Pharmakon, a.k.a. New York native Margaret Chardiet, has been a regular of the underground experimental music scene since she was 17. Her industrial solo project was formed in 2007, and has been steadily progressing and improving her sound and performances along the way. Abandon, her first completely visible record released in 2013 on Sacred Bones Records, clearly shows her vast experience in the scene, especially when watching live performances of it.

Milkweed / It Hangs Heavy, the album’s first track, sets the tone of the entire piece beautifully. Chardiet’s approach to this seems to be quite the straightforward one: the album literally begins with a scream. The entire sound of the album, as it progresses track by track, skilfully creates a grim and heavy atmosphere, in which it becomes rather easy to immerse yourself. Imagine a pitch black room, as far as the eye can see. A distant red light, flickering on and off. It becomes harder and harder to breathe. Your heart starts beating faster and faster, pounding out of your chest. Machines whirring in the distance. Screams, distorted voices. Your own personal brand of industrial hellish landscapes.

The third track, Pitted, has an incredibly eerie ritual tone. Rugged screams make way for chant-like vocals which, when combined with the clear-cut instrumental, transport you from the machine room straight to the temple. Chardiet’s signature screams do return towards the end of the song though, just like the very first few seconds of first track had predicted.

Whereas many industrial noise projects prefer the approach of complete chaos in order to get the message across, Chardiet seems to prefer clean, structured tracks. In a way, this ensures that the overall feel that the tracks create is even heavier. If I were to describe Abandon in just a couple of words, these would be impending doom.

Tracklist:

A1. Milkweed / It Hangs Heavy
A2. Ache
B1. Pitted
B2. Crawling On Bruised Knees