Sucking ears, senses, and emotions into its tar thick tempest, Fear Of Man is an incitement hard not to get a little lustful over. The nine track primal roar of punk fuelled, noise lit sludge ‘n’ roll is the return of London based Hag, a trio which first gripped attention with their self-titled debut EP back in 2010. The past five years have seen the band on the backburner in regard to attention but things are ready to boil over as their striking first album begins crawling over the metal/heavy rock scene.
The trio of Ian Baigent (vocals/guitar), Robin Freeman (bass), and Tamas Kiss (drums), united again with Part Chimp’s Tim Cedar at South London’s Dropout Studios to record Fear Of Man. The result is a dirty and sonically corrosive slab of instinctive rock ‘n’ roll with persistently salacious riffs, nastily bred rhythms, and cantankerously snarled vocals. Getting its subsequent release via the newly formed DNAWOT Records, the album is insatiable virulence; a gut twisting, psyche bending contagion which leaves ears and appetite very greedy.
The album’s title track starts the thrilling violation, its lumbering body prowling the senses initially as guitar and bass spread intrusive riffs backed by the hefty swipes of Kiss. Almost deceptively the song is soon enveloping the listener, vocals fusing melody and aggression as they lead the swarm of gnarly sound and invasive shadows. Even more invasive as the album proceeds, Fear of Man is like a cauldron seeded in Melvins, High On Fire, Pigs, and The Great Sabatini but becoming more distinct in character and individuality with every raw trespass offered.
As potent as the opener is, it is soon eclipsed by the outstanding Kingdom O. The track instantly showers ears in a barrage of addictive riffs and barracking beats entwined with catchy enterprise and a juicy sonic hook that seems to linger even as the rawer treats within the song have their say. It is gripping and addictive tempting that just gets more busy and tenacious with every thumping rhythm and punkish expulsion within the winy stoner-esque climate.
Rainbow Dust has body and soul snagged by its first wall of noise and enslaved with the swift web of sonic imagination which nets ears and the dark corners of song and voice soon after whilst Trauma Yauma provides a bedlamic provocation bulging with feverish sonic rabidity and knee buckling rhythms. Both tracks twist and turn within their core intents, the second especially riveting as the bass grumbles with craft and imaginative expression whilst prowling the ravenous tempest of guitar and confrontational vocal. The track is a major highlight amongst many and quickly matched by the anthemic nagging of Low. Like The Fat Dukes Of Fuck meets Sofy Major, the heavy rocker swings along with creative muscles to the fore but all the time it brews grooves which get right under the skin.
Up against the previous pair, Metal Detector Man struggles to escape their shadows yet still it unwinds a tapestry of binding grooves and a bracing collusion of riffs and rhythms that is easy to be eagerly entangled in with a want for more. To be fair, the track simply grows in the ear and over time stands as impressive as most before, and after it like the sonically dirty and predatory White Lion and after that the acidic rumble that is Beaten At Your Own Game. The first of the two is an intrusive infection of heavyweight, fire bred rock ‘n’ roll taking chunks out of the senses whilst laying deep rooting hooks into the passions like a Cenobite whilst its successor creates its own slightly cleaner but no less rapacious blaze of volatile sound and intensity lined with melodic imagination.
The album finishes with Wrong Bar, a final tsunami of brooding energy woven into winding sonic tendrils and crawling discontent shaped as rolling rhythms and anthemic persuasion. It is a masterful and invigorating end to a release which persistently leaves the inspiration to challenge the world in its wake.
Hag may have taken their time to back up their earlier EP but are back fiercer, bolder, and more relentlessly impressive in all aspects with Fear Of Man.
Fear Of Man is available from January 8th via DNAWOT Records @ https://hag-noise.bandcamp.com/album/fear-of-man
Pete RingMaster 07/01/2016
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