Saturday, December 22, 2012

Wreck and Reference: No Youth

For the first few weeks I owned this album I had it stuck in my head that the name of the band was No Youth and the name of the album was"Wreck and Reference" , so when I learned it was the other way around , it gave me a brain freeze and was hard for me to listen to the album until this freeze melted away.

This electric duo consists of a sampler / programmer who also sings and a drumme. the Jury is out if this is metal I will say but it contains elements of metal, is Author Punisher metal ? No abrasive yes, Wreck and Reference is much more melodic than Author Punisher, less Godflesh and even a blast like beat or two on the song "Nausea" which features ghost vocals that hold a monotone melody in the distance.

The opener " Spectrum" is like more chilling Xiu Xiu with a stronger Joy Divison influence, the effects coating everything the Korg pumps provides space and ambiance , to this stark landscape. The lyrics are abstract but from interviews i have read they are inspired by Cormac McCarthy. The harsh vocals which come in before the dissolution of the song at the three minute mark are angry enough to be on an American Black metal album, and share a punkish sneer typical of Usbm.

"Solstitial" the Xiu Xiu like sound creeps back into the chant of the vocals. the drums are very primal stomping around the soundscape. There's a weird spoken word section in the middle of the song and it builds in a Godflesh manner, the vocals shift into the harsher black metal like feel.

"inverted Soul" should already have you clued into the experimental nature of what s going on here despite the sway into the more colossal pound, the vocals underneath sound more hardcore than metal. There's a cold mechanical sense to every pitching being done and I think this lifelessness makes the album darker. The drummer works well around the often very opaque and noisy barrages of sonics they bounce against.

"Cannot" starts with a spoken word that builds into a harsh metallic synth and then dissipates back into the muffled monologue. I like the keyboard melody, the harsh vocals are cool Becuase they are passionate but not contrived by having to be cvlt or brutal , just an expression.

"I am a Slave" is another passionate catharsis, the vocals are a wept howl and the synth bass is convincing against the drums.the drone to the melody of the clean vocals is very unique this is what it would like if Phillip K Dick had metal band. sure there I'd Godflesh all over this one, but the manage a very original take on it and scrape up some pretty cool ounces to capture it with. "Obidence" is a seamless transition out of the previous song to the point as it could have been part of it as a longer work. Some of the songs do have this run on quality but to the ears it comes across as they are pieces of the same puzzle. The eerie break in this sounds like muzak piped into a mall in hell. The more articulated vocals after this break sound more authentic to who they are than if they had gone the more atypical growl route.

The wide range of different tortured vocal sounds is one of this albums strong points. The croon which opens "Winter" is a good example . The fact it isn't always in key , is o.k particularly given ome of the production tricks employed in their placement. Sometimes the oddness of the mix on this album is part of its appeal and certainly plays up the stark futuristic tone.

To say there were two other songs which didn't make it onto my iPod would be an exaggeration of the term song. Noise collages might be a more term. Either way they didn't seem to reall be a part of the album , tough some people are into that sort of thing,thus the glory of the iPod i can choose just not to acknowledge them as they are nt a part of what I consider to be the best listened use of this album. So taking that in mind I'm only reviewing the eight songs which are actual songs that comprise this album. So once I was able to put the brain freeze caused by the name mishap behind me I was able to rate this dense piece of electronic darkness a 9.

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