With more hip grinding grooves than a dozen pole dancing establishments, and certainly heavier boned treats, Back On The Skull the debut album from Texan noise rockers Plug enslaves and dances with the passions in exhausting and riveting style. With jackhammer rhythms powering ridiculously addictive grooves and equally seductive riffs, the eleven track juggernaut creates a loud and virulently compelling storm which is far too easy to greedily devour to surely be safe for any of us.
Formed in 2010 and consisting of ex and current members of Mammoth Grinder, Iron Age, Bitter End, FEED, and The Mites, Plug merges a voracious mix of noise and hard rock with metallic sinews and punk antagonism whilst stoner and psychedelic enticements add their seduction. It is an exhaustive and breath-taking brew which simply ignites the imagination and passion. Imagine a tonic being made up from the essences of Unsane, Melvins, Torche, Red Fang, and Helmet whilst Dead Kennedys pees in the pot and you get a reasonably close dose to what Plug has to offer. It is a sound which is not exactly unique but neither is it without a distinctive flavour and intrigue of its very own, Back On The Skull working and playing hard from the moment it touches the ears and rewarding with a torrent of mouth-watering intensity and noisy drama clad adventure.
The San Antonio quintet of vocalist Tyler Lutz, guitarists Scott Corbin and Zach Brin, drummer Raul Vela IV, and Chris Ulsh of Mammoth Grinder, Power Trip, Hatred Surge, and The Impalers who provides the bass guitar for the album (Reed Deangelis the band’s current bassist), immediately chomp on the ears with opener Babysmile. Riffs and rhythms are almost grinning as they launch their muscular persuasion; a mischief soaking their thumping lure which evolves into a full swagger as the track extends its temptation with a rousing stroll through infection soaked grooving aligned to rhythmic taunting. The vocals of Lutz match the call of the music and with all aspects making an anthemic union, there is an irresistible recruitment of total attention and submission from its recipient.
Meanwhile… is more than eager to back-up the immense start, its own wanton romp swinging brazenly between rhythmic legs as grooves and riffs again cast a spell of noise bred contagion for a minute and a half before evolving into the title track. Bringing a heavier weighted energy and intent, the third song stalks its victim with a leaden prowl wrapped in scuzz lilted melodies and harmonically scorched vocals. There is an element of The Pixies and more so Melvins to the smouldering intensive bait on show but again it only flavours a magnetic sonic causticity distinct to Plug.
A potent bass coaxing opens up next track Rainbow To Hell, the song continuing the arguably subtle shifts in character through the early tracks on the album but equally increasing that variety with its sludge coated predation of the imagination. A slower burner than its predecessors, the immersive encounter employs further detailed yet restrained twists and turns in its invention within a patient consumption. It does not quite match those early heights either but easily reinforces the appetite ready for the likes of the following cover of Discharge’s State Violence, State Control. Bringing a greater carnivorous breath through the guitars to the song to replace the more violent aggression of the original, it is a satisfying provocation though it pales against the bands own tempting.
Pigbomb and Cadence steal their hefty portion of the acclaim next, the first rife with intensive rabidity and discord lined scuzziness as well as another groove and collection of hooks to drool over whilst the second is a sultry psychedelic/stoner flight through a heated climate of melodic exploration. Though another not to make a quick suasion, it is an absorbing drift through evocative textures and new intrigue from the release. Their allurement is soon pushed aside by the outstanding Hideous Rex, a ravenous track which does not rush its attack but unrelentingly nags with dark rapacious riffs and a hefty atmosphere which feels like it is licking its bulging lips as it smothers the senses.
A great cover of the Fang track The Money Will Roll Right In steps up next, its sonic grazing speared by another addiction forging groove and great squalling vocals, before the rampancy of Mexican Death Hammer unleashes its claim for best track with a torrent of bruising riffs and crippling rhythms spiced with a sonic web of discord leaning crafted invention. It is a glorious incitement for the passions and does indeed steal top honours from a flood of exceptional encounters.
The release is completed by the epic Sphere 3, a nine minute dronathon of menacing intensity and invasive sonic toxicity washed over by spellbinding vocal harmonies. It is a meditative danger which seduces from first doom seeping note to its last corrosive breath, and though for personal tastes probably a couple of minutes too long to hold attention tightly nearing its end, the track is a dark beauty of an evocation to end a scintillating release.
Available as a buy now name your price release at their Bandcamp profile, Back On The Skull is an epidemically riveting and thrilling encounter which thrusts Plug right up there with the likes of Torche, Kylesa, Buzzov*en, Orange Goblin and the like. This is an album all riff hankerers must add to their sonic landscapes.
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