FUNGALPUNK - CD REVIEWS Page 59
THE SUPERVISORS - SUPERVISING THE INDUSTRY
This CD, released on 5 Feet Under Records, has me on the back foot indeed as my least favoured tangent in punks melodic mayhem is this style of noise that is loosely labelled here and there as techno-punk, skater punk and prog punk (whatever the fuck that is). Out of the three styles I do like a bit of skate-hate noise so was very much hoping that would be the main mode here. Political, technically flamboyant, sharp and aching with essences of many other bands within this cauldron of racket I dipped in tentatively and, as per, tried to be fair, honest and constructively critical. Packaged nicely, with a good articulate lyrical content it was only the noise where I deemed I would face any difficulties. It certainly isn't easy this reviewing lark and responsibility to hit nails on heads lies firmly within my assessing hammer - someone has to have a go though and too many people these days are happy to do fuck all to help this great scene progress - you know the score.
The first sonic breeze to waft our way from the Oslo based hothouse crew is entitled 'Strike The Match', a sheer montage of melody and switch backs where strings are riffed and stretched with overly artistic fiddlesome fingers and the end result of confusion rather than coherence. Besides this though the outfit display acute insight and from the opening zip out I find myself back-peddling and struggling to hold on to the reins. Preparation is made and vocals soon jump in with all orthodox methodology thrown out of the awaiting abstracted window. This and the following numbers are of the same ilk and at this stage I am impressed by the talent but depressed by the output. The simple fact of the matter is if you like one you'll love em' all but if you find one a little too much then this CD will be a struggle. As far as the noise goes I reckon this would be a 7 out of 10 but I wouldn't dare give a rating - I just don't like it.
4 cymbal splashes and in we go to 'Luck, Pluck And Virtue'. Strings are beaverishly played with scuffle and shuffle aplenty, drums are pushed to the extreme and vocals are suited and booted and overall we get a clinical sound with the odd staccato moment to break the tempo. As awkward as fuck and 2 down and no change of opinion. 'Machines' already sounds like what has gone before and I am sincerely on the cusp of wrapping up with the whole review. Further concentration reveals a good inner speedburst and when the song channels itself into one all consuming beast and the 'whoa hoas' add an encouraging breeze then the song succeeds - mmmm - maybe I'll hang in a little longer. 'Medievalistan' stands out as the prize track and after starting with shadowglass imprecision buzzes along on frighteningly effective energy. Pure whizzotopia manna this one that will have the techo-nerds gushing in high admiration. A cornucopia of incredible artistic luminosity shines forth but I just can't help wishing I had a fuckin' lampshade handy. No insult intended just the way it is and I am sure the band know only too well their noise is a dividing one and will split opinion right down the middle. This is still the best song thus far and in between more self-pleasing dinnage I can partake and somewhat enjoy.
'Their Real Legacy' starts in decent subdued style, picks up the tone and goes for it. A short playing time is noted and to the thrust we groove. Nice power levels, I like the tinkled guitar and the general urgency and wonder if I am going a bit cracked in the head. Not a bad little effort this one and its seems the boys are winning me round - nah - surely not - Fungal an old techno head? Well this one nails it and thumps out with 'Letter' posted our way and getting me back into the land of the outsider where I view the ditty given and shake my head in defeat and distress. Back to the initial vibe and leaving me behind - the usual estimation - wonderfully played, not for me - end of!
'Roughshod United Faction', 'Seeing Through Myself' and 'Trademarks Of The Fat' come, go and fail to raise any interest. Fuck I hate being so fleeting and negative! All tracks are erudite, full of flair and rammed to the hilt with numerous touches that for me are unnecessary, bewildering and too darn hard to appreciate as they come so fuckin' thick and fast. Again we have a mix where umpteen songs are blended into one and that is sometimes just not the way to go.
'Line Of Fathers' and 'September' close this CD and I really can't add much without being the damp squib that looks as though he is way off side and his just being a miserable old fart. Again full respect for the ability, great acceptance of a well produced piece of racketology, a nod of the head for some awkward acoustica that doesn't follow any route only the one in the sub-generic hole where this lot are borne. It does nowt for me and off I go - whoosh - apologies aplenty but as I say 'one cannot like everything and occasionally one really can't go into detail without being critical’ - and where would that get anyone.
2 out 11 is a poor strike rate but that is all I can recommend here - if you are a fan of the twiddlers then.....ah yes and then!
BITE BACK - DEMO
Decent, honest, pub punk here from 3 familiar 'erberts off the grimy streets of the North-West and beyond. Dripping with experience, determined to keep the inner punk zest highly fruitful the dudes producing the ditties here are happy to keep making a noise and that already has my opinion swayed. Nevertheless, if the music isn't up to much the assessing boot shall fly in and be constructively brutal but will definitely leave those melodic bollocks ringing.
'Wrong Reasons' throws itself straight into the arena of attention with high octane guitars and drums vying for top position. A brief sub-hold up, a slight screech and the opening verse grabs us by the lapels and says 'take note'. The familiarity of the vocals are instantly appealing and I suppose still agonised. Bass rumbles along and doesn't take any chances, guitars maintain the non-risk approach and just do enough whilst sticks adhere all parts and occasionally get excited and so add extra chomp to the tune. Safe as houses, punk as fuck, nothing new under the sun, nothing shite within the rockin' realm. The first I have heard from Bite Back and more desired! 'Know Your Rights' has more swing in the truncheon of toneage than its predecessor and so helps the noggin get bashed a little more easily. Here the entire construction works and all components seem to thrive even more amidst a tune that again is orthodox, not overly flamboyant and in keeping with several punk traditions. The lads do what they do with so much ease it is almost aggravating and I reckon any punker that classifies this as bilge isn’t really worth a wank. Predictable maybe but that should not deflect from a likeable tune that just works.
'Open Ur Eye's commences with fractured hollows exposing many a bright light and many an upturned emotion. The depth to the textures is exact, the contrast between rumbling bassism and the shadowed and shattered six string work is precise and one somehow feels a little invasive on a sublime sonic entre nous where both participants dazzle one another with sincere harmony. Something 'Rut'ted, something gutted, something delicately threatening is offered and with some neat instrumental moments this reggaefied acoustic avenue is a route I suggest the band try a few more times during the course of their wanderings.
We close with the routine 'She's A Rebel'. This is a song that has a more shouted feel and is perhaps the most un-rhythmic episode this far. The verseage is fair enough but where the song will appeal most is at the end of a set when all bevvies are downed and the punkers want a chorus to pogo to and join in with. It completes a very sound 4 tracker with the 3rd snippet leaving me very intrigued indeed.
So Bite Back are on the road and its your chance as a punking dog to go and get slaughtered and enjoy some very genuine tunes from a group of chaps who should know better but thankfully don't and never fuckin' will - excellent news I hear you say - yeah - you better fuckin' believe it!
WONK UNIT - TROLLEYS THANK YOU/WONK UNIT SAVED MY LIFE
A tatty tale of sordid behaviour, broken dreams, disrespectful love and lifelong fears all boil up again within the sperm filled cauldron stirred by the mentally disabled characters that are Wonk Unit (primarily though the ravings of the frontman Alex). Emotionally on edge, misguided and ill at ease by what is, what should be and how things are perceived to be this is a screwed up montage of sexually ill bitterness, abandonment and ultimately final loss. It makes for an obscure and unique listen and when the music is applied the end result is sometimes miss, sometimes hit, sometimes very fuckin' special. The cut of the cloth goes like this:-
Trolleys Thank You opens with 'Guts' that are spilled with a great guitar surge opening before the spiteful lyrics pour upon us with unhindered honesty. The verse drops into the slipstream of a sub-chorus where the emotions of hating and despising get torn up with more muscled intent. Unorthodox delivery is the key and a common theme throughout the whole CD and here we have something that works. The mess up towards the end rounds off a dramatic opener and propels us into the uncertain haunting of 'Friends Forever'. In parts, when things stabilise, the song does work but each individual jigsaw piece is frayed and unable to fully settle into position and what comes across is a construction liable to fracture/tumble at any given moment. Guitars and drums stay in cohesive harmony but the overflow of 'as-written' lyricology tries darn hard to lead all astray. A schizophrenic track just capable of doing the business - provided you are in the mood of course.
'Different' builds on tinned bassism and tentative guitar work before somewhat beseeching words are given via a man almost crushed by emotion overload. An overall piteous and hopeless feeling is given and this switch in style fits in neatly with the general theme of the CD. A funny track I remain unsure of whereas the forthright and more sanguine commencement of 'Always The Same' raises a greater level of intrigue. A thoughtful pause interrupts before we are dragged along by an almost insensate style of gob work where numbed acceptance is felt and a feeling of aching melancholy surfaces. Along with this there is an aspect of disgust with the routine and outcomes of life and the crap hand it deals - maybe I am wrong but those are the confused vibes that seep this way from the open wound of the Wonk. 'Not Mine' has a frosted essence and trips and slips up on its own iced up and soiled underpants. It makes an attempt to reveal a good acoustic throbber but the material in the main is pulled all ways and makes up for a knotted and knitted mess rather than a silky smooth moment to expose inner erectile artistry. Instantly recognisable but one of those snippets that does indeed 'miss'.
The best track of the lot comes next with the superbly seething 'I Hate You'. When the Unit hit it you fuckin' know about it and this is a genuine class piece. A tale that creeps along and slowly builds into a situation where questions are asked and no apologies are given for the end emotive onslaught. More confusion, more heart on the sleeve disclosures and a fine song is complete. 'Los Angeles' follows and as a result achieves greater favour. A speedy song with no risks taken - a middle of the CD 'get on with it' effort that has no pretensions and no big ideas to stand out. Your typical 'not bad' offering with the mention of a Golden retriever not forgotten - take note ya buggers! 'Photos Of The Tired' has more mysterious bassism as an escort and then we chop and slop before re-continuing the electric 4 wire throb. Abstract wordage in observation mode comes and a jerky number with many facets all fucked is granted for the wisher of all things warped. An undercurrent of 'never give in' incessancy is breathed, a brace of cuckooed guitar sequences stain the surface of the song and the remaining feeling is of something obscure - not bad!
Wonk Unit Saved My Life - really - down ya drinks, abstain, read on!
'Back Of The Van' pulsates with guile, insight and a one way, my way outlook that the Wonkonians will not be deterred from flogging to utter buggery. The guitar work here is sweetly riffed and heavy with power which inspires one to delve deeper into the musical muff and wonder what further embryonic spillage will this way fall. A sound track this one and complimented highly by the sublime beauty of 'I Just Love The Way' which lurks about, leaves a trail of suggestion and toxic slime you will undoubtedly becoming ensnared in and fuckin' well enjoy. Cleverly mixed this song starts in semi-acousticoid style before temperament simmers and the flower that blooms is staggered in growth and generously thorned. Another segment of brilliance and just proving that it is a little unwise to write off this crew before listening carefully.
Pressing on and after some wobble chopped 'wah's' a dirty effluence pours out and what we get is a rather unhygienic effort full of deeply vegetated thought and tetchy, don't touch or fuck me strain. The shortest most blatantly punked up piece thus far and followed by the diseased ballad that is 'Singing At The Seaside'. All internal access is open as yet more inner workings are exposed whilst doing so alongside a malevolent musical partner who adds further unsavoury scabs. I don't like this one at all although can applaud the way the madness dictates and succeeds at the cost of all else. And yes - go and fuck that damn retrieving golden mutt!
'How We All Laughed' starts in a crisp way, becomes somewhat subdued then re-awakens and finds a spring in the step that holds attention. As the song progresses further luscious impetus is discovered and up until the final strum down the concoction titivates. Straight into 'Running' we go and a really good strong track this one with a good bouncing zest threaded within the whole construction and yet still adequately seasoned with more ill-tempered gobbage and ‘on the cusp of a breakdown’ lyricology. Bursting with vitality this one as is 'Bleed With You' although this latter track has more pain, more desperation, more animal instinct. The lines of 'love is a terrible madness’ uncovers a vulnerability and whether or not this is self-inflicted or just part of the make-up is anyone’s guess but the wound offered is there to lick, infect and tear even wider apart. A good power house backdrop of noise aids all and 'yes' I'm liking this one.
'One For The Mrs' touches on ground that is intimate, special and somewhat out of bounds. A moment where the turbulence of life is lost, where all demons are cast away and where any niggling ache or thought is banished into the distant land of nowhere. Look, you'll either get this or you won't and in some ways I appreciate the insight and understanding and charming way in which it’s put but in another way am slightly deterred due to the preceding text. This though, when neutrality is taken, is a well written piece and does the job well and although not the ideal climax it is a teasing tingle nonetheless. I would have liked to see the unit thrash out and leave with a flourish but hey - that's honesty for ya and that's an opinion - overall though I shouldn't grumble.
So have a good Wonking session people and see what seeds of assessment you fire forth. Anyone with an inkling for something different should check this and also anyone who likes to dance on the precipice of decency and likes the little things in life that throw one off balance should also take a peek. Get out ya listening meat and hammer away - this just may be your type of listening porn!
BORN TO DESTRUCT - PUNK AS FUCK
BTD have swapped things about a little over the past few years and have started off one way, gone another, bordered on something obscure, struggled and succeeded to different degrees and ended up at this stage - as a good old fashioned punk rock unit ploughing a furrow built on an absence of affectation and insincerity. Nice chaps, nice attitudes - what more could you ask for? Well how about some decent tunes hey...ha, ha - never happy is he old Fungal! So here we go, a good dousing of noise has hit my lugs and this, once again, is the verdict!
'Empty' isn't as such but isn't brimming either. Big impact openings are a must and I feel as though BTD miss the opportunity here. Opening dialogue prepares for a no-nonsense build up and when Woodstock’s gob work gets going we know this is going to be one hell of a gritty listen. This is a foot-in-the-door number with strings kept nice and tight and drums well-paced and in line. A few shuffles, a decent punked feel but just lacking from a pure 'fuck you' number. It gets the ball rolling and I reckon a 6 out of 10 is fair enough whereas the level raises for the sweetly composed 'This Is Not Nostalgia'. Jumping bassism, the stated title and a good build up to the initial verse and in we find ourselves of what is a 4 minute 25 second tester that some, I am sure, will deem a minor classic. Within the journey we are given a taste of what it feels like to be punk, to be able to look back on ones youth with a fondness and what it is like to be realistic and have ones feet firmly planted in the here and now. The music adds a dramatic edge and is done without fuss and over elaboration which is adequate enough for a song of such ilk. Old front lass Kat dips her toes back in the pool (for a little modernised nostalgia) and a nice old tale is told.
'Rattle The Cage' is thoroughly corroded and has some neat shuffles in the intro. A very zested song with plenty of fire in the belly. The chorus and verse construction is simple and no manuals on musical rocket science are going to be re-written here. The simmering aspect however, the unflustered style and shortish running time all combine to make for a listen that won't stretch the mental matter too far. 'Mr Disease' quickly follows and looks rather swiftly into the eye of the tiger and despite the danger lets a full vehement attack flow. String work is taut and tense, drums are sharp on the toes and gob work is as you were. The sonic serpent coils itself up tightly into a frustrated, angry length of muscular musicality and the final 'Fuck Off' is given with all offence meant. Oooh venomous!
'Ordinary Man' taps its foot and then comes forth as a decent song with DIY overlays and undertones of bog standard punkage. The fight for the man in the street who just wants to get on with things and not stand out is thoroughly admirable and when the song whips itself into the 'hopeless' section we have a moment to relish. All artistes thrash it out and go through a transformation where shackles are loosened (as well as bowels) and the band succeed as a result. This effort and the chasing 'Jill Valentine' are perhaps the best brace on the CD with this latter offering just getting on with things without contemplation and thoughtful dawdling. Swift and to the point - an ideal recipe as always for a good punk tune!
'Punk As Fuck' labours and takes its time to get fully going. The tale is told of those punk rock fanatics who are as the title says. Suddenly writer’s blank/scribblers silence hits me and so I fuck off into the inkless wilderness and leave it for now...!
Several thoughts, numerous attempts at re-pushing the pen as they say (although as ye can guess this is typed straight into the oblong digit laden board) and this is how I feel. The opening crawl doesn't convince but when the chorus comes so do the words. More simplicity, more appetite in the delivery and of course more success. The plod next time around adds more emotive extras and a guitar whine aches with desire before the vocals rejoin the fray. A funny old song I can take or leave and yet something niggles away that suggests I am missing something - or is the band missing something - you tell me!
'Trouble With A Capital 3' tries to be clever and comes in 3 segments and as a result lasts for over 11 minutes. Yes Fungal expects to be bored senseless and will state it how it is! Part 1 and it's a tale of crime as 'Dee Dee Devious' does all she can to gain cash and make her sordid name stick in the minds of the vacant. The drive of this song is dirty with a segment abandoned of all guitar work leaving the bass, drums and gravelled gob to hold fort. Slipping into a robotic episode and then grinding out the rest of the ditty and one can't help wondering whether or not this scabbed number works - well yes why not - it opens this terrorised trio in decent style and the switch from this perspired slice into the more glamorous and bouncing Part 2 'Carrie Crimewave' is delightful and this second snip is a real choice cut with BTD hitting many great sonic buttons and creating a really cute moment of punkage. From here we hit the final part known as 'Ronnie Redemption' where the band soar along on self-created cacophonic clouds and seem happy to be wind blown around in a stormy brew that aims for the last note and never looks back. A back is indeed turned, the toneage is tidy and the biggest surprise is when frontman Woodstock relaxes the old vocal chords and lets things pour forth in a more natural kind of way with the result a fuckin' great success. Why this hasn't, and doesn't happen more often on this CD is beyond me but what a crackin' optional route to follow for the next offering! At 3 minutes 48 seconds in people - that is where the most crucial point of this CD doth lay and one that has me re-thinking this whole review and the of course, the final verdict!
'Enemy Enema' is a jolly good do indeed and the sentiment of the song, the general melodic drift and overall pick up and play aspect creates a good listen and nothing more needs really to be said. I do like the sub-pause moment and final wind-down though - see - always something to add! 'Food Critic' is the short arse in the group and is a tirade against the clown we would love to drown, namely Ronnie 'I want to mentally rape you' McDonald. The shit delivered our way by the crooked clown is thrown right back from the sonic weapons of the BTD army and this short blast, I hope, gets the curly haired cunt right in his nasty nadgers. The song is straight ahead and to the point and deserves its place in the mix and is in fact a nice break from all the more stretched out offerings. 'Addictive Destruction' rolls in on refreshed drums before opting to sound like a Special Dutified number borne on the steps of Colchester Council - ha, ha. Besides the obvious comparison this is a choppy little number that donates a change in style to the CD and so is grasped by my ever-hungry lugs. A thrifty, shifty little number this that lets its arse slide along and so avoid a build up of any clogging acoustic haemorrhoids. The gob is tamed a little, more slam dunked notes punctuate, surges included are sweetly separated and what we are left with is a half decent sound to check out when some of the more obvious numbers have a somewhat faded flavour. You know the type of track I am sure and if ya don't - oh sod ya then!
Cymbals splash and a slow meandering drift takes us into the tasty treat that is 'My Street'. The words capture a scenario each and every long term (and short term for that matter) should recognise and be, totally repulsed by. The procedure, the prejudice, the stagnation are all embraced and as a result a call to arms is had to 'Annoy The Neighbours'. A point to note here is how more effective the mouth work is when laboured out over a slower pace where more emotive strings thrive. Ponder, listen over a few times and let me know if you agree or disagree but I am convinced that this is more than a valid point. The song progresses and with a nice moment where drums are abandoned and a stop start sequence invades it gives the whole cacophony a final glossing over and into track 13 we go. Phew what a long do!
Bum, tit, bum, tit drums begin, rotten down guitars join in and the funky monkey sub-psycho, semi-rock flow is upon us with all clichéd wordage spilling from the rock rebel text book and foamed over into our sweated lap. Flash, in keeping with many similar deliveries and dipping into partial-metallic modes of showmanship this effort is a funny little fart but worth inhaling just for the hell of it. The initial whiff is comforting with a slightly poisoned under-essence but after a while the full aroma hits home and one just needs to relax and take it as it is - no worries at all! 'Welcome To The Madhouse' is a great number and is more of the same but has a great asylum effect where all fizzes into life with the build up to the chorus with Woodstock thriving once more with some wonderful singing that feels just so darn unaffected. Come on lad let's keep it this way. The production and playing is, as throughout the CD, of a very good standard and it is always gratifying to watch a band metamorphose into several different stages and come out into a flying punk critter one can truly appreciate. Great stuff this going into the soppy, soft arse finale with a kink in the brain. The finale is a 'Song For Kat' and just highlights what a big soft shit that Woodstock is and why I love the guy and appreciate what he is all about. A big fuckin' puddin' with a heart of gold who just gets on with things, tries to see the good in people and at last is shaking of the shithawks that take the piss. He does is bit for punk, is a top bloke and is happy doing what he does and his daughter Kat (ex-BTD singer if ya didn't know tut, tut) should be bloody well proud of him - I know I am! The song is an extra that really is a personal episode - it is played well and does the job it sets out to do but is a song not for me to comment on - respect!
And that my friend is another fucking BTD review. The best offering to date - yes why the hell not and with many snippets to cut out and take as evidence to prove that there is still a whole lot more in the tank. This is a minor success for a band who stick in there and succeed in their own stubborn way and that is how all bands should be. Never give in, take criticism on the chin, ponder and use as a weapon to improve your lot and most importantly enjoy this racket for the noise that it is and the small opportunities it brings and the large amounts of fun and frustration is throws at ya. It is punk as fuck and even if you don't like it the fact remains that it still will be - end of and up those that are forever Born To Destruct!
PRESSURE 28 - UNIFIED
The fingers point, the tongues wag and many rumours are had. I get the CD, ignore all the wank talk and do my bit as a musical reviewer hopefully giving good constructive criticism in a way that is Fungally consistent. I don't do bollocks, I don't do prejudice, I don't do the petty games the music scene tries to involve me with - what I do is try and push along the racket. Think on, fuck you and read this! Pressure 28 are a decent enough Oi band with loads of good miles under their belts and hopefully more to come. The scene dishes its dirt in many ways and this lot have had their fair share but they knock out many a good tune along the way and if you are turned off without having had a listen then more fuckin' fool you.
We open this one with the honest utterances of 'Your Responsibility' a song that deals with social themes hammered out over and over again within the Oi scene but which still need harking on about, and if you disagree then get your head out of the sand. Freshly plucked bass opens, before a real orthodox street plod follows with wordage that knocks the state of this septic nation and all the fuckin' bullshit that occurs therein. A system gone desperately wrong with all hope lost due to, as stated in the title, a lack of 'responsibility'. The essence of the song is fine, the simplicity ideal and what we have is nothing more then a good old effort that hits punk hotspots some are too embarrassed to admit to - silly cunts!
'No Mercy' is a real strong number that is delivered in an uncompromising way. The guitars cut along, drums splash around and bass solidifies. The front gob releases the vengeful vitriol and what we have is a vicious piece that aims to cut off yer balls and leave you thinking. The verses creep with a sinister threat and the glory of the hunt comes to fruition via a chorus that once more lacks frills but really doesn't need them. The repetitive tribal chant of 'scum' is thuggish and off the council estates and reeks of a mob mentality which isn't really a good thing but in this case gets away with it. Well within the chosen genre and I, for one, have no complaints. 'Spirit Of 69' opens with clean cut guitars and rising cymbals before a sub-roll leads us to a well driven episode of street music that aches with a skinned pride you just can't beat. The chorus has a few frayed edges and isn't as polished as I would have expected but this one is for the ones in the know and they will lap it up like true dogs of war feeding hard against the wishes of the masses. It does kindle the inner flame and I am sure that is what it sets out to do - sweet!
'Tell Me A Story' begins in a dumbed down way before letting itself go a little with a somewhat dulled first verse. One worries this is going to be the first buggered titty in this healthy acoustic bra of prime paps but one need not worry as a fine nipple of noise bursts through via a chorus were melodic milk splatters the walls of the listening lugs and makes one pay attention. The demand in the lyrics stomps hard and it is one of the best moments of the CD thus far and initial worries of not being thoroughly fed are banished as our hungry maws suck at the sonica for all its worth. 'Dodging The Bullets' is the most intrinsically basic outburst thus far and is one I can take when bevvied or in a mood for something easily digested or, is one I can leave when desiring something more profound or erudite. It will get a few more spins here and there but will never be a permanent fixture on the Fungal play list. 'Pull No Punches' is, just perhaps, the pick of the pops and has a higher degree of articulate delivery, has more thought and has greater construction that keeps this clever number all at the fore of the nugget. The old war hero who put his ass on the line is shown here as a victim of the mindless disrespecting twats who are happy to wallow in the mire. Thoughts are of the good old days (if they existed) and a call for a better country where values are less disjointed. The commencement is gentle and tiptoes forth with tentative strokes before using the well paced verse to lead into the effective chorus crusade that twists around within the mix and is the most effective tool. With another short but careful instrumental snippet this is fair old listen is complete.
'Do Wot You Like' is a good punchy little tune with a good dance and prance effect that will have the smashed on the floor and the rest wanting more. I like the whole uncertainty and unpredictability of the words and the general essence with the four wired weapon once more thriving away amidst a nice old cacophonic melody. The theme of doing it your way comes via the focussed onslaught of 'Unified' a ditty that takes nothing shitty and moves from first to last without any dilly dallying around. Besides a spacious middle section this is a straight forward thrust and fills a gap quite neatly. More sun doth shine though from the following track, which, although a cover, is a choice inclusion and keeps a certain theme travelling. 'Time For Action', is nothing less than that old Secret Affair number that shone with polished moddish affectation and well preened hygiene. This ain't a half bad cover and has the expected flare and flavour that will meet the needs of the nostalgic retro nuts.
4 to go and rounding them up in one foul swoop we have 'We're Alright' that is much more of the same thing and is perhaps easily bypassed as there are no real thrills and spills to enthral. 'Waste Of Time' isn't that and has a much leaner sound with yet more bassism dictating and creating the better end appeal. A concrete track this one and followed by the unmentioned and very chirpy 'Waking Up Rich'. A cheeky fella this and one that goes down quite alright thank you. The finale is a crude piss-about that will have the sots swaying along in tune and putting the boot into the 20 stone sack of crap we know as Father Christmas. 'Santa That's My Wife' has the old deliverer of prezzies cast as a sex pest and in a compromising position with an unfortunates wife. Average stuff with a dirty old twist - take your chances on this one!
Overall this CD isn't a bad offering and Pressure 28 do provide a good treat in the 'live' pit as well. I like this band and more than anything I like the fact that they have stuck at it despite the detractors and wannabe dictators. I reckon there is a whole lot more in reserve and perhaps, if any criticism is worthy of mention, it is maybe this time proceedings have been held in check by attempting to be a little too traditional for their chosen hole of acoustica. Nevertheless this is worth picking up especially if ya like a good nOIse!
BENEDICT ARNOLD - WE'RE ALL IN
Technically testing, boundaries stretched to the new school max and purified incessancy the order of the day Benedict Arnold are, in many respects, out of my chosen sonic sphere but when bands fuckin' drive home their noisy nails with such talent and melodic timing, whilst still retaining the punked passion, then I am all eyes and ears. One song was all it took to lead to a small review and in turn the receipt of this CD. I was worried the song I had assessed may have misled me and was suspecting an overly tweaked piece of unnecessary flamboyance that really would leave me bewildered. How wrong I was!
Screaming taut emergency warnings are given and then the wonderful full on high focus tumult cascades forth and 'Hit It Harder' slams and whams home in glorious style with Benedict Arnold power pumping a gargantuan punked out song as hard as is truly necessary. The turbo madness walks a dangerous line and could easily tumble down into the bowels of complete failure but these skilled minstrels pluck, fuck and tuck neatly in all components and give you a stunning beauty to yank ya acoustic plank over. To open in grand bang on style is, as I repeat over and over again, a necessity not to be missed and I delight in this victorious example that proves the point no end.
'Shut In' brims with fury and relies on a deeper penetrating drive that perspires with passion and over indulges the technical taste buds of which, I am unhappy to confess, I do lack many, but when the flavour is so darn feisty and fruity I can do nothing less than salivate. A big but brief segment of riffage is inserted into the meat of the mayhem with added 'Heys' encouraging further indulgence. Raging fury seasons all areas, tight instrumental work sweetens and the end production packages neatly and leaves me sincerely impressed with this opening brace. More please!
'Population Control' hybridises the title with an offer of suicide and comes across as a crazed piece. Hectic drums collapse, guitars try to create order and then after a yell from hell enthused gushings spill from the lips of the loud mouth at the fore. The most Americanised piece and one which will undoubtedly attract most interest from the lighter end of the punked spectrum. The pace saves face as the screwed up angst of the previous two tracks is abandoned. This instance gives the listener more time to admire the accuracy of the crew and although not the most hard hitting song on this lush CD it is a fair track and swoops down and plucks you up with swift grace. A belch, a tribal beat and a swerve of the strings and yet more US-ified noise pours forth with the promotion of drinking til' ya drop and flop the order of the day. 'I've Got The Cure' is a bold claim amidst a sinewy song and one that has me comparing to several essences of yore. The style opted for here should surely project the BA band into greater stratospheres but this industry is riddled with self-appointed know it all deceivers and so nothing is guaranteed. I like this song anyhow and if it disappears into the nowhere land of lost tunes then I have still had the pleasure - that's how it goes.
Next up and 'Abandon All Reason' prospers with the message of spontaneity which mirrors the modus operandi of the band and the style in which all output is projected. From the opening intricacies that intersperse with brief racket attacks to the verse that glides on spacious air to the semi-chorus moments this is my least favoured track of the five spun thus far but adds intrigue with its energy boosting approach and lively effect. The ethos of the lyrics is welcome but I find this snippet a little disjointed and unsure of itself although the multiplied gobbology helps as does the sharpish running time. An electric death knell and then thrusting chords takes us into the gristly meat of 'The Harvest'. A more sabled sound as the rhythmic vampires groom away and look for fresh victims of the noise! The slight regression in positivity and general incandescence makes this an interesting journey into darker recesses where Benedict Arnold will undoubtedly find further options to overpower. As the song advances we are met with an avalanche of power slams that leaves us reeling. A brief attempt to recover is useless as we are slammed further and then dragged by this musical monster into the cauldron of the 7th track entitled 'Human Stew'. Tortured tones after a transient rumble and no sooner has the delicious pain subsided than the band thrash forth aiming to hit the finish line with a overwhelming impact that will leave scars to ponder. Above the hard laboured riffage the vocals remain less tarnished than expected and do well to survive despite my digits being ready to pounce with critical text. Notable stuff and at over the halfway mark the BA boys are living fast and thriving close to the knuckle. Nice subject matter in the last one too - listen good now.
The first song not to fully resonate within my soul comes next as the somewhat uncontrolled 'Bound And Determined' loses itself and leaves the least impression thus far. As a yell fest the song is Ok but as a comparison to all preceding explosions it is the weakest and relies on a smidgen of repetitivity and just too much wayward rhythm. Not flaccid but nothing filled with bloated blood either - a 'one of those' moments. 'Weird Looks From Strange People' grooves it up and swirls around in a cool dude way. No sooner are we relaxed than the doctors of noise prescribe us more straight forward tablets of tone that give moments of motivation as well as spontaneous snippets of psychedelic switch off! Yet more bollocks in the right regions and we flash forth onto 'Shadow's Watch' which is a plain Jane of a track and emphasises the fact that Benedict Arnold are far more effective when being ambitious as regards speed and when having the desire to flash all inner areas with utter abandon. Half decent this one with all tight and in check but just not reaching high enough so as to pluck juicy fruit from the tree of discordance. The leaves that are left however rustle with a 'Western Wind', a song that pulsates with hard pressed string work and slightly over-indulgent tweakings. The power reigns supreme though and this wired up cutlet of rich veined rhythm is a sound way to close proceedings. As a bonus ye fuckers of all things loud get another track and if you buy the CD you'll get the chance to review it so I can add it here - come on idlers!
So Benedict Arnold come, soak me in sonic semen in the main and leave the odd dry flaky bit that I, in my acoustic perversion, can take or leave. Overall though this is a fuckin' decent listen and has many pumping moments to satiate your desires. Yes - let's see what comes next and hopefully you can join up with this lot in the meantime and find something to appeal - I know I have!
SLAB - BETRAY THE PAST, INFECT THE FUTURE
A sidling malevolent musical malaise floats from the speakers and drifts with decadent persuasion into the awaiting orifices of the listener with only one instinctive design in mind - to corrupt, to destroy, to infect! The intense penetrating hostility this band generate is riddled with sonic sickness and only those of more sturdy constitutions will hold up, absorb, resist and get to grips with. The raging fever will surge through your soul and with decisive judgement separate the acting wheat from the refusing chaff. Oh yes, a mix to disconnect the opposing views and to crush all those found in a stance of indecision - be warned this is music to be trifled with – beware the falling Slab!
We open with the blackened artistry that is the intro known as 'Vi, Vi' Vi', a mixture of mayhem that uses taloned hands to carve out a scene we will be very much haunted by as the final raped and ragged curtain falls. 26 seconds of 'behind the veil' horror and then the first pulverising chapter of punishment is read. 'Chaos Bastard' grumbles in on griped bass with fucked up vocals assisting. A burnt scream, some deeply screwed guitars that twist into unknown areas of flesh and then the true agony unfolds and an unrepentant grind pummels us to our creaking knees. Deep hardcore riffage, meat mushing vocals, slap and sting drums and what we have is scalding hot sonica that many just can't take. This acquired taste is only partaken of in the Fungal realms if concocted perfectly and produced so as to make for one boulder-heaving blast. Anything of this ilk just off the mark suffers badly but Slab nail it and do it with a powerful presence and inposing mastery. As soon as this one tails off we segue into the awaiting jaws of the malevolent 'Facebreak'. Tossed around the melodic mouth the teasing toying intro repeats, pulses, gently nibbles back at the resistance. Drawn out gob work is unnecessary as the tension builds and no extra seasoning is needed. We know the imploding corruption will come and indeed it does and with all robes of decadence, defiance and devilry flowing we are sucked into a spiralling hellhole where screams freeze the blood, uncertainty maintains a threshold and terror tantalises. When the band wind up the horror acoustics what we get is a most arousing noise that relishes the hideous scenario created. The quieter moments are essential but as stand alone components do very little. Like flour to the cake - flavourless but very, very crucial. This long sequence (over 6 minutes folks) is a true test of my patience and I find myself afraid that the journey is over before my critical killer punches come - now there must be something the band are doing well. In truth, this isn't my chosen noise but I can't help but admire how the crew compose and deliver - very satisfying and a definite 'yes' from Fungal thus far!
'Bury My Dog' commences with all areas cloaked in uncertainty and no-one wishing to take the first leap of faith. Eventually the song makes an effort only to momentarily slip back into submissive mode. Another burst with vocal escort and then another fall down before the true zestful insanity of the song is produced. Harsh and confused the fire is indeed stoked but not forgotten and the main blaze is surely bellowed out from fiery tonsils that glow with seething passionate angst. A drum sequence is out of place but is soon forgotten as the pinnacle of lunacy is attained and we are given the final repeat of 'fire and forget' that does climax in an unholy scream where the soul is once and for all finally damned to hell. Without hesitancy we are catapulted into the machined industrialisation of 'Yi Zi Er Shi', an uncompromising piece of functioning noise that will not be stopped. The pulse is strong, the glow blinding and with yet more unexpected psychological switch offs and intrusions the virus cultivated by Slab continues. The band feed on your acoustic offspring and in return they offer you their own! The true horror is yours to partake of and the controversial theme of hungry peasants is thine to ponder.
'Cogumelo Blue' is perhaps...just perhaps, my favourite song of the bunch and contrasts light and dark shades quite sweetly and thus brings out the best in both tones. Water falls, delicate strings work with lazed sticks and offer a 'time out' moment where one can assess the ring craft of this solid crew. When the temperature rises it is with stunning effect and all facets set out to blind with stunning brutality and breathless persuasion. An underlying desperation adds deeper strata, the aforementioned contrasts make bolder impressions with each spin and this is judged as one behemoth of a track. Whereas 'Cogulemo Blue' climbs high in the cacophonous canopy the pursuing 'Vines' crawls along the flat-lined floor and really fails to get a hold of my listening favour. The tight opening sequence promises, the sub-banshee/sub-bitch prepares to devour and with more demonised expulsions I do wonder why this one doesn't have as much effect. The answer comes during a self-imposed pause - the fact is that when listened to as the 7th track one finds it a little too much to bear but when one switches back on after the aforementioned break and commences with this as the opening piece then a different opinion is created. The mind is refreshed, the attention re-invigorated and so better scrutiny can be maintained and this is a greater track than first deemed. A good ear-splitting offering and it is the pursuing 'Conspiracy' that doesn't fair as well at the start and even though listened to as a stand alone I do find the opening a little too ineffective. Never fear though as soon as the deathly chimes subside and the slow grinding march expires we are eventually whipped up within the effervescence craziness of the song that swirls around in a maelstrom of self perpetuating discordance. Still the bewildering levels continue but beware - the end of Slabs run is soon about to end. Can they make it to the end with all cylinders firing?
'Devilwalk' comes from the meat factory and sees flesh torn apart with musical maws that just still want to molest. This penultimate attempt at rhythmic rape is the least successful and too many unnecessary hesitations are taken and so impede the natural evilness of the output. 'Extinction Forums' rages about the loss of life and does so over a marathon 9 minutes 18 seconds which is a bold move for a finishing track. The song is more of the same and as disarming as could be. There is one thing to say at this stage and that is Slab take no prisoners, remain unapologetic and keep everything searing until the final blast. Even if this isn't your thing you have got to give some respect for that!
So 10 tracks presided over and hopefully given a fair assessment. This has been a fair old trial for Fungal but good training it seems as I have on my hands another Slabboid CD with another bundle of tracks to textually maul. I expect more of the same but one never knows and if indeed I am right then due care and consideration will be given. This is heavy stuff - are your melodic muscles strong enough?
FUCK - IT'S PRONOUNCED SHIT EP
You have several minutes to make a racket and please the swift pop punk enthusiasts or the local rectal rapist will pay you a visit with his new anal spoon and scoop you out a second duffel bag. The challenge is set and this is what a quick creation known as 'Fuck' have come up with. The songs are short and rough so I shall adopt the same style. I sandpaper my member, down a bottle of methylated spirits, sleep with the local whore and type this on bended knees wearing a Ronnie Corbett mask - rat a tap tap - whoosh - here's the overview dudies!
'I Need My Inhaler' states the case of being ugly and having wank lungs and relates the tale in one 34 second burst of idiot frenzy, self loathing stupidity and driving riffage - no sooner started than nailed at the last with four strums to leave you bewildered – yes, oh how I like it this way. 'Tuesday Morning Staring Match With A Dog' doesn't fuck about and is more of the same with emphasis slightly greater on the melody. You could absolutely hate this song if you were given chance but alas you won't be as this one is shorter and sharper and does the business for the swift sonic nutcase. The best song so far is next with 'I've Died A Few Times Already' capturing a blue light incessancy that brings emergency reactions from the popped neurones within and…the head melts as a result. A mashed up tale of night terrors and one I can truly relate to being an accursed midnight soul who dreams of things one should never ever be forced to even consider. This one is way too short and a good 2 minute blast out needs to be worked upon with success, I am sure, only a matter of course - delicious!
'A Sorry Excuse For A Song Hiding Behind A Long And Witty Title' is 10 seconds of noise relating to the curse of flashbacks. It comes, it goes - the band didn't have nothing more to add and neither have I! 'It's Fuckin' Freezing Man' is a delicious treat that tells of a dude hanging around in the freezing rain whilst awaiting his mate to return home so he can use and abuse his facilities (no not sexually) and sleep on the much yearned after couch. How such a terse track can contain so much magic is beyond me but these kings of compression have managed a real pip that once more rattles by just too quickly and so has you reaching for the replay button immediately. The paradox is I want it brief and banging and when it is I get frustrated and want it all over again - oh the perversion!
'You Look Like I Need A Wank' throws a spanner in the works and takes great delight in informing us that this EP is a waste of the bands, and our, time. Insulting, revolting, what a stroke of misdirected genius and the fact that it isn't meant as some great moment makes for something laughable yet plausible. The song is just a switched off assault that seems bored with its own bollocks and in some way the essence of popped emotion is caught by a noisy net flailing away like a mad un'.
So the whole EP was done and dusted in 45 minutes and reviewed in even less. That makes this whole affair a travesty and an episode to learn from - but - captures some nice, succinct sonica in the process and leaves a few choice sparks that may just ignite a further conflagration. I hope it does and if it doesn't - well - what a waste of fuckin' time - but then isn't 90% of your life ha, ha!
DIRTBOX DISCO - ARE YOU READY
The world is a shithole and ye be the veritable outsider armed with some fancy dress, a mind full of noise and a set of disco lights. One can run like fuck and avoid any confrontation or, like the band here, meet fellow deviants, adorn oneself in the aforementioned garments and climb into the crap pack and get those lights flashing. I am so glad that out on the rim there are people such as Dirtbox Disco who are willing to take the anal plunge and wallow in the rhythmic bowels and create danceable numbers etched with punkage, moulded with Rock and Roll awareness but most importantly streaked with fun. OK the punk aspect is perhaps the least important but it is still there albeit in a small way that really doesn't matter anyway and which will, in the main, help the band not get too bogged down in the scenes petty politics and hopefully assist them in travelling further afield and meeting the needs of different sonic vultures. I sound enthusiastic don't I, here is the reason why:-
EPIC PROBLEM - DEMO
A new band on the block with a few well worn players in the mix on which I shall not dwell and not mention the word that many seem to bandy about as though it should make a difference. Someone has to be awkward, honest and fair so once again I'll fuckin' jump up and be the critical cunt and do my bit for those who request it. The boots of neutrality are donned, the fingers of the outsider ready to tap and in we go without any of that punky prejudice that makes me utterly sick.
'Battles' gives off an initial warmth that is filled with fumes from a blaze built on murky materials influenced by a vast range of cacophonic peddlers. The initial soldier march is slightly roughened and so adds intrigue for a seeker of Do It Yourself flavours. The first words are uttered with a gravelled gravy soaking all the inner beef and so giving something tasty but not extravagant. The drums plod away as do the stringed serpents and so the song relies on a drawn out pummelling rather that a swift 'have that' kicking. The intensity is far from scorching but when volume is added the sincerity of the delivery breaks through and as a result my job as assessor is easier. For an opening gambit I feel a safety first option has been took but this doesn't leave me as cold as you would think and I am happy to give a slightly above average rating at this point. 'Versus' punctuates and alternates inflection and instruments before blasting along on ragged heels and thus increasing the all round tempo of the CD. A more deliberate punked up offering finding time to squeeze in a sub-emotive section that dwells nicely before the final wind down to the finishing slam. Not bad at all this one and with a little more polish in the production room a reliable 'in the pit' number is had for when the 'live' fire needs to be stoked.
The closure of the trio comes with '(Not So) Smart Bombs', a more erudite composite with the band finding, I feel, their truer feet and the direction that they may go. A real good vibe blooms from the opening shuffled buds with the vocals this time, challenged more and succeeding as a result. The structure of the lyrics is less orthodox, the rusted end output more complimentary and the gritted out incessancy of greater belief, thus we have the most favoured track of the trio. All players know their script, as they do on all tracks, and so something half decent this way comes.
Overall I think the band should be happy with this opening statement and even though I have been a little critical and subdued in my words it is more than a little obvious the band have potential and after watching Epic Problem on their debut performance this belief is more than assured. Basically all the crew need to do is settle in a bit more, seek out the definite track and take some slight risks and go out for some big moments that take the acoustic bull by the horns and fuck him ragged. It’s in there for sure but just needs poking and encouraging out I feel - so here we go then - prod fuckin' prod.