French extreme metallers Plebeian Grandstand has one of those sounds which is so viciously ugly and vehemently destructive that you cannot understand why it is just so compelling as evidenced by their second album Lowgazers. Consisting of eight mercilessly voracious smogs of corrosive ambience and sonic violence, the release is pure noise toxicity; an insatiable pestilence of sound and hostility but as it suffocates and violates ears and beyond it is also dangerously addictive. To be honest it is hard to say exactly why this is so, though certainly the band craft the demise of the senses with undeniable invention and antagonistic passions, but the bottom line is that it is one compelling scourge and at the end of the hellacious day that is what it is all about.
Plebeian Grandstand have fused the darkest venomous, uncivil aspects of black metal with the equally poisonous core essences of hardcore and sludge metal; the result a maelstrom of spiteful dissonance and ravenous intensity which takes the listener into a ruthless tempest of sonic devastation, leaving them there basking and cowering in a primal wasteland, in this case Lowgazers. The release is the most destructive and bedlamic onslaught from the Paris based quartet yet, pushing intensively further the boundaries and inventive vitriol of their sound as first unveiled on their self-titled EP of 2008. Debut album How Hate is Hard to Define two years later ensured the band make an attention forging scar on the metal scene as equally did the band’s live performances which across the past years has seen them leave waste stages across Europe alongside bands such as Pelican, Horse The Band, Loma Prieta, The Holy Mountain, Off Minor, Intronaut, Celeste, The Ocean, I Pilot Daemon, Carnival In Coals, and Manimal. Two splits with firstly Divider and Bone Dance in 2011 and Cortez the following year arguably hinted at the jaundiced proposition to come but Lowgazers reaches far deeper into the blackest rancorous depths than imagined and could have been anticipated.
Recorded and mixed by Amaury Sauvé (Birds In Row, Calvaiire, Death Engine), the album immediately has thoughts running scared as opener Thrvst emerges from a cold sonic ambience. Its sinister embrace is soon joined by slow sonic chords which entwine their lures tightly around ears before the onrush of barbarous blast beats and a tortuous sonic enslavement of the senses. Vocals viciously squall from within the storm, spewing their grudging malevolence across the unrelenting rhythmic abuse. All the time though there is a caustic groove, for want of a better word, which lays down the fullest contagious toxic bait from the inside of the noise friction consuming air and victim.
It is a crippling start to the album which evolves without real respite or respect for wounds into the following Endless Craving, another rapacious torment which smothers, gnaws, and devours body and soul. As I am sure you have assumed this is not easy listening, not an encounter with any ounce of comfort or mercy musically or vocally, and most like lyrically, though at times only the intensity of the delivery and surrounding fury is a clue but you can safely assume these will not be tales of love and golden fields. The track rages and ignites every rabid muscle and raw breath within itself for the nastiest rewarding exploit.
Whether it is an accumulative effect or simply the greater brutality of the songs, both Flail in the Bliss and Lowlifer put the listener under the strongest examination yet on the release, the first an inharmonious swamp of inventively cast malice and the second a synapse searing cacophony of vocal and emotional pain within an equally tormented furnace of mentally permeating sound. It has the senses ringing as it fades into fluid transformation into the ambient noise bred Relief of Troth. It is hard to call it an instrumental as the piece is more a pass over a caustic wasteland with hazardous shadows and sinister breath.
Svn in Your Head mentally burns from its first acrid note; slowly unveiling an intrepid malignancy of sonic enveloping which stalks and invades with a doom spawned energy and sludge thick animosity, never relenting in its prowling weight of provocation and heavily leaning sound. As all the tracks, and album come to that, whether enjoyment comes into the equation is a debate for each to ponder but once more there is a persistent temptation which infects for a lingering need to suffer more, a pain both Aimless Roaming and the closing exploration of Mvrk Diving are keen to offer. Their individual enmities score and deplete the resistance of body and emotions even further bringing the album’s most inhospitable alienation in its conclusion, though again with riffs and rhythms horde like aggressors and lethal hooks the deepest transgressor it is hard not to want more.
Released digitally March 31st and as a 2 LP release via Throatruiner Records on April 10th, Lowgazers is a chaos hard to endure and ultimately survive intact against but a merciless adventure from Plebeian Grandstand that it is easy to recommend to those brave enough to face its discordant conflict.
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