There is probably a masochistic side to us all that get off on being swallowed up by a vicious wall of blisteringly hostile and sonically destructive noise but also the ability to see and appreciate the beauty in such tsunamis of unbridled animosity. It can be a seductive corrosion at times and none more so than that found on Adam And Steve, the new merciless album from Swiss noise sculptors Kruger. The eight track inferno of sound and antagonistic invention is a glorious exploration of abrasion, causticity, and sonic savagery but equally a purveyor of some of the most toxic hooks and inescapable contagion bred by venomous imagination. Every note and syllable comes with malice and each twist with ingenious captivation, resulting in an encounter confirming the band as one of the most thrilling alchemists of noise.
Formed in 2001, the Lausanne quintet has been on a steady and impressing ascent since debut album Built For Speed unleashed its ruinous charm upon the senses a year later. 2004 saw second full-length Cattle Truck draw greater attention towards the band, including that of Listenable Records who signed the band and have released their assaults on the senses ever since, starting with the Kurt Ballou mixed Redemption Through Looseness of 2007.Its success and acclaim was matched by the band spreading across Europe with shows and tours, but it was last album For Death, Glory and The End of The World three years later which thrust Kruger into a global spotlight, something Adam And Steve will only intensify. Last year saw the two-track EP 333 tease and spark eager anticipation of things to come but in many ways it only hinted at the triumphs destined to devour the senses and psyche courtesy of the new release.
Complete with a new guitarist and the success of a tour with Gojira last year behind them, the band instantly goes for the jugular upon the Magnus Lindberg of Cult of Luna mixed storm. Rampaging heavy booted riffs and boulders of rhythmic violence descend on ears from the first breath of opener Bottoms Up, the track an immediate onslaught but almost as swiftly employing enticing vocal harmonies behind the caustic squalls of Renaud right away sparking an even keener appetite for the abuse. The raw throated tone of Blaise’s bass snarls and preys on ears with predatory intent whilst the guitars of Margo and Raul sear and swarm across song and senses with deliberate irritancy. It is a deliciously bracing and compelling assault, the vocals across the band continuing to seduce whilst acidic melodies and grooves worm under the skin for a lingering tempting.
The stunning start is rivalled by the following Discotheque, its entrance on a building rhythmic wave instant anthemic bait enslaving thoughts and passions straight away before the band unleashes a barbarous cauldron of merciless beatings and synapse flailing sonic design. Creating a reined in yet uncompromising brawl of essences potent in the flavouring of a Converge and Unsane and aligned to the creative ferocity of a Coilguns, who the band are sharing dates with as the album is released, the song is a tempestuous fury. Unafraid to explore more progressive and post metal scenery within its cavernous depths, it soars and brutalises its soundscape before making way for the infectious tenacity of the album’s title track. Grooves and sonic lancing almost swagger with their vicious hues and ideation whilst vocally and rhythmically the track exchanges another unpredictable and addictive web of spite and craft for a black and blue bruising of the listener’s senses.
Both tracks, and especially the second, set a new hunger for the raucous seduction working within Adam and Steve, something the pair of Charger and Mountain Man toy with and ultimately reinforce. The first of the two prowls ears and thoughts with seeming relish, its roar a severe yet magnetic intrigue drenched predation soaked in infectious imagination and intensive examinations from drums and guitars especially. Within its fury though there is a charm and sonic elegance which escape their binding to cast a masterful calm and resourceful beauty midway in, like the eye of a storm settling fears until the track explodes once again into its hellacious but inviting tempest. Its successor as all tracks almost swings from the fearsome skills and invention of drummer Raph, his wild but perfectly and precisely conjured attacks the irresistible core for which here, grooves and riffs can shape enthralling designs whilst vocals croon and bawl with equal strength and appeal. It is a numbing and invigorating fury, its voracity as unbridled as its invention and raw passion.
For personal tastes the pinnacle of the album comes with the next two tracks, the album reaching new plateaus with firstly The Wild Brunch, a track as melodic and harmonious as it is acutely ravenous and brutal. Across the album hardcore, heavy rock, metal, and more all add rich hues to the hurricane of noise and on this majestic emprise, the weighty thunderous riffs and tonal bruising you would imagine of a Mastodon or Gojira stake their claim to the passions. It is a devastating and engrossing treat but soon surpassed by the brilliance of the heavily unpredictable Herbivores. Easily one of the best songs heard this year, it at times soothes and riles in the same breath as vocals and guitars fuel the passion and incendiary imagination of the riveting track. In others it simply bewitches through bestial rhythmic slaps and grizzled bass suasion, all the time exploring a simultaneously destructive rabidity and insatiably seducing invention.
The album is brought to an end by Farewell, an expansive exploration of sound, emotional landscapes, and the listener physically and mentally. The instrumental is a journey all in itself and the fitting masterful finale to a thrilling encounter. Adam & Steve uses noise as if it is on its own personal vendetta against the senses but also as a commanding colour in the maelstrom of textures and imaginative hues which permeates its raging exploration. Kruger has created an engrossing and irresistible conflict with an album which plays like an aural judge and executioner, and seductress.
Adam & Steve is available now digitally and on CD via Listenable Records @ http://www.shop.listenable.net/en/5725-kruger-adam-and-steve-ltd-digipack-with-slipcase-t-shirt-bundle-pre-order.html and on partially black, partially sin-red vinyl through Pelagic records @ http://pelagic-records.com/vinyl/
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