Southern Lord – 26th August 2016
Southern Lord continue to excavate the underground for the gnarliest, angriest, most brutal, most frenetic metal with this, the latest album from Bay Area, CA hardcore act Lies. The CD version of Plague is bulked out by their debut release, the EP Abuse. So we’re being treated to 15 tracks in all, but given that the longest of those fifteen tracks, ‘Class War’ is a mere minute and fifty-three seconds in duration, it still amounts to a mere twenty minutes and four seconds of music. Yes, it would probably fit on a 7”, and most other bands’ EPs are longer.
But this is all about keeping it focused, keeping it tight. The short tracks condense everything into fireballs of explosive intensity. There’s no room for gratuitous solos, muso meanderings or even time to breathe. This is claustrophobically taut and relentlessly violent. That isn’t to say there’s a lack of detail or nuance: behind the blur of noise there are some brilliant guitar lines and a good variety of sounds on top of the thousand-mile-an-hour rhythm section.
Given the impenetrability of the lyrics, it’s not easy to determine their exact political leanings through song titles like ‘White Light’, ‘Paranoia’, ‘All Hail’ and ‘Human Nature’, but they’ve played a benefit gig in support of the Homeless Youth Alliance and it seems reasonable to assume their white-hot rage is directed at the system, and the injustices it propagates. They’re the good guys – they just sound nasty. Very nasty indeed.