There is no dismissing the fact that every year we are all introduced to a clutch of striking offerings and artists which just grip personal ears and attention and amongst them are moments and their creators which just stop us in our tracks. This year, with its invasive infestation and isolation giving time to explore and bands using the same restrictive time to vent their imaginations, we seem to have come across more impressive encounters than ever but even so there again have been a few which have seized our lustful attention and appetite here though maybe few as forcibly as Denmark’s Eyes and their debut album Underperformer. The release is a hardcore bred face ripping slab of uniqueness, a tempest of diversely infused punk which had us drooling from pretty much its first breath.
A hindsight listen revealed that the seeds to the feral majesty of Underperformer were openly apparent in the band’s self-titled EP of 2018; its hardcore ferocity and prowess carrying the instincts and inclinations of further reaching invention and imagination now at play. In itself, the release was a web of adventure which stands out from the crowd and easily warrants any praise it has lured but the time since has seen Eyes reap and realise the potential of that record to forge something as unique and riveting as it is voraciously ravenous in sound and intent.
If we would have struggled to offer an accurate comparison in sound to their first EP, Eyes have made it almost impossible with Underperformer but let us maybe suggest it bears a tempest fired in essences akin to those found in the likes of Bokassa, U-Foes, Ghost Of A Thousand and KEN mode. What we can explicitly say though is that the album’s fusion of hardcore, punk metal and noise is a virulently invasive and compelling incitement, the evidence immediately unleashed within opener Verge.
Guitars tease ears initially, stroking them with threat lined lures as heavy portentous beats begin adding their intimidation from the shadows. Intrigue only escalates as the temptation continues with growing dexterity before the band unveils its full nagging enterprise. As beats thump and the bass prowls, guitars spring a waspish nagging which swiftly burrowed under the skin, the band’s vocals adding even greater causticity and magnetism. Those senses mining grooves continue to infest the song, our pleasure only escalating alongside as the track veers towards a chaotic finale which is soon replaced by the far more barbarous and turbulent trespass of Distance. Rapier rhythms slash across the senses as grooves and riffs infest body and psyche alike, the untamed dissonance of the song’s heart echoed in the vocal furore.
The album’s title track is next up, the song immediately and caustically chafing ears before undertaking its esurient saunter with wild outpouring in energy and sound. As with so many of the tracks it is simultaneously mesmeric and punishing, whether to run or embrace the rising contemplation in reaction, though with the irresistible the groove inciting its swing and the post punk hue to its rhythmic and invasive prowess there was no decision to be made.
Within every track there is a cauldron of agitated anxiety, uncompromising defiance, and raw irritancy at the heart of noise and voice, the following Choke rising from an industrial bed to grab attention with tenacious rhythmic dexterity. Wrapped in sonic wires, the great start soon erupts in a just as gripping stroll, every movement rapaciously direct and intrusive yet again virally addictive to ears.
Both Surf and Off which follow tightened the album’s clutch with further lustful pleasure returned; the first an infestation of a quickly swinging body and greedily feasting ears as grooves and rhythms in tandem with vocal intrusiveness echo their wholly devoured harassment. Even the subsequent chaos which descends is pure temptation and manipulation, something its successor just as readily and imaginatively sends coursing through song and listener alike with unrelenting urgency and hunger. Favourite track has proven impossible to settle on and both make major cases but so does the next up Voiceswhispersecretsandspeakonlytruths with its post punk moodiness and mordant noise rock hooks within the track’s muggy climate and subsequent infernal assault. All three are as individual as they are united in imagination stirring craft and vicious ferocity, and each, as the album, lingers long past their consumption of the senses.
Swim is an eddy of sonic and rhythmic acrimony, quickening and ebbing in its ferocity but never less than a searing confrontation for the senses and wild pleasure for the ears while Victim is corrosion impossible to want to flee from even if it leaves the senses as carrion in its wake. Again everything from rhythmic invention to grooved fertility, riff agility, and lyrical incitement proved a compelling, exhausting, and irresistible invasion; the latter ravenously unleashed by the band’s just as potent vocal passion.
Completed by the rabid but finely wired Crutches, a final senses and emotion preying sonic and rhythmic incursion to drool over, Underperformer is easily and simply one of the finest challenges and provocations of the year and it is hard to imagine many surpassing the extraordinary triumph and indeed the creative adventure of Eyes in the weeks to its end.
Underperformer is out now via Indisciplinarian; available@ https://eyescph.bandcamp.com/
Pete RingMaster 05/10/2020