Few things draw as deep of a line in the sand as noise music. For some it represents the ultimate antiestablishment "fuck you" and a unique opportunity of self-expression for those lacking (or disregarding) traditional musical skills. To the naysayer, noise is just another nail in the coffin of an already diluted music community, where hard-working songwriters and instrumentalists are forced to tread in the same waters as any talentless geek with an oscillator. There are those, though (myself included), who can stomach these guttural sonic disturbances, perhaps even revel in them, but in the end are often left scratching their heads over one question: Is there a point?

It's not really fair to lump the sins and virtues of an entire genre on Michigan's Wolf Eyes, but as they've risen above the chaff to become the most infamous of the current noise crop, they've been thrust into the role of spokesmen, whether they like it or not. Hailing from Ann Arbor—whose prime musical distinction is as the home of the Stooges—Nate Young, Aaron Dilloway, and John Olson are the archetypes of DIY done right. Staggeringly prolific, Wolf Eyes are rumored to have dispersed their acidic shockwaves over roughly 150 CDs, cassettes, and slabs of vinyl.

Interestingly, though noise would universally be considered more radical than most music, its roots in history go far deeper than rock and roll, sharing more of a birth date with jazz than anything else. Noise music, along with most other modern art movements worth their salt, had its inception with the Italian futurist movement of the early 20th century, chiefly with a painter and composer by the name of Luigi Russolo. Russolo and his contemporaries were highly disdainful of traditions and sentimentality in art, believing that man and his budding technology represented an unavoidable triumph over nature. He assembled a noise orchestra with an array of his homemade instruments called "Intonarumori" with many of its performances so outlandish that the audiences nearly broke out into riots.

Sound familiar? These ideas were picked over by the academics (90 percent of early electronic music is for all intents and purposes noise music), and much later were embraced by outcasts of the burgeoning punk movement such as Throbbing Gristle and Cabaret Voltaire. Since then, we've essentially been on a cultural treadmill, repeating the same cookie-cutter rituals of rebellion, even as they are blatantly co-opted out from underneath us. Only in recent years have young malcontents finally begun to get it into their heads "Hey, punk isn't really so subversive anymore, is it?" With this social malaise slowly lifting, the rise of a new noise movement, with pacesetters like Wolf Eyes at the forefront, is finally being realized.

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Much like their last much-lauded Sub Pop release, Burned Mind, Wolf Eyes' newest, Human Animal, is a comparative stab at "accessibility." Not to say there's anything particularly melodic here, but where the nuances in many of the band's recordings are often swallowed up by sheets of tape hiss, the defined production here allows us to peer within the nooks and crannies, savoring the silence as well as the bedlam. Opening track, "A Million Years," reminds us that Wolf Eyes are far from a one-trick pony as sparse, mechanical detonations ring out patiently before they're consumed in a gradual wave of white noise and wailing horns. Pieces like "Leper War" and "The Driller" are potent offerings of postindustrial grit, but most Wolf Eyes fans will find the most satisfying release in the title track, which hijacks the frog-throated aggression of hardcore and mashes it to a bloody, viscous pulp.

I doubt Wolf Eyes would really appreciate being yoked with all this conjecture and historical pretext: They just seem like fun- loving Midwestern dudes doing what they do best. The real backbone behind their music, whether you can stand it or not, is that it's an ultra-honest middle finger to cliché and convention. In this modern age of fallacies and fabrication, can you really say that's a bad thing?