Good. Now that you read the above sentence then you know what to expect from this UK extreme noise outlet.
Thanks to the internet Whitehouse has newfound re-discovery, although I’m sure that not too many people outside the noise genre were happy to discover it. The idea of tweezing high-pitched frequencies, roaring-engine synths, crumbled samples, and vocals loud enough for even the deaf to hear once again is enough to drive anyone not ready for their sonic assault right on the floor begging to have it all stop.
That is the sound of Whitehouse, a period of barrages, screams, and sonic torture. Creator and vocalist William Bennett wanted it that way: his dream turned reality by taking sound and using it as a weapon to dominate and floor the audience physically and mentally. And with the help of current member Philip Best, former members Kevin Tompkins and underground writer/author Peter Sotos, Whitehouse has been able to clear heads for almost 25 years.
Whitehouse’s identity and sound fit exactly what it’s like to be tortured, dominated, humiliated, unappreciated, or just downright disgusted. With their over-the-top sexual ideals and their celebration for crazed killers used to frame their domineering image, people will piss themselves before even listening to their work.
The sound aspect is another story, with near-unbearable frequencies through the smallest of equipment, both Bennett and Best’s disturbing, agonising vocals and lyrics are enough to break anyone’s self-esteem. Those same vocals, flourished with blatant yelling and screaming, is the equivalent of being yelled at to get up after being pummeled by sheer brutalisation. Shrieking, squealing, and yelling are some of the vocal tools used along with their degrading, ungrateful lyrics to make some sorry soul feel real pathetic and worthless.
At Cruise (“Force The Truth”), what sounds like digital hardcore is met up with roaring streams of supercharged noise, with Bennett and Best alternating verses with each other as both the victor and victim. Continuing with “Princess Disease”, a sonic train ride derailing itself with the help of Bennett’s digital vocals only to crash-land on “Movement 2000”, a pure sheet of white noise.
With the recent Bird Seed, all self-esteem goes for broke. Agonising frequencies adjoining with accelerating noises and vocal echo treatments of “Philosophy” could totally paralyse time and everything in its distance. Also evident is the sleaze, realisation, and relentless barrage of “Why You Never Became A Dancer”. And with a track like “Wriggle Like A Fucking Eel”, rest assured it’s Bennett and Best who both take the dictator spotlight.
It’s ironic how Whitehouse and its label Susan Lawly are named after a UK female-activist who rallied against indecency in the public media. No doubt this group would be the type that would be on the very top of the FCC, Clear Channel, and activist shit list. It explains why Whitehouse are possibly one of the most unreal artists ever heard of aside from Masonna and Prurient that have been reviewed for the sole purpose of being pointed out for their unusualness. It can’t be classified under listenable music, so people will label it as an art form doubled as an over-the-counter drug: use only as needed.
(Published by the Stony Brook Press, Spring 2004.)