Pharmakon – Devour (Half and Half Black/White Vinyl) LP (SBR-226)
Devour marks the fourth full-length record from Margaret Chardiet’s project Pharmakon and her most intense output to date. Like her previous albums, Devour comes with a strong concept that is exorcised throughout the five demolishing tracks on the album, using imagery and language of self-cannibalism as allegory for the self-destructive nature of humans. Each of the five songs echoes a stage of grief associated with this cyclical chamber of self-destruction and the chaos surrounding us that leads us to devour ourselves in an attempt to balance the agony.
The album was recorded by Ben Greenberg (Uniform) and is the first Pharmakon album recorded live in studio. The A and B sides were each recorded as a continuous take with vocals from start to finish, marking a totally new process for the artist that allows the ferocity and immediacy of her live performance to resonate throughout. Devour also explores new sonic territory, with denser electronics, groovier hooks, and moments of her most unhinged vocal deliveries to date. As one of the premiere vanguards of modern industrial and power electronics, Chardiet continuously pushes the genres and everyone involved in them, and with the release of Devour, she has once again changed the game.
“Devour” uses self-cannibalization as allegory for the self-destructive nature of humans; on cellular, individual, societal and species-wide scales. In our cells, our minds, our politics and our species, humans are self-destructing. But this behavior does not happen in a vacuum. It is an instinctive inward response to a world of increasing outward violence, greed, and oppression. Turning these wounds toward ourselves can be seen as an attempt at “balancing feedback”, within a never-ending positive feedback loop of cause and effect. With this view, the blame is placed not within the individual, but with the world they must contend with, and a society that is designed to fail them – to keep them gnashing and wailing, inflicted with an all-devouring hunger that inevitably turns in on the self. Those that pit them against each other grin from the sidelines, bellies full. Those who see beyond the veil need to obscure the horrid sight by any means necessary, but respite is always brief- nothing can dampen the glare from behind the veil. This album is dedicated to all who were lost to their own demise, all who have been institutionalized; whether in prison, psychiatric facilities, or drug rehabilitation. It is for all those ostracized by and isolated from a totality which chews them up alive in a self-cannibalizing caste system. Here, where martyrs, slaves, and pharmakos are not eradicated, but simply called by another name. “ABOUT THE SHALLOWNESS OF SANITY”… To be well adjusted in this system is to be oblivious and unfeeling. This is for the rest of us, who understand that chaos, madness, pain and even self-destruction are natural and inevitable responses to an unjust and disgusting world of our own making.