Posts Tagged ‘Human Worth’

Human Worth – 7th October 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Since the launch of the Human Worth label, initially as an outlet for releases by Modern Technology, we’ve witnessed the label grow – although never beyond its means and never beyond its principles. Each release sees a portion of the proceeds donated to a nominated charitable cause, and it’s so heartening to see a label and its artists use their platform for social good. With this latest release, a 7” EP from Leeds makers of noise BELK, 10% of all proceeds are being donated to Action Bladder Cancer UK, who work to support patients, raise awareness, improve early diagnosis and outcomes, and support research into bladder cancer.

But let’s never underestimate the social good of music with meaning – and by good, I mean sincere and visceral. Anyone who has ever stood in a room being bludgeoned by a full-blooded sonic attack will likely appreciate the incredible release of the experience, and the sense of community it entails. It’s not easy to articulate the way in which something that’s ultimately private, internal, is heightened by the presence of strangers immersed in that same experience, in their own personal way.

In congruence with the rise of Human Worth, we’re also seeing a satisfying upward arc for BELK, who unquestionably deserve the exposure and distribution, and one suspects that being limited to just 100 hand-numbered vinyl copies, the vinyl release of this is likely to be a future rarity.

This 7” EP packs five tracks into mere minutes. ‘Warm Water’, unveiled as a taster for advance orders on September’s Bandcamp Friday, is a minute and eighteen seconds long. It’s fast, and it’s furious – a focused channelling of fury, no less, distilled to 100% proof, and there’s no holding back on this attack.

There are a couple of additional demo tracks, in the form of ‘Net’ and ‘Question of Stress’ from their 2022 promo as downloads.

It’s all pretty raw, and ‘studio’ doesn’t mean much more polish than ‘demo’, and that’s exactly as it should be BELK trade in proper dirty noise, the likes of which Earache specialised in in the eighties and early 90s, before they went soft and became a rock and blues label, releasing stuff by the likes of Rival Sons. Human Worth have snatched the noise baton in a firm grip, though, and the quality of their releases extends to the artefact as well as the art.

‘Net’ is a stuttering slugfest reminiscent of Fudge Tunnel, only with harsher, higher-pitched squawkier vocals that are more conventionally hardcore, and it all stacks up for one killer release that delivers a ferocious slap round the chops.

AA

HW016_BELK_TheCommittee_CoverArtwork1

Panurus Productions – 15th July 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

In a world where there’s so little that you can rely on, knowing that there are some labels that can be taken as a measure of quality provides a much-needed reassurance that not absolutely everything is shit. Panurus is one of those labels, along with Cruel Nature, Bearsuit, and Human Worth, that provides an unwritten guarantee that if they’re releasing it, it’s worth hearing. And what’s particularly pleasing with all of these labels is that they’re not genre-specific. Human Worth may lean toward guitar-driven noise, while Bearsuit favour genre-straddling avant-gardism, but ultimately, these little labels put out stuff that they like and find interesting, and this is healthy, in that it provides a platform for a diverse range or acts and fans to connect.

Trauma Bond’s The Violence Of Spring is in fact a reissue, having been originally released by Digital Destruction in the US just over a year ago, in a limited run of twenty-five hand-stamped pink neon tapes. Panurus have retained the original design, but rotated the image to replicate the band’s own digital release, which makes more sense when you study the flows off blood down the face. It’s not a pretty over, but it does very much provide a fair visual representation of the ‘raging grindcore/powerviolence/noise onslaught’ it houses.

As their biography summarises, ‘Trauma Bond is the conception of Eloise Chong-Gargette & Tom Mitchell – blending a shared love of violence, noise and metal to concoct a visceral exploration of aggression’. I mean, who doesn’t love violence, right? I am being sarcastic and, indeed facetious, and should perhaps reiterate here that both makers and fans of the most brutal music tend to be among the gentlest, most docile people I’ve encountered. The music is the outlet for everything they aren’t in the every day. With the exception of Marilyn Manson and Genesis P. Orridge, it’s the bland indie types who are more likely to be the real scumbags, and likewise their fans. This is the long way of saying that there’s violence, and there’s violence.

The original notes pitch ‘a furious onslaught of razor-sharp, disorienting grind; that darts between blasting intensity, to dirge, to industrial noise, and back again before you’ve realised what you’ve been hit by.’ And that’s exactly what The Violence Of Spring delivers, packing nine brutal sonic assaults into twenty minutes.

It all begins with an ominous roll of thunderous rumbling, the fifty-seven-second ‘O.C.B.’ building a tension and suspense that’s devastated with the explosive treblefest of ‘the title track, where everything piledrives in at a hundred miles an hour, from the flurry of guitars, the machine-gun drumming and screamy vocals, and from hereon in there’s not much let-up. There are samples galore – seemingly of panic-stricken crowds and people in streets where accidents, explosions, and shootings have just taken place. And The Violence Of Spring is simultaneously a drive-by and a hit-and-run that concludes with a suicide bombing.

They swing into black metal on ‘Total Fermentation’, and this is a dank brew, unfiltered and thick with sediment, and headcrackingly potent, while on ‘Daddy Do’, it’s more barking, guttural grindcore than anything else, and fuck me, it’s savage. One of the album’s two longer tracks, ‘Double Denim Dissociative Disorder’ which runs past the four minute mark against the usual minute and a half, is a grating wall of distortion, a churning landslide of sludge that slowly sinks into a spent crackle. Sandwiched between this and the finale, the overloaded tempo-shifting blast of demonic fury that is ‘Syndrome Imposter’ is ‘Little One’, a pained blast of metal anguish that’s delivered with remarkable and unexpected clarify, particularly in the vocals.

Nothing about The Violence Of Spring is gentle, but it hits all the harder on account of its comparative range. Yes, it’s all metal, but The Violence Of Spring is all the metal.

AA

cover

Human Worth – 3rd June 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Because being in several awesome bands simply isn’t enough for some people, various members of Lump Hammer, Lovely Wife, Penance Stare, Möbius, Plague Rider have another band, the soft-sounding Friend. They’re practically a scene unto themselves, and you can pretty much guarantee that anything noisy emerging from Newcastle will feature one or more of James Watts, Tim Croft, and Skylar Gill – to the extent that the involvement of any one of them is essentially an assurance of quality. Putting the stamp on that assurance is the fact that Friend’s debut is being released by Human Worth, the London label that has, in a very short time, racked up an outstanding roster of new and established acts, all of a noisy persuasion, without a single weak release in their rapidly-expanding catalogue. And Friend’s Champion is a worthy addition.

It’s a proper gnarly take on the classic power trio format with driving riffs dominating from the opening bars. ‘International Top Bloke’ crunches in and batters away hard with a simple, cyclical riff reminiscent of Blacklisters; Tim’s guitar is so dense and dirty it sounds like guitar and bass all in one, while Gil’s drumming is megalith-solid, pounding away, nothing fancy, just all the heavy. And there, low in the mix, Watts gargles and gurgles tormentedly, sounding as if he’s being throttled by Satan’s very own flaming hands. As guttural growlers go, he is exceptional when it comes to channelling all shades of anguish by means of throat alone. But for all that, there’s a flicker of joy – or, perhaps more accurately, a cathartic release – which emanates from Champion.

The pitch is that they’re ‘pulling from influences ranging from Soundgarden, Smashing Pumpkins and Failure to Old Man Gloom, Floor and The Abominable Iron Sloth’ and while on paper it may seem an incongruous combination, in practise, it not only makes sense, but absolutely works.

‘The Beast’ is appropriately titled, for it is, indeed, an absolute beast. It begins with unexpected delicacy, a brittle, chorus-tinged guitar picked is as much The Cure as it is ‘Black Hole Sun’, but then the drums and distortion pile in and it’s a huge, throbbing surge of overloading sound that threatens to damage the speakers.

Whatever Geoffrey’s done, it must be pretty bad, as they rear through five minutes of bludgeoning brutality. There are some gritty, cyclical riffs reminiscent of Bleach-era Nirvana beneath it all, but the production is so dark and dirty the end result is wonderfully nasty sludge metal, then there’s ‘Dungeon Master’ that sounds like… well, it sounds like downtuned grinding hell. Not so much Sunn O))) as a total eclipse. Watts’ vocals aren’t the focal point: they’re another instrument (of torture) in the band’s arsenal or aural abrasion. If ‘Wellness’ seems to offer some light, some respite, it’s a pale, sick sense of hope that glimmers as Watts sounds like he’s writing through his last moments of torturous, gut-ripping pain.

The last two tracks – the eight-minute ‘Uncle Tommy’ and ten-minute ‘A Reminder’ combine to deliver a devastating finale. They’re so much more than heavy noise, too, with texture, tone, gradual builds and even moments that feel truly uplifting – even if they are blown away by bulldozing distortion. The former is a surprising blues / glam stomp, while the latter feels like an album’s worth of riffs of heavy metal thunder packed into a single track. It’s not only intense, but finds Watt’s deliver some audible lyrics, albeit briefly.

The word ‘friend’ may connote comfort, company, companionship, even cuddliness, and while the band offer none of these things, Champion does offer a kind of awkward solace through monster riffery and outpourings of angst. An album worthy of its title: proper champion.

AA

a2621977682_10

Human Worth – 13th May 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

I don’t often give advice or tips, but sometimes it’s appropriate, and this is one of those times. If you’re into noisy music that’s inventive and of a consistently high quality, make sure you get hold of everything Human Worth release. Ever. I’ve been vaguely amused by sponsored ads on Facebook recently for Vinyl Box, a subscription service that delivers pre-selected records and enables the clueless to amass a ‘cool’ collection of instantly collectable editions of ‘cred’ albums as selected by ‘tastemakers’. As if. You want a cool record collection, and one that’s worth listening to as well, start here.

Human Worth haven’t been going all that long, but they’ve very swiftly established, if not a house style, then an ethos and a sense of curation, and every release this far has been outstanding, both musically an in terms of product, with each vinyl release feeling, looking, and sounding special. What’s more, they don’t just talk about ethics and causes, donating a percentage of the profits from each release to a worthy cause. It’s a hell of a way from the greed that fuels Records Store Day – which so happens to be today, where I’ve spent the day at home not regretting spending £30 on reissues of albums I already have two copies of. Frankly, it stinks, when you can pick up, for £16, a brand new clear vinyl release – with only 200 copies pressed – of something new and exciting that you can cherish for being more than simply an artefact. Steve Von Till is a fan, and while I may not have as much clout, so am I.

The new eponymous from Bristol-based instrumental trio Olanza is a most worthy addition to the Human Worth discography. It’s kinda mathy, kinda post-rock, but it’s got all the crunch. The guitars chop and change, twist and bend, swerving between picked lead detail and chugging riffs, but if the focus is on the guitars, it only works because of the force of the rhythm section, which isn’t only solid but as heavy as hell.

The album’s first piece, ‘Accelerator’, packs in all of this into less than three and a half explosive minutes. But they have so, so much more up their sleeves, and this is why Olanza is such a magnificent album – they’re clearly not a band to set themselves up for pigeonholing, as they simply don’t conform to any one, or even any two or three genre forms.

‘Boko Maru’ is deft, light, even, jazzy, but also a shade country, and fun… and then crashes into discord when the overdrive slams in, while ‘Descent’ is a full-on riff-driven beast with a psychedelic twist. Then there’s the nine-and-a-half minute monster that is ‘Lone Watie’ which is more indie, with hints of early Dinosaur Jr, at lest before it goes angular crunching riff-racket. With its shifts of style and tempo over such a duration, it’s practically an album in its own right, and certainly packs in more ideas and solid chunks than many bands manage over multiple albums – but the beauty is that it isn’t too hectic, and every segment flows into the next without jarring or sounding forced. This is intelligent, articulate, and magnificently crafted. So many bands try to pack in loads of stuff into each song, with the end result being cluttered, awkward, lacking in cohesion and just that bit too much. Not so with Olanza. This is masterful and compelling stuff.

‘Navarone’ lands between Oceansize and Pavement, epic neoprog and jangling indie, and builds nicely through a cruising riff. Angular, sinewy guitars a la The Jesus Lizard or Blacklisters skew in on ‘Joust’, before the minor key dissonance of ‘Constant’ brings things to a tense conclusion.

Put another way, it’s got the lot, and there’s so much range and dynamic action here, it makes for a gripping listen the absence of vocals is such a non-issue you barely notice it. What you do notice, and can’t escape, is that Olanza have landed an exciting album, where the quality of the musicianship is matched by the passion and the channelling of energy through the medium of music. It’s pretty special.

AA

a3133248245_10

Human Worth – 4th February 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Pitched as being for fans of Primus, Lightning Bolt, Swans and Mudvayne, the accompanying text informs us that ‘Regurgitorium was haphazardly constructed with the sole goal of distressing and alienating their few remaining friends and family. Members of Warren Schoenbright, Wren and Deleted Narrative come together to deliver angular drums, discordant bass, and harrowing vocals accompanied by themes of existential paradoxes and day-to-day despair. The result being something best described as “Not Subtle”.’

If there was ever a strong and perfectly nihilistic reason to make music, that has to be it. It’s one of those hilarious band clichés that get wheeled out when they say they make music for themselves, and if anyone else likes it, then it’s a bonus. It’s almost impossible to not to be sceptical, because, well, fuck off. I mean, I believe Nirvana were sincere in not wanting international mega-stardom and that they wrote In Utero to get back to their roots and piss off casuals and their major label, but they still wrote songs to be heard by an audience – just a more select one. Of course, it depends on your ambitions as an artist, but I would say it’s better to have a small but devoted fanbase than one consisting of a larger but fleeting, fickle bunch of casuals whose interest will have cooled faster than their post-gig McDonald’s fries.

Regurgitation is not subtle, but it is high impact, and it’s a monster racket from the outset, with a clunging bass-rattling racket and squalling guitar mess of noise bursting forth with ‘Parapraxis’. It’s a minute and a half of total mayhem.

They hit optimal Big Black drilling grind on second track ‘Bachelor Machine’: the bass sounds like a chainsaw, while the guitar fires off tangential sprays of metallic feedback and harmonics, bringing together ‘Jordan, Minnesota’ and the intro to ‘Cables’. It’s a brutal squall of noise, and it goes beyond guitar: it’s sheering sparks off sheet metal that singe your skin as they fly, and it really makes a statement about both the band’s influences and intent. It’s messy, and it’s noisy. And it’s perfect.

Every track just gets nastier, more deranged. ‘Elective Affinities’ is all about wandering verses and choruses that sound like a seizure. Everything is overloading all the time: max distortion, max reverb, max treble, max crunch: the bass sounds like a saw, the guitar sounds like a drill, the drums sound like explosions: it’s intense, and it’s punishing, in the best possible way. It’s the sonic expression of a psychological spasm, and everything goes off all at once.

There’s no obvious sense of linearity or structure to the songs on Regurgitation. There’s a bass that sounds like a bulldozer grinding forward at the pulverising climax of ‘Bone Apple Teeth’. And then things go helium on ‘Wretched Makeshifts’: it’s like the Butthole Surfers gone avant-garde. And then there’s the stark spoken word of ‘Silentium’, which is tense, dark.

Listening to Regurgitation is like taking blows to the head in rapid succession. It’s not just the hits, but the dazing effect. Everything mists over, you don’t know where you are, and you’ve even less idea what the fuck this is. It’s bewildering, overwhelming. ‘Railways Spine’ is a nerve-shattering explosion of feedback-riven chaos and there is no coherent reaction. ‘Untismmung’ is the epitome of wordless anguish, this time articulated by means of experimental funk that yields to head-shredding noise. Noise, noise, noise: I keep typing it, and that’s because Regurgitation is relentless in its noise. It’s noisy. So many shades of noise. It’s fucked up. It’s deranged. It hurts. There is just so much noise, and no escape from it. Not that you should seek escape: bask in the brutality, the yawning bass grind and King Missile-like spoken-word segments that provide the brief passages between the blasts of noise, noise noise.

Closer ‘Vomitorium’ sounds like a collision between Shellac and Suicide, and the maniacal laughing at the fade sounds like the only sane reaction to all this madness.

AA

HUMANWORTH_WhyPatterns_CoverArtwork

Human Worth – 3rd December 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Shit happens, and lost in a tsunami of shit that is life with Christmas on top, the landing of Human Worth’s vinyl release of How Is This Going To Make It Any Better?, the third album from Northampton’s 72% originally released digitally and on cassette in 2019 was something I was aware of, but never got around to exploring. My loss.

It’s straight in with the clattering percussion that feels almost counterrhythmic, over which guitars skew in at obtuse angles, clanging and scratching – and then everything goes haywire and in less than a minute it’s a full-throttle assault: ‘I Have No Idea What You Want Me to Do’ brings the ugly sonic churn of Swans’ debut album, Filth, a record that still lands a kick to the stomach and leaves you feeling like you’re on the brink of spilling your guts to this day.

Some of it’s about discord; some of it’s about the relentlessly lurching rhythms, the stop/start churning bass and droning feedback and slabs of dissonance crashing out of the guitars, and some of it’s about the sheer abrasive force, meaning that as much as it’s in the realm of nascent Swans, it’s equally in the domain of Daughters and KEN Mode. ‘Mate, No-One Will Ever Love You’ sounds like it could be a title by The Streets or Sleaford Mods, or maybe some ‘witty’ middling indie band who think they’re incisive, so the fact it’s a blast of face-melting turbulence only makes it more audacious.

While it’s not exactly easy to make out the lyrics – by which I mean it’s pretty much impossible – the titles reveal the various themes that run through the album, and with ‘It’s Only a Problem if it’s a Problem for Me’ connotes the same kind of gregarious self-centred twattery as the abundant misuse of prefacing a statement with ‘mate’; you know the sort: cockends who call you mate are the last person you’d have as a mate, and they invariably think the world revolves around them.

‘Don’t Look For it, it’s Not There’ marks a shift towards a more post-rock style before lurching on a turn into thinking, lumbering sludge metal, while ‘Holy Shit’ is an appropriate response to the song of that title: it’s a messy morass of squalling free noise that’s not jazz, math, or experimental, but some kind of hybrid of all three, and it hurts. ‘Failure is Absolutely Possible’, however, is an entirely different proposition; mathy, proggy, post-metal, it beings the noise pinned to quiet/loud dynamics and some rather more technical drumming and for all its up-front, balls-out riff-driven thunder, there’s a lot of detail as well as a lot of noise. ‘Hurry, There’s No Time to Explain’ is urgent, powerful, hefty, and again it’s a collision of math and metal, and ultimately noise against noise with the force of a juggernaut racing down a mountain with the brakes cut. Closer ‘Brutish Giant’ is a full-on raging grunger which again invites favourable comparisons to Daughters’ last album, and leaves you drained, but uplifted.

With just 150 red vinyl copies, this is one of those releases that looks destined to be a future collectible, in addition to being a nice item. And, meanwhile, ‘10% all proceeds (+ Bandcamp’s 10% cut on the fee waiver days) donated to charity CALM – a leading movement against suicide, who are currently supporting more people than ever through this challenging time.’

There is comfort to be found in abrasion and noise, and Human Worth continue to put their proceeds where their sentiments lie, and we sincerely applaud their work, especially as there simply isn’t a duff release in their entire catalogue.

AA

a4045036575_10

HUMAN WORTH are proud to be teaming up with Squirrelled Away Records to reissue 72%’s stunning album How Is This Going To Make It Any Better? on vinyl for the first time.

Recorded and mixed by Wayne Adams at Bear Bites Horse Studio and originally released on cassette by London label Hominid Sounds, this album is a defining moment for the band, moving into new realms of disturbing darkness, creating “the most diverse, heavy, strange & wonderful music they have written yet.”

HUMAN WORTH have pressed up a super limited edition of only 150 gorgeous red vinyl, in a newly reworked package by Joe Brown with pro printed outer sleeves and black inners.

To coincide with the release, they’ve just unveiled a crackers new video for ‘It’s Only A Problem If It’s A Problem For Me’. Watch it here:

Human Worth – 17th September 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Sometimes, a record hits you before it’s even got going. Perhaps it’s the way sound connects beyond the rational, striking a chord in the soul on a subconscious level that’s almost impossible to pinpoint, let alone articulate. We All Do Wrong is one such record.

From the first bar, the chord struck is a brittle clang that intimates something sharp-edged and to be mindful of. Meandering brass isn’t the most obvious thing to enter the mix next, but then for all of their hardcore / noise credentials, there’s nothing obvious about the material on this release from X’ed Out, featuring members of Silent Front and Working Men’s Club (the hardcore one, not the shit indie one). And then the guitars blast in and everything explodes. It’s only the first track, and already I’m dazed and dizzy, feeling as though I’d been beaten around the head with a crowbar outside a jazz club – because how else do you explain such a brutal battering while brass bursts all around?

Turns out this is just the gentle introduction to the full-throttle mania that ensues. ‘The 5 Headed Boy’ is a jolting, jarring mess, a blurring whirl of hardcore, math-rock and weird craziness, like Black Flag, Shellac, and Truman’s Water in a blender. I can’t remember if it was NME or MM (probably the latter) who described Truman’s Water’s deconstructed math-rock with their jolting, jerky, off-centre riffs as being ‘the real Pavement’, but it made sense at the time, as Pavement were hailed as inventing slackerist lo-fi with skewed riffs, while TW were way more slanted (if not necessarily enchanted) in their manic approach to similar materials. I digress, but I suppose this is informative to the context of what X’ed out sound like, with stop/start rhythms, changes in tempo and direction at the most unexpected of moment

Sometimes, this job is really tough. You’re exposed to new music quite literally all the time, your inbox bursting with more than you can ever even listen to or even aspire to listen to – in my case, twenty or more albums a day is a minimum average. Have you ever listened to twenty albums in a day? Let along listened to and written about them? I’d love to, of course, and knowing it’s simply not humanly possible, I’ve contemplated the possibility of having music injected directly into your brain, so you have it stored, heard and assessed, without the labour.

Of course it’s a ridiculous concept: you listen to music to feel the energy and emotion, to bask in the experience, not to simply ‘know’ it, and albums like this remind me why. You feel this with a blistering, blinding intensity.

Everything is louder and faster and more angular than everything else. When they play slower, it gets sludgier and gnarlier, as on the synapse-blasting ‘Fouling the Nest’ and ‘Self Healer’. On the former, it’s a bowel-quivering bass that dominates, while on the latter, from seemingly out of nowhere, there’s a long, slow, expansive instrumental section over which melodic vocals drift, and you momentarily forget where you are – namely in the middle of a sonic riot, with bottles, brick and Molotov cocktails being slung in all direction. What happened? Were you temporarily hypnotised? Possibly. I believe it’s called being ‘in the moment’, and this of course is one of the most wonderful things about music, in that it can transport you, can make you forget. A rolling piano chimes out and it’s grand, and almost soothing, and then the drums hammer harder.. and then it’s gone.

The epic ten-minute final track, ‘The Noble Rot’ is different again – expansive, emotive, it sounds very much Oceansize in styling, at least until the trumpet marks its arrival. With so much in the blender, it’s so, so hard to categorise or pigeonhole We All Do Wrong, although alongside the aforementioned comparisons, Terminal Cheesecake and Bilge Pump are probably worth mentioning: if these bands means anything to you, then you need X’ed Out in your life. If they don’t, then you still need X’ed Out in your life, as well as to expand your education.

What’s more, being released on Human Worth, a label where the clue is in the name, 10% of the proceeds from the release is being donated to charities, on this occasion Breast Cancer UK. It’s all good.

AA

a1642734540_10

Human Worth – 5th March 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

I am, unashamedly, a massive fan of Modern Technology, and have been from day 1. And their DOIY label, Human Worth, too. Not only do they make and release amazing music of immense weight, but they have real principles, donating a cut of the proceeds of every release to charity, and being thoroughly nice guys on top is just a huge bonus.

The label’s latest release – their first 7” single – is absolute gold (despite actually being marbled silver and black) And that’s another thing: the quality of the label’s product is magnificent, from the design to the finish. With vinyl’s resurgence, we’ve witnessed a greater attention to the physical product as an artefact to behold and to cherish, for all the reasons fans of vinyl spent about 20 years going on about at every opportunity while people moved away, first towards CDs and then towards streaming. I suppose aficionados of the ‘physical product’ proffer the same kind of case for vinyl as books, but when Kindle fans counter that ‘it’s just like a book’, the common retort is that what’s even more like a book is a book, and there is simply no substitute. Streaming fans don’t even have that: all they have is ‘convenience’, but they simply don’t grasp how much is missing from the experience when interacting with a physical format.

I may digress, but it’s relevant: when presented with a gut-punching welter of noise, it always hits harder when blasting from a fat chunk of wax through some speakers with a bit of poke. And shit, is this a gut-punching welter of noise.

Modern Tech and 72% crossed paths just days before life was placed on pause in March 2020. Sharing a bill for Baba Yaga’s Hut in London, no-one foresaw the year that was to come. With the prospect of live shows remaining tentative at best, this single feels like a necessary release of energy.

It’s 72%’s ‘Drowning in a Sea of Bastards’ that’s the (nominal) A-side, and it’s a squalling, full-throttle noise attack. It’s actually the drumming that dominates, while everything else collapses in on itself to create a volcanic sonic explosion of frenzies guitars that are played in such a way as to not really sound like guitars as much as a wild cacophony. There’s screeding feedback and all kinds of chaos flying every whichway, and somewhere, buried low in the mix, are some anguished vocals. You can’t make out a word of it, but the sentiment transcends language.

Meanwhile, Modern Technology continue to go from strength to strength. The first new material since their debut album, Service Provider in September, ‘Lorn’ is a six-minute monster. The droning feedback that howls from Chris Clarke’s bass is more mid-rangey than usual, bringing a sharp, brittle edge to their dark, dingy abrasion that’s pushes forward slow and heavy, propelled by Owen Gildersleeve’s crushing percussion. When the chords hit, they hit hard, and – as is now well-established as integral to their distinctive sound, Clarke’s vocals, distorted and buried in a wash or reverb, snarl and growl all the rage, landing somewhere between Lemmy and Al Jourgensen circa Filth Pig. It’s a trudging slow-burner that builds with a cumulative effect.

Oh, and there’s more: a brace of bonus tracks, starting with a head-shredding remix of ‘Drowning in a Sea of Bastards’ by Wayne Adams (Ladyscraper / Big Lad / Petbrick). Unrecognisable against the original, it’s a pulversing mangled mess of clanging metal and industrial-strength overloading distortion. Gnarly as fuck, it’s bloody brilliant. And as a double bonus, the additional cut from Modern Technology is another new track, ‘Ctrl’. In something of a departure, it finds Clarke deliver a spoken-word piece against a backdrop of thick, booming bass and slow, slow drums. As the murky layers build, so does the crushing weight of a track that’s reminiscent of Swans circa 1984: it’s claustrophobic and suffocating, and makes you feel tense.

It may only be fifteen minutes in total for all four tracks, but to describe the experience as intense would be an understatement, and I find myself simply too blown away to conjure a pithy one-liner to wrap up. Yes, it’s absolute dynamite.

AA

72%xMT_A_DrowningInASeaOfBastards

72%xMT_B_DrowningInASeaOfBastards

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:

AA

cover