There’s something primitive about the split between Escape Is Not Freedom and dusK Village. Both bands create music that taps in to the deep, animal part of your brain, evoking primal emotional responses – fear, anger, love. The noise rock bands add considerable sludge elements to their songs, with the riffs and hooks latching on to the listener and practically demanding a response. It’s not all about base instincts and rage though, with this split demonstrating how effective noise rock aspects can be when wedded to something a bit less, well, noisy.
It doesn’t feel like that long ago since I was writing my list for 2016… and yet, at the same time, it feels like a lifetime has passed. 2017 has been a very busy year, and very trying in parts. As a result, I’ve had less time and energy for The Sound Not That Word than at any time before, which has resulted in less reviews being posted. It’s something I’m still not entirely sure how to balance, and may well see my writing take on different forms in the coming year. We shall see.
Anyway. Enough of that for now. Everywhere else is doing lists, and so am I. Writing this is a good opportunity to go over releases from the year, to remember how good some were, and to give coverage to some I never got to write about. As always, these are my favourites – better records may have been released this year, but these are the ones I enjoyed most. The first twenty will be in alphabetical order, over two posts; with the top five given their own ranking. Enjoy!
Unsurprisingly considering the band name, Contempt is not always an easy listen. The second album from Couch Slut carries on where previous record My Life As A Woman left off, offering noisy, pain-filled rock that is as anxiety-inducing as it is catchy. It is a record that is filled with elements that, on paper, sound as if they should pull against one another, resulting in an unfocused mess; but on record, they come together to demonstrate a band that understands how cutting and important a little melody can be when searching for musical catharsis.
2016 is almost over, thank fuck. What a shithole of a year. But hey, not everything is awful – there’s always good, inspiring music out there to be found. Which brings us to this month’s short reviews, which takes in death metal from Encrypted on Drifting To The Impaled; absolutely not-kvlt metal on Biophobiaby Bearstorm;ambitious noise rock by Phase Order; melancholic death-doom by Marianas Rest on the sorrowfulHorror Vacui; bombastic, powerful symphonic black/death from Seven Sins with their album Due Diaboli Et Apocalypse; and feminist hardcore/powerviolence from the superbly named Cliterati. Enjoy!
Sometimes, a long review is pretty unnecessary. Such is the case with the split 7″ between Harrowed and Art Of Burning Water. At a mere 7 minutes long, this record doesn’t wait around, and its five tracks don’t lend themselves to deep analysis. Instead, it’s a record for your lizard brain to enjoy, with its furious slices of rage and violence. Short, sharp, and utterly restless, this split doesn’t wait around.
If ever artwork set the tone for the music contained on a cassette, then this is it. The Yamabushi Recordings Facebook page describes this split between Misogynist and Procrastinator as “an attempt to ruin music forever”. And you know what? That description is not far off the mark. This is fuzzed-out, depraved, utterly fucking horrible noise rock, with both bands dealing not so much in riffs as in waves of aggressive noise, with lyrics that are often beyond tasteless. Not one to be played in polite company, then, but if you’re after something abrasive and antisocial that can only just be described as music, you’re in for a treat.
I’ll admit, this one took a little while to win me over. It’s not that this is some immense prog-rock opus that took several spins for me to take everything in – far from it – but rather, something about Don’t Panic, the first album by Belgian punks Missiles Of October, took a while to really get a hold of me. As time has gone on and I’ve given the record more time, I’m glad I did, as this is a dirty, vicious, nasty record, and is pretty damn good.