Monday, November 24, 2014
I really appreciate when a band challenges you to define them. They mock your efforts to fit them neatly into a sub-genre. There are certain elements you expect then you hear something is black metal or hardcore. Two tags that have been tossed like a salad around Raspberry Bulbs. To some extent they fit depending on how you define hard core or black metal. If Black Flag and Venom are what you have in mind then they are on target. Even their guitar sounds has the abrasive jangle of early Ice Age in places. The opener carries more of a metal rumble than the song that follows which is much more straight up punk and not as compelling as "Lionhead". Both sides of the equation allow the band to get away with their lo fi sound. The don't pull punches with the feed back.
The album is swarming with noise laden experimental interludes that serve no real part in holding the album together. They stay close to punk rock on "How the Strings Were Pulled". Backing oooohs sing in the distant while the vocalist stays in a punk sneer with enough rasp to be black n roll as well. So here is a prime example where their collision works the best. The often attack the songs with more of a metal intensity, but steer clear of blast beats preferring to drop down into half time stomps.
By the time you get to "Nail Biting" you can see through the hype and recognize these are punk rockers with an affinity for metal. Right now you are going to argue that this goes against the challenge to not be defined. I am not saying the are just a punk rock band, but the are closer to being headed in that direction than they are metal. "VII" is the longest of the noise interludes , but it doesn't make then Swans. The "I Saw Your Mommy" feel to "Finger Bones" offsets the distant growl of the vocals , that layer something decidedly darker than punk. In some ways they do what Midnight does , but much better and from a punk perspective.
There is an old school "Sonic Reducer" style punk to "Behind the Glass". They only thing that sort of irks me about their songwriting is they tend to be a little straight forward, which does them a disservice as their best moments are when they wander out of the box. The even manage to cram a guitar melody into it. A similar paced jaunt into punk is snarls up from the gutter these guys crawled out of on "Hopelessly Alive". The vocals are the only thing on this one that really brings anything to the table as it becomes more of the same old same old. They let the bass out them out on "Big Grin" ,which is a huge curve ball to momentum they built thus far. The guitar takes an almost post-punk tone and the vocals stay in a maniacal rasp, that still manages to not really become growling. There are some heavy punches toward the mid way point.
I think I might get more milage out of this one than I suspect, this album gets a 8 with room to grow on me, they middle of the album becomes predictable and some of the straight forward punk elements don't lend themselves to much of a dynamic range, but I like where they are going with this and will check out there releases to come.