1. Hog Tied
3. Burn (fat Hacker Demo)
4. Ham Slammer
5. Auto-grind (Demo/instrumental Version)
8. Pets For Meat (A Family Song)
9. In Heat...and On The Bone 1-3 (Demo Version)
10. In Dark Waters (Pts. 1 And 2)
For whatever reason, Paul Lemos of Controlled Bleeding saw fit to release an album as a "solo" artist. As the title Phlegm Dive may very well suggest, this release is not exactly the most pleasant of experiences. The CD contains a grab bag of tricks and treats from Lemos, putting together both his dissonant ambient works with neo-industrial noise tracks. Several tracks are referred to as demo versions. The resulting album is both intriguing and maddening in the variations between actual, listenable music and the grating noise experiments.
The noisier sections should remind listeners of industrial scrapyards and breaking machinery. The squeals and sharp, jarring squalling in "Hog Tied" remind me of the noise a train's wheel makes against the rail beneath it. "Somnambulation" is a eerie soundscape piece that is both calming, yet unnerving as you constantly expect something to break out from the collage of mild white noise and tones to drag you back into the depths of chaos. "Auto-Grind" is a demo version of the same track that appears on Controlled Bleeding's 1992 release, Penetration. Some of the din is placed over a danceable rhythm for a particularly disparate juxtaposition. Other moments, particularly "Ham Slammer" or most of "Excremental", seem like an excuse for Lemos to scream and make hideous noise in his basement after having a bad day with his real job (which, according to legend, is a high school teaching position).
The variety of concepts explored on Phlegm Dive seem to provide the backbone and structure for all phases of Controlled Bleeding up to 1992. Some of the material here has been reused in various other Controlled Bleeding albums, so Phlegm Dive helps listeners understand a tad bit more about the creative process of Lemos and Co. I wouldn't say this is particularly a pleasant listen, but the overall experience is rewarding despite the din and ruckus.
Review by John Chedsey
Review date: 08/2001