Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’

Southern Lord – 14 June 2019

The press release describes Friendship’s second album as ‘merciless’. I’ve barely recovered from their 2017 debut, Hatred.

The one -word titles are indicative of the succinct brutality on offer here. Those titles are as nihilistic as they are stark: ‘Punishment’; ‘Lack’; ‘Abandon’; ‘Plague’; ‘Hatred’ – gruesome, dark, signifiers of absence rather then presence, or otherwise of something sitting at the negative end of the spectrum. And Undercurrent is indeed brutal. The tempo is frenetic, with the drumming a whirlwind of sticks on skins and thrashing, crashing cymbals and the guitars a blurred mess of distortion. As for the vocals… spluttering, spewing, splenetic, this is the sound of inarticulable fury and the tearing down of the strictures of cultural confines, a primal roar that decimates all niceties in favour of pure, visceral release.

With only one of the album’s ten tracks crossing the three-minute mark, and the majority clocking in at under two and a half, it’s a short album that prioritises intensity over duration. And after a mere 22 minutes, Undercurrent has more than left its mark and I’m scarred, bruised, and half-deaf.

There’s no space for conversation here, and critique feels futile in the face of obliteration on such an absolute level. This is the sound of the dirtiest metal, with no soft corners or moments of respite. The only mercy is its brevity, but even in this short time, it’s got more than enough force to inflict serious damage.

AA

Friendship – Undercurrent

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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.

AAA

Friendship cover art