Posts Tagged ‘Brutal’

Dret Skivor – 12th February 2021

While there have been a few shady folks who have dwelt in prominent places on the noise scene through the years, leading to a certain association between noise and the ugliest aspects of the far right, my own personal experience has been, fortunately, quite different, and the noise-orientated circles I’ve found myself moving in are populated by some of the most sincere left-leaning people who devote their time to speaking up for equality, workers’ rights, and railing against bigotry, discrimination, and fascism. In a way, it feels strange that I should even feel the vaguest need to preface a review by setting this out by way of a context. But there we have it: the world is full of cunts, and sadly certain genres have more than their share of prominent ones, and it only takes a couple of mouldy grapes to taint a batch of fine wine. Or to bypass the metaphor, a handful of cunts to tarnish the reputation of a large group.

There’s no question around the politics of Malmö act Noise Against Fascism, the latest additions to the Dret Skivor label, founded by the ubiquitous Dave Procter following his recent relocation from Leeds to Sweden (prompted partly by the shitshow of Brexit). The band’s bio describes the project as ‘harsh noise against all forms of oppression and injustice. A violent non-violent tool of resistance’. And it makes sense: noise, when it’s harsh, can be one of the most brutally violent things around. And The Violence lives up to its title. Released on limited cassette, it features a longform track on each side, and they’re unswervingly optimally harsh.

‘Policemachine’ is a churning blast of mid-range noise, a welter of distortion that’s remorselessly abrasive. It’s difficult to tell it it’s resonance of a rapid phase, but it pulsates at a high frequency, the metallic shuddering racket positively shaking the walls, while occasional snarls and crashes and heavy blows add more horror to the relentless assault. It is, of course, entirely fitting of the title, which is take as a reference to both police brutality – a topic which has been hot for some time now, and never more so than in the last year or so, giving rise to the Black Lives Matter movement. But it’s a trope that reaches back far further. A Clockwork Orange was published in 1962, and forty years, how much has actually changed? The track is a real fucking horrorshow, a nuclear assault of devastating sonic proportions that speaks of every kind of violence. Lasers blast through the tempest toward the end, only accentuating the sensation that this is a war trasmited sonically. It’s an aural battering, a sonic blitzkrieg, a full-on gut-shredding mess of overloading nastiness, that’s sustained for over half an hour, with not a moment’s respite, and it’s enough to leave you feeling absolutely ruined.

And so, still staggering, battered and bruised, the listener is thrown headlong into the engulfing racket that is the title track, a further twenty-five minutes of extreme noise that beings with a sample that’s cut to a loop and separated by some dramatic stereo that feels like a sharp left-right punching before the devastating noise crashes in like a bulldozer. Obliterative is an understatement. The cut loop of ‘the violence’ continues throughout, reminding me of Rudimentary Peni’s Pope Adrian 37th Psychristiatric album, with it’s mind-bending loop of ‘Papus Adrianus’ which runs for its entire duration.

It’s noise, and holy fuck is it harsh. The monotony only accentuates it, of course, but sonically, it’s a howling mess of overloading circuitry that offers not even so much as a microsecond’s breathing space. If you want to lose yourself in body-breaking, brain-shredding noise, then this album is going to deliver. With the added benefit of knowing they’re not nazi cunts.

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Having been extremely excited by the imminent arrival of Gaffa Bandana’s debut album, Fraught in Waves, just the other day, the excitement mounts with the landing of a video to accompany the album’s opening cut, ‘Breakage’, assembled by Gill Dread. Seems only right we should share that excitement, and some cracking visuals and a blistering racket of a tune:

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Corrupt Moral Altar who feature Napalm Death live guitarist John Cooke have shared the video for the nicely titled track Maximum Bastardry’ which you can watch now.

After years of being associated with that one band from the 60s you might have heard of, Liverpool has done its level best in the past decade to be a hotbed for filthy, nasty riffs, rapid, crushing blast-beats and fuck-you vocals; and Corrupt Moral Altar are one of the leading names in that movement, merging the abrasive sensibilities of  the heavy spectrum into a head-pounding cacophony of pure aural hurt.  

Gliding effortlessly between the jarring aggression of the heaviest of grind and sludge to those infectiously punky hooks, their two full lengths, 2014’s ‘Mechanical Tides’ on Season of Mist and 2017’s self-released ‘Eunoia’, barb their way into your brain stem and don’t leave your head no matter how hard you pull. You’ll be lucky if your neck stays in one piece when Corrupt Moral Altar are assaulting your eardrums.   

With new EP ‘Patiently Waiting For Wonderful Things’ set for release on 27th November (APF Records), the remaining months of 2020 are going to get a bit more brutal round these parts as Corrupt Moral Altar look to cave your skull in.

Vocalist Chris Reese comments on the video for new single ‘Maximum Bastardry’,

"Here it is, the contingency plan to what was originally going to be a 4k, 3D, multihundred pound production with more explosions and celebrity cameos than you could be bothered to say "hey, that wasn’t Kenneth Choi" at.

Instead you get this grotty DIY effort as Liverpool was recently banned from having any fun. It’s more fitting really, as this track is about the unsustainable lifestyle of someone getting wrecked every night. There can be a romanticism about drinking and drug culture, but this track explores the fact they know they are a terrible bastard, that people get them fucked up to gain amusement from the resulting behaviour and they are aware that ultimately, they’re fucking up their own life.

Live in the moment, seize the day… I say Maximum Bastardry.”

Watch the video now:

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NYC industrial trail blazers Uniform reveal the title track from their forthcoming album due September 11th on Sacred Bones. “Shame is the song that sets the thematic tone for the rest of the record, which seems appropriate for a title track. It is a portrait of someone riddled with regret in the process of drinking themselves to death. Night after night they sit in dark reflection, pouring alcohol down their throat in order to become numb enough to fall asleep,” vocalist Michael Berdan explains.

“I took inspiration from a few stories of alcoholic implosion, namely Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia and John O’Brien’s Leaving Las Vegas. The line ‘That’s why I drink. That’s why I weep’ appears in homage to Rod Serling’s Twilight Zone episode ‘Night of the Meek.’”

Listen to ‘Shame’ here:

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Photo By Ebru Yildiz

Uniform & The Body’s monolithic collaboration, Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back, has been unleashed via Sacred Bones.  They’ve unveiled their new video ‘Day of Atonement’ via Consequence of Sound’s Heavy Consequence.

The video is a Super 8 film by artist Alexander Barton. He explains, “I wanted to make an abstraction of violence. The film’s character is in low resolution, a changing of disguises, an ambiguous identity, shadowed ideologies and masked by the skyline. The hooded figure is evasive to society. In this collection of images, he has prepared himself and represents the threat of the unknown.”

Comprised of an amalgam of abrasive influence that spans Swans-y dirge and purge, Whitehouse’s clenched-jaw noise, middle-period Ministry’s penchant for metallic post-industrial everything, New Order’s nose for melodic emotionality, and Juicy J-inspired beats, Uniform and The Body’s approach delves deeper down the rabbit hole than before, igniting a sonic world of terror and bliss poised to grip the throats of fans yet again.

Watch the video here:

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Uniform Live Dates continue…

08/19: San Diego, CA – Casbah *

08/20: Phoenix, AZ – Valley Bar *

08/22: San Antonio, TX – Paper Tiger *

08/23: Austin, TX – Barracuda *

08/24: Denton, TX – Rubber Gloves *

08/25: Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall *

08/26: New Orleans, LA – Poor Boys

08/27: Birmingham, Alabama – The Firehouse

08/29: Tallahassee, FL – Wilbury

08/30: Tampa, FL – Orpheum *

08/31: Gainesville, FL – High Dive *

09/01: Atlanta, GA – Masquerade *

09/03: Nashville, TN – Exit/In*

09/04: Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel *

09/06: Baltimore, MD – Joe Squared

09/07: Washington, DC – Black Cat *

09/08: Jersey City, NJ – White Eagle Hall*

09/10: Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere *

09/11: Boston, MA – Paradise Rock Club *

09/12: Portland, ME – Port City Music Hall *

09/14: Toronto, ON – Lee’s Palace *

09/15: Grand Rapids, MI – Pyramid Scheme*

09/17: Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall *

09/18: St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall *

09/20: Denver, CO – Marquis Theater *

09/21: Salt Lake City, UT – Metro Music Hall*

09/23 Seattle, WA – Neumos *

09/24: Portland, OR – Doug Fir Lounge *

09/26: San Francisco, CA – Great American Music Hall *

09/27: San Jose, CA – The Ritz *

09/28: Camarillo, CA – Rock City *

09/29: Los Angeles, CA – Echoplex *

* w/ Boris

The Body Live Dates continue…

06/09: Denver, CO – Denver Hex at Lost Lake Lounge

07/09: Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room

13/09: Providence, RI – Columbus Theatre ^

14/09: Hudson, NY – Basilica Soundscape ^

15/09: Brooklyn, NY – The Bell House ^

^ w/ Assembly of Light

Sacred Bones – 16th August 2019

Christopher Nosnibor

I’ve barely recovered from Uniform’s last punishing album and the gut-punching spectacle of hearing it played live when they land a second collaboration with The Body, only a year on from their first, the punishing noise-fest that was Mental Wounds Not Healing. An album that roughly ravaged and picked deep into the scabs and scars, it was everything you’d expect from two of the most uncompromising acts around right now.

NY purveyors of sonic violence Uniform carve their own trench of frenzied fury, and if they lack variety, where they excel is in their capacity to relentlessly attack, spitting and spewing their raging antagonism and venomous vitriol, while experimental noise duo The Body have largely forged a career from adding layers of abrasion to myriad collaborations – and this one is no exception.

The press release provides a fair summary of the kind of noise contained on Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back: ‘Comprised of an amalgam of abrasive influence that spans Swans-y dirge and purge, Whitehouse’s clenched-jaw noise, middle-period Ministry’s penchant for metallic post-industrial everything, New Order’s nose for melodic emotionality, and Juicy J-inspired beats.’ It’s all in there, and none of it’s pleasant, although somewhat ironically, when pressed against the full-tilt ferocity of Uniform, The Body serve more as a counterbalance, as if the two have a certain cancelling effect on one another’s most extreme aspects. The result, then, isn’t intensified – it simply wouldn’t be possible – but mangled and mutated into a different distillation of the component parts.

‘Gallows in Heaven’ is perhaps a misleading opener, stylistically, sonically, and in terms of mood, in that it’s goth to the core, a deep, surging three-chord bass sequence and thunderous mechanoid drumming at its core. With a wonky, fractal guitar line weaving over the top, it’s a vintage slice of post-punk – only there’s feedback and extraneous noise all over and backed off in the distance, Michael Berdan’s vocals, eternally petulant, the epitome of fucked off with everything.

If ‘Not Good Enough’ sounds a bit like standard Uniform but with additional electronic noise thrown over the top of it, the thumping disco groove that underpins ‘Vacancy’, which shudders, shimmers, and howls, is another kind of proposition altogether. A snarling electronic bass booms in along with a jittery sequenced synth rhythm, and this is something that’s got ‘80s dancefloor’ all over it – or would have were it not for the mess of noise all over it.

‘Patron Saint of Regret’ is little more than a mess of noise at first, evolving into some kind of fucked-up post-Wu-Tang trip-hop crossover that miraculously works, while ‘Penance’ takes the hybridisation a step further, a collision of thumping industrial beats and lumbering synth chords, with tinkling 80s synths worthy of mid 80s Cure or A Flock of Seagulls and impenetrable shrieking vocals by way of an interlude from the grating keyboard drone.

The stripped back ‘All This Bleeding’ brings the industrial clank of NIN and gentle cascading synth melody –paired with the raging rants – of Prurient together to forge something both anguished and atmospheric. Twanging guitars echo around punishing percussion and create an unexpected spaciousness amidst the claustrophobic intensity. The electronic inches to the fore, culminating in the sample-soaked ‘Day of Atonement’, which consists of little more than a droning synth bass over spiky drumming and Berdan’s distorted vocal amidst a howl of excruciating extraneous noise.

Instead of softening the relentless blows, the graded transition toward the album’s final cut only accentuates the unforgiving nature of the material: the churning maelstrom of dark ambience of ‘Waiting for the End of the World’ is the sound of the apocalypse as a jaunty tune plays in the background and ‘Contempt’ grinds into the desolation of nihilistic blackness.

This feels like the collapse of it all, the degradation of society, represented in sonic form. It sounds like the cover looks. Everything That Dies Someday Comes Back is nothing short of devastating.

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Uniform and The Body

Christopher Nosnibor

This is a show I’d been looking forward to for weeks, even months. Arranged as a benefit gig for Mind and Shelter, Aural Aggro and personal faves Modern Technology have pulled together a truly killer lineup for their official hometown EP launch show.

So I arrived at The Victoria a full two hours before loading in and soundcheck was due to begin. Ordinarily I’d be positively crapping myself, a mess of perspiration and palpitations, but unusually, the only reason I’m sweating is because it’s bloody hot. But kicking back with my book in the beer garden outside The Victoria, I’m decidedly chilled.

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I get a message from Owen, Modern Tech’s drummer, asking if I want a pint since he’s arrived and getting a round in. Of course I do: I’m sweating them out faster than I can sink them, and I finally meet him and Chris in person after months of to-and-fro and co-producing a tabloid zine for tonight’s event, which I’ll soon see has tuned out brilliantly.

I walk in during Bruxa Maria’s soundcheck. The snare alone is punishing, and the full band’s run-through is devastating. This isn’t a venue that’s afraid to turn it up. It’s also a really nice space, too, something Owen and Chris comment on as we riff bout work, mental health, merch, and whatever else. The rest of us soundcheck. We’re all buzzing with anticipation. The sound is fucking incredible. And I realise I’m in a room with some of the nicest, most decent people you could find. No bullshit, no posing, just mutual respect and support.

Tim, aka Cementimental, and I take the floor – literally. We’re playing in front of the stage at 8:20. The plan really is as simple as ‘you do what you do, I’ll do what I do. I’ve got maybe 15-18 minutes of material including gaps, and I’ll drop the mic and walk off when I’m done.’ And we stick to the plan. It works better than I could have ever dreamed.

Nosnibor v Cementimental

Nosnibor vs Cementimental – photo by Phil Mackie

I’d been genuinely concerned about my ability to perform, wrestling with a cold that had affected my ability to speak for a full week. Friends had advised me not to perform, but I don’t ‘do’ defeat. I don’t know how long we played for, but I managed all six of the pieces I’d planned – ‘Thoughts for the Day’ / ‘News’ / ‘Ambition’ / ‘Punk’ / ‘Cheer Up… It Might Never Happen’ / ‘Alright’. Tim’s racket was punishing, and spanned broad sonic range, tapering down and going full nuclear with remarkable intuition. It was brutal, and it broke me. And we went down a storm: I was inundated with people – perfect strangers – enthusing about the set, how well it worked. They were all incredulous when I croaked, squeaked, or barked at them that we’d not even met properly, let alone rehearsed even once beforehand.

Lump Hammer – whose front man James I’ve has been sending me stuff from his label for review for a while, but who I’d also not met in person previously – are a different kind of punishing. With pounding drums, and guitar – churning, overloading with distortion – providing the music from the stage, James is in front of the stage with some kind of sacking over this head and eyes. He’s a tall guy with big presence and a lot of hair, and he howls impenetrable anguish into the churning aural abyss of dirgy downtuned grinds, some of which last an eternity. And yet for all the agony, the unremitting catharsis, there’s something immensely enjoyable in this kind of torture.

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Lump Hammer

Exploiting the limitations of a drum ‘n’ bass (no, not that kind) duo arrangement, Modern Technology focus heavily on the rhythmic and the low-end. It’s the perfect backdrop to Chris’ dramatic vocal style: there’s an arch-gothic hint to it, and it lends a sense of detachment and alienation to the heavyweight blasts of disaffection and desolation. Tonight’s show is the first of three of a mini-tour to officially launch their debut EP, and while on record they’re intense, live, they take it to another level. There’s nothing fancy, or even pretty about their performance. There’s no great showmanship, no empty chat between songs, just hard riffs played at hard volume.

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Modern Technology

Things are starting to catch up with be a bit during Bruxa Maria’s set: I get to witness it from the front row, next to the right-hand speaker stack, which is both an optimal spot and handy as my voice is so fucked I can barely speak. And Christ, they’re noisy and intense. The guitars are dirty and distorted, and they play fast and furious, a relentless frenzy of punk and no-wave that tears your ribs open and punches your intestines, laughing at the blood. Gill Dread may be diminutive but she’s one hell of a presence – just on the other side of deranged, her raw-throated scream goes right through you. If I was close to being finished before, I’m utterly spent by the time they bring their set to a roaring close.

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Bruxa Maria

People hang around afterwards to chat, and the merch stall does steady trade. I’m struck by the levels of enthusiasm and appreciation for all of the performers, and not only has the evening drawn a respectable turnout, but a bunch of really great people, the likes of whom collectively demonstrate that however bad sit gets, not everyone is bad shit.

We have more beer, and Owen finds a late-night wrap joint where I join him and the Lump Hammer guys for what I realise is my first proper meal of the day. It’s 3am when I finally hit the hay. Rock and fucking roll. Yeah!

Sacred Bones – 17 August 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

Of all of the bands to make an impact recently, Uniform’s arrival has to have been one of the most hard-hitting. Wake in Fright was appropriately-titled: a terrifying mess of industrial and punk compressed into a brutal explosion of unproduced noise, it was the kind of tinnitus-inducing horror that rang in your ears as you sat bolt upright at 4am in a sweaty state of anxiety after a bad dream. When I say ‘you’, I’m presenting the personal as universal.

Yet none of this really prepares anyone for its follow-up. Whereas its predecessor was a ragged, raging sonic inferno, raw and trebly, having expanded to a three-piece with drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy, Zs) joining Michael Berdan (vocals) and instrumentalist Ben Greenberg, The Long Walk (the title of which references a Stephen King book) brings a newfound density to intensify the ferocity. That doesn’t mean they’ve toned it down: if anything, they’ve cranked it up and added new dimensions to the ear-bleeding brutality that defines the Uniform sound.

If I were being cynical, I might contend that Uniform only have one song, which they repeat with various minor adjustments. Michael Berdan’s vocals are hardy varied: a raging punk sneer smeared across a cyclical riff that grates and throbs amidst a tempest of overloading noise as the needles all quiver towards the top of the red. It’s a simple method, but often, simplicity is most effective, especially when the aim is to produce art that drills directly through the skull into the soft tissue of the brain. Maximum impact doesn’t require complex algorithms or theory. Maximum impact taps into the most primitive aspects of the psyche, targets the visceral, punches straight into instinct. And maximum impact isn’t necessarily about variety: that isn’t Uniform’s ambition: they’re out to batter relentlessly at the senses. The effect of The Long Walk is cumulative. And that effect, for those predisposed, is anxietising, stressful. Listening to The Long Walk actually raises my heart rate, and makes me perspire. And really, so it should: this is intense, claustrophobic, a different kind of aggression that speaks of derangement and blind rage.

The Long Walk is as raw as it gets, to the extent that its complete lack of refinement makes some of the most aggressive, antagonistic, and purposefully unlistenable songs even less appealing: you actually have to get through the jarring noise, the treble, the wilfully impenetrable mixing and what could safely be described as anti-production – to find the songs, let alone the appeal. The be clear: this isn’t just noisy: it’s fucking nasty, and is the work of a band deliberately pushing even the most accommodating of listeners to their limits, if not away altogether. It’s almost as if they don’t want any fans.

I can relate: as a spoken word performer, I discovered greater satisfaction in driving as many people from the room within the first couple of minutes than a smattering of polite applause from a full room at the end. Producing art is not about popularity. It’s about release, about channelling, about, catharsis, about being true to oneself or one’s aesthetic. If it’s commercial, it’s probably not art.

I know that in my writing I’m prone to revert to various ‘paint’-related tropes when reviewing work of a certain volume and / or intensity. But Uniform absolutely fucking decimate. Everything.

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Uniform - Long Wak

30th April 2018

James Wells

Execrate – ˈɛksɪkreɪt/verb

verb: execrate; 3rd person present: execrates; past tense: execrated; past participle: execrated; gerund or present participle: execrating

1.feel or express great loathing for.

synonyms: revile, denounce, decry, condemn, vilify;

2. archaic curse; swear.

Nottingham-based Deathflux, formed a couple of years ago around guitarist Tom Clarke, articulate deep and unbridled loathing through their highly technical but relentlessly fierce brand of metal. They may curse too, but the snarled lyrics are only partially audible.

To set their agenda clearly from the outset, the album’s first song is called ‘Bludgeon’. And it does, the stop/start guitars shudder against drums like machine gun fire to forge a blast(beat) or grindy abrasion.

Lead single ‘Transcend’ (all of the tracks have one-word titles, adding to the stark and brutal effect) is representative of the albums 7 tracks: the drumming is so fast the effect is more akin to the rattle of a knitting machine than distinct and separate beats registering to mark time. The guitars – with several octaves of strings – are a blurred blizzard of fretwork, while the vocals epitomise guttural nihilism. It’s about conveying sentiment and raw emotion than actual lyrics. Where actual lyrics are audible, they’re venting violent threats like ‘break your face now!’

There are some wild guitar solos laid over the churning riffs, and there’s no let up in the seething fury that radiates from every note.

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Execrated Artwork - Lo Res 1

Southern Lord – 3rd November 2017

Christopher Nosnibor

Fast and furious isn’t in it. But the enigmatic and secretive Friendship are from Japan, and when it comes to extreme music, Japan really leads the field. And if Hatred seems an odd title for an album by a band called Friendship, then the equation really should be turned on its head: for a band this brutal, abrasive and gnarly to be called Friendship is simply perverse. There’s nothing friendly about them, and song titles like ‘Rejected’, ‘Regicide’, Corrupt’, ‘Tortures’, ‘Grief’, and ‘Execution’ don’t exactly send hugs in abundance either.

Of the album’s twelve tracks, only two extend beyond the three-minute mark, and half are sub two minutes. Holy fuck, this is fast and hard and nasty. It begins with feedback and immediately plunges into the dingiest, gnarliest, darkest metal noise going. The drums are pounded so fast it sounds like a pneumatic drill. Everything else is just a blurred barrage of insane, intense noise. There are riffs, but they’re brief, and churningly cyclical. The rest is all squall. And it’s a furious, punishing grind.

If friendship it is, it’s an abusive one which shows no regard for the wellbeing or mental health of those concerned. But as far as hatred is concerned, this album is all aspects of pure loathing distilled to the most potent concentrate.

Listening to Hatred is like having your soul torn from the heart of your being and ground to a pulp before your eyes, while your eyes are being pricked with hot pins. Aurally, it’s torture in its own right.

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Friendship cover art