Skullflower is a long-running band that include Matthew Bower – an extremely prolific musician from UK, who was also a member of such bands as Pure, Total and Hototogisu. Skullflower itself started out where some of his other projects ended in the late 80s.
Musically, almost all of Bower’s project share his regard for all kinds of (sonic) extremities – from power electronics to noise, throughout three decades of musical activity he certainly produced some of the most disturbing sounds commuted to tape/CD. Skullflower used traditional instrumentation including guitars, strings and drums and as they moved along, the band sound became increasingly difficult to categorize, with Monotremata website describing it as “freeform Black Sabbath”.
Skullflower debut was 1988 “Birthdeath” EP on Broken Flag label. “Birthdeath” was recorded with a line-up of Gary Mundy (a.k.a. Gary Ramleh), Bower, Stefan Jaworzyn and Stuart Dennison. Parts of the record later re-mixed for 1990 “Ruins” compilation.
“Birthdeath” was followed by 1990 six-song LP “Form Destroyer”, parts of which also appeared on “Ruins”. The record was originally released on vinyl and was limited to thousand copies and is currently out of print. “Ruins”, which came out on Shock label in 1990, contained remixed tracks from both “Birthdeath” and “Form Destroyer”, as well as new tracks.
“Xaman”, which also came out on Shock in 1990, is considered by many to be one of best albums by Skullflower. After recording the album, Jaworzyn left the band, apparently due to disagreement with Bower over mixing of the album. Also, due to a problem at the processing plant, original CD suffered from disc rot condition, which made it unplayable over time.
1992 |||rd Gatekeeper came out on Justin Broadrick’s (admittedly, a huge fan of the band) label HeadDirt. All of the songs on the album were named after songs by the likes of Jefferson Airplane, King Crimson and Blue Oyster Cult, although music itself had nothing to do with originals.
More releases followed well into the 90s, including “Last Shot At Heaven” (Noiseville) and “Obsidian Shaking Codex” (RRRecords) (both of which came out in 1993), 1994 “Carved Into Roses” (VHF) , 1995 “Argon” (Freek) and 1996 “This Is Skulflower”. In the late 90s, Bower decided to put Skullflower to rest and started Sunroof, a new solo project.
He, however, returned and once again started releasing Skullflower albums, first one of which was 2003 “Exquisite Fucking Boredom” (tUMULt), followed by two albums for Crucial Blast (Orange Canyon Mind, Tribulation, as well as reissue of “|||rd Gatekeeper) and further recordings for such labels as Utech and Turgid Animals.
Outside of Skulflower, Bower is keeping himself busy with Hotogisu, the band that also includes Marcia Bassett from Double Leopards and that so far released a number of records on such labels as Heavy Blossom, Hospital Productions and Not Not Fun. Bower also recorded some material under the moniker Mirag.
Update: In 2010, the band released their new studio album – a double-CD set entitled “Strange Keys To Untune Gods’ Firmament”. The Line Of Best Fit blog described it as “an utter riot in which to immerse yourself, a cacophony of messages all sounding off at once, but, given time, the careful layering does seem keen to reveal much that is hidden within the gritty folds of its skin.”
Anthony Di Franco (AX, Ethnic Acid, JFK, Novatron, Velvet Snakeskin Orchestra)
Gary Mundy (Blind Alley, Breathless, Kleistwahr, Male Rape Group, Ramleh, S.P.I.T.E., Toll)
John Godbert (Herb Diamante, Total)
Matthew Bower (Hototogisu, Mirag, Pure, Sunroof!, Youngsbower)
Russell Smith (Terminal Cheesecake)
Stefan Jaworzyn (Ascension, Descension, Satin Chickens, Whitehouse)
Stuart Dennison (Ramleh)
Birthdeath 12″ (Broken Flag, 1988)
Form Destroyer LP (Broken Flag, 1989)
I Live In The Bottomless Pit / Bo Diddley Shitpump 7″ (Shock, 1989)
Rift / Avalanche 7″ (Majora, 1990)
Rotten Sun 7″ (Toejam, 1990)
Ruins CD (Shock, 1990)
Slaves 7″ (Forced Exposure, 1990)
Xaman LP / CD (Shock, 1990)
Come In / Evil Twin 7″ (Minus Habens, 1990)
Bad Alchemy 7″ (Dying Earth, 1992)
Evil Knievel 7″ (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1992)
|||rd Gatekeeper CD (HeadDirt, 1992 / Crucial Blast, 2007)
Last Shot At Heaven CD (Noiseville, 1993)
Obsidian Shaking Codex CD (RRRecords, 1993)
Ponyland 7″ (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1992)
Carved Into Roses CD (VHF, 1994)
Choady Foster / Spent Force 7″ (Helter Skelter, 1994)
White Fang #2 / Glassy Essence 7″ (Freek, 1994)
Adieu, All You Judges (with Ramleh) CD (Broken Flag, 1995)
Argon CD (Freek, 1995)
Infinityland CD (HeadDirt, 1995)
Transformer CD (Sympathy For The Record Industry, 1995)
Village Sorting 7″ (Self Abuse, 1995)
Sorties Cass (Broken Flag, 1996)
This Is… (VHF, 1996)
Total 7″ (Vinyl Communications, 1996)
Exquisite Fucking Boredom CD (tUMULt, 2003)
Orange Canyon Mind CD (Crucial Blast, 2005)
Tribulation CD (Crucial Blast, 2006)
Abyssic Lowland Hiss CDr (Heavy Blossom, 2007)
Circulus Vitiosus Deus 3xCD (Turgid Animal, 2008)
Desire For A Holy War CD (Utech, 2008)
La Noche De Walpurgis CDr (Self-Released, 2008)
Pure Imperial Reform CD (Turgid Animal, 2008)
Skufllower / Axolotl Split 7″ (Not Not Fun, 2008)
Taste The Blood Of The Deceiver LP (Not Not Fun, 2008)
Thou Shalt Not Suffer A Witch To Die Cass (Matching Head, 2008)
Malediction CD (Second Layer, 2009)
Skullflower / Limepit Split LP (Posh Isolation, 2009)
The Paris Working CDr (Self-Released, 2009)
Vile Veil LP (Noiseville, 2009)
Skullflower / White Medal Split 7″ (Turgid Animal + Legion Blotan, 2010)
Strange Keys To Untune Gods’ Firmament 2xCD (Neurot, 2010)
“I Live In The Bottomless Pit” + “Bo Diddley’s Shitpump” + “A Guide To Canine Foreskin Retraction” on The Portable Altamont (Shock, 1991)
“|||rd Gatekeeper” on Sound From Hands (Minus Habens, 1992)
“Spiderdrift” on Comin’ Down Fast! (Helter Skelter, 1993)
“Untitled” on RRR100 (RRRecords, 1993)
“Aquatic Horrorshape” on Shrine (Cold Spring, 1993)
“Hamburger Lady” on Entertainment Through Pain (RRRecords, 1995)
“Total Pt.1” + “Total Pt.2” on The Way Out Sound – Catalog of Singles (The Way Out Sound, 2001)