Carving out a noise which simultaneously torments and seduces the senses, US band Nonagon is an encounter which challenges and rewards with an equal intensity and vitriolic craft. Their third EP The Last Hydronaut takes no prisoners, its offering demanding and invigorating with a squall which blends stretches of punk and garage rock with noise and post punk/post metal irreverence. To be honest the six track release and songwriting of the Chicago trio defies any exact definition of their violations but that is just the start of the enjoyment and potency of the release.
Nonagon was formed in 2003 by drummer Tony Aimone (ex-The Blue Meanies, J. Davis Trio, Taylor), bassist Robert Gomez (ex- Der Lugomen and of Martian Law), and guitarist John Hastie (ex- Jumpknuckle). The band released the No Sun EP in 2008 and the People Live Everywhere EP last year, the first a more punk driven causticity whilst its successor shows the beginnings of the varied corrosive endeavours which ignites The Last Hydronaut. The new release sees the band taking another step forward, it’s uncomfortable and compelling presence a fury of unconventional and uncompromising uniqueness as destructive as acid and as thrilling as a magnetic storm.
Opener Razing All Boats instantly ignites ears and emotions, its initial crowding of the senses a tempest of sinew driven rhythms, bass predation and antagonistic riffing. That starting scourge never changes across the track but with the squalling vocals and niggling groove irresistibly capturing the imagination, the song makes a constantly riveting and dramatic introduction to the release. The throaty bass prowl and unpredictable rhythmic caging reminds of early Killing Joke in a union with The Fall whilst with the scowling punk vocals across the grazing riffery the song aligns a mix of Converge and at times Melvins. It is an excellent rage soon matched by The Pfister, another virulent torrential abrasion which teases, taunts, and tantalises with a multi-flavoured acidity. The bass makes the early call before sonic guitar scrubbing disguised as a groove employs its excellent toxicity upon senses and emotions. The vocals help create a presence which recalls eighties band The Three Johns whilst the melodic intent of the barbed groove with discord an enthralling bedfellow adds elements of The Fire Engines to the outstanding confrontation.
For those old references the EP and sound is a refreshing wind of modern inclination which King Corky takes to another depth of potency with addiction forging niggling grooves and guitar temptation. Less immediate than its predecessor but no less intense and dramatically contagious, the track creates a daunting consuming web prowled by the excellent bass courting of the ears, its crawl and enticement as rapacious as the equally predatory drum exploits which builds an enthralling frame for guitars and vocals to spurt their fractious sonic brawls from.
Both Elvis and Affinity Fraud increase that intensity previously taken to darker places to even heavier testing heights, the first with a rigorous almost destructive presence whilst the second of the two twists and turns with a scalding and scathing invention of melodically drenched sonic hunger. Though neither quite lives up to their predecessors, the experimental invention and hunger to push their boundaries is undeniably fascinating and gripping, the second at times almost bringing whispers of pop punk to bear within its sour laced pungent enterprise.
The final track Hydronauts completes the excellent release with more of the same adventure in a new appealing guise for the EP, vocals and guitars acerbic bait inside a continually arresting and incendiary rhythmic ingenuity. The Last Hydronaut will not be an easy listen for some and noise manna for others. For us with repetition and spellbinding droning as much a bewitching antagonist as the rhythmic conjuring and sonic tempestuousness, the EP is a gripping and exhilarating trial for nerves and senses.
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