We have always thought and declared Coilguns as one of the most important bands in rock music today, a group of musicians who are evolving a template for future extreme noise bands to aspire to. Through their varied releases the Swiss trio has grown and evolved from something already special into a force of creativity which is as inspiring as it is destructive. For all the great things to date it they all pale against the stunning might of their debut album Commuters, a release which makes our current sense of their importance seem inadequate.
Consisting of The Ocean members Louis Jucker (vocals), Jona Nido (guitars, bass, mini-moog), and Luc Hess (drums, bass), Coilguns conjure extensive intrusions which explore a merger of d-beat, grind, black metal, and a technical prowess which strips the senses whilst rewarding them with sheer corrosive pleasure. Though discussed as a project for many years the band found its seeds in the songwriting of Nido whilst alone in the US. Returning he recruited the other members and within weeks they left a studio with three striking tracks which went to make up the excellent split release with Kunz on Pelagic Records in 2011. The EP Stadia Rods followed the next year, a raw and devastating 30 minutes release recorded as a live confrontation in a day. After the following impressive and acclaimed split release with NVRVD also in 2012, Coilguns was at their height of power and invention, or so many thought but Commuters is the band at another incredible aggressively inventive level and just another step in their unstoppable rise.
Released on Pelagic Records on February 22nd, Commuters was again recorded entirely live apart from the vocals, each song in one take and it is this intensive attack which also helps alongside the immense songwriting, to give it the organic power and energy which sets the release and band apart from the rest. It is abrasive and intimidating but layered with textures and primal structures which are violent manna for thought and passion. The album also features invited guests including Keijo Niinima (Rotten Sounds / Nasum) who added vocals for a track.
The release opens with the two parts of the title track, the first bursting onto the ear with stirring riffs and a towering rumble of rhythms and energy. Into its hungry stance the track expands into a tempest of incendiary sonics, persistent drum jabs, and a breath which scars and gnaws on the senses whilst the clean squalls of vocals lay their declaration with passion and aggressive intent. The track is an exhausting encounter which ignites every primitive and emotional response within and leaves a blissfully sore and breathless listener in its wake though there is no time to sit back and soothe the wounds as such as part two looms into view on military beats and a stroking acidic guitar caress. The spoken vocals engage thoughts and ear with their evocative narrative and there is an unsettled peace soaking the air though also a slowly brewing intensity which grows as the track and vocals conspire to consume and thrill. It is well into the second half of its eleven minute presence that you realise just how much the song has thickened in intensity and a kind of desperation is coating the vocal encounter and as the realisation sinks in the track frees its full corrosive magnificence to devour and burn the senses.
The sensational likes of Hypnograms with its insidious groove and mesmeric persistent seduction and the equally compelling Machines of Sleep bring a diverse yet similarly destructive facet as of the first songs to the continually evolving album. Both tracks are linked in venom and malevolence with the second the brutal merciless doppelganger to the milder mannered but still aggressively intimidating first sonic flame. To be honest there are not enough varied and strong enough superlatives to be found to describe the album at this point alone such the abusive and creative masterclass of perfectly designed contagious noise let loose so take it as read that from here on in Commuters just pushes the boundaries of band and extreme music beyond their limits with skill and startling imagination.
First single from the album Plug-in Citizens is a brawling furnace of intensity which enriches the already spawn rapture further whilst songs like the infectious and ruinous Submarine Warfare Anthem and the ravenous Minkowski Manhattan Distance featuring Keijo Niinima, thrust body and soul into a manic maelstrom of fierce ingenuity. The diversity and blistering quality just continues right through to the end with 21 Almonds a Day and Flippists / Privateers further pinnacles in nothing but powerful highlights.
Commuters is quite brilliant, an album which will be called a classic for decades to come, and right now Coilguns stands even more impressively as one of the most important bands in music today.
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