Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wreck And Reference - C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶ (2013)

EP, The Flenser
May 21st, 2013

Genre: Experimental/Electronic Doom/Noise/Industrial/Post-Punk
Region: USA

I always love requests like this one because I would've put it up anyway as the band involved is killer. Wreck And Reference just happen to be on a streak with everything in their creative history since 2008 (?) being strictly different and enjoyable while also cathartic. C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  (or No Content, dual meaning) is their most recent record and continues onward eager to explore, remaining unsurprisingly heavy and delightfully gloom ridden.

Through two short tracks this humble duo can convey quite a lot. C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  feels like a brief revisiting of Black Cassette's themes in some ways or maybe excerpts from No Youth at it's most 'metal' moments if you can call them that. The material has not weakened, only furthered tempered and those behind it thirsty.

It's not as shocking as No Youth was to me in that their sophomore release took longer to warm up to than the debut, and the difference here is the impact with this 7" is as powerful as when I first heard Black Cassette. I felt it as soon as I heard the vocals on the opener "Absurdities & Echoes" which it's fair to say are haunting and pretty different from their previous experimentation.

It works so well with the lyrics and for the gloomy vibe of the song. The beginning draws in a lot of sounds slowly at first without becoming cluttered while a strong digitized chime quakes out a captivating lead, and the drumming in this intro rules. Very hypnotic, indeed continuing once the vocals float shakily in. During the core of the song hoarse spectral wails reverberate in the open making for very spacy or ethereal atmosphere.

The lyrical build in this both tranquil and jarring atmosphere is strong, leading to a climax of tremolo waves and rising cymbals— and a stunning frigidity washes over the song like various moments in The Angelic Process' work which was felt in the previous record as well, "Spectrum" and "Nausea" for instance. The louder the better.

It's the rolling, crackling, concussive pulses looping behind the church bell paced MPC and organ drone and rich percussion, becoming more pungent nearing the final quarter. It feels/sounds like somethings burning softly in the distance behind the aching and cathartic performance of Felix and Ignat. The vocals are particularly explosive by the end. That style is refreshing in general not even looking at their interesting approaches.

"Abhorrence" brings back the blackened yells, making this track fuckin' awesome instantly. Lyrically far more in step with this return while the hammering on the snare, and blaring MPC texture things nicely and then when all but the 'bass' tones drop out that subtle doom atmosphere amplifies a lot more.

It feels like you've just stepped into a funeral doom jam for ten seconds which is something they do exceedingly well without bass or guitar at this point. Proceeding from that moment the climb instrumentally is intense taking cues from the lyrics and the vociferous, shredding vocals. This comes to and end quickly with those thunderous tones again and the swirling rise in high frequencies and static giving a short does of eerie anxiousness.

Absolutely recommended if you couldn't already guess.. 2012 wasn't that long ago but even since No Youth they continue to mature creatively and the hooks just dig in deeper. If you've liked everything they've done before this should not disappoint you. Passionate consistency, tense and rapturous, unorthodox heaviness — C̶o̶n̶t̶e̶n̶t̶  continues resolutely with all of this. It feels like there's more coming soon and they've generously shared for free a glimpse at that. You shouldn't skip it and if you're new it's as good a place as any.

You can grab a digital copy from them on bandcamp or a physical copy from The Flenser. The Flenser also put this up digitally for real cheap but everyone always appreciates "free" direct from the artists too.

DOWNLOAD (Bandcamp)
DOWNLOAD (Mediafire)

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