We have had a soft spot for UK protagonists October File ever since the unleashing of their How to Lose Friends and Alienate People EP and the soon following debut album A Long Walk on a Short Pier in 2004. It is a seemingly instinctive connection which has only increased over time and reached another pinnacle with the release of their new full-length The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair – An Introspective of the Human Condition. A mouthful in name and an inspiring incitement in body, the Candlelight Records released album takes the imagination and passions on a tempestuous adventure throwing voracious riffs, rabid rhythms, and bordering on insidious grooves into evocative explorations of emotions and experiences. A concept album based on the aspects of its title in regard to the human state and its response to certain incitements, the nine track investigation is quite simply a riveting confrontation of highly flavoursome and esurient metal.
Formed in 2003 by guitarist Matt Lerwill and bassist Steve Beatty and finding specific inspiration in band such as Killing Joke, Amebix, Godflesh, and Gang Of Four as well as others within rock, punk, industrial, and underground metal, October File has created a presence which is distinctly uncompromising and unafraid to push its boundaries as shown by the new release. Completed by vocalist Ben Hollyer and drummer John Watt, the London based quartet soon left a deep mark through their opening album and even more so with the following Hallowed By Thy Army EP of 2006 and acclaimed second album Holy Armour from the Jaws of God a year later, the second of the two featuring Killing Joke frontman Jaz Coleman. Arguably even more rigorously potent live as on record, the band has savaged numerous festivals and a wealth of venues as well as touring with the likes of Killing Joke, Prong, Ministry, and Fear Factory over time. Third album Our Souls To You was unveiled to similarly potent responses and reviews on 2010 but with The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair…. the band has sculpted and uncaged their most dramatically antagonistic and provocative exploration yet. Recorded with producer Jamie Gomez (Cathedral, Ulver, Altar of Plagues, Electric Wizard), it is a challenge armed with the all the intensive qualities and enthralling brilliance to feverishly ignite ears, thoughts, and emotions.
First track I Fuck The Day opens within a restrained but troubled melee of voice and brewing aggravation driven by a harsh guitar tone. It is a sonic portent which taunts as it encloses ears, building its oppressive coaxing until ready to unlock the tumultuous intensity and corrosive fury pent up inside. This it does with a tirade of rhythmic enslavement, vitriolic riffery, and a savage bass presence. This ferocity is soon led by the ever drama fuelled scowls of Hollyer, his delivery passionate and threatening. Just when you think you have a grip on the storm though it dips into a melodic detour, an elegant and emotive shift within a raw atmosphere. It is an intriguing movement before the track returns to its destructive sonic intent.
It is a tremendous start but soon left in the shadow of both Heroes Are Welcome and Reinvention. The first of the two thrusts its hungry sinews and rapacious energies at the senses from the first second, inviting grooves spiralling from within the impacting ferocity. The weight of the rhythms and riffs is as forceful and compelling as the intensity of the song’s heart, its presence like a mix of Mastodon and Prong in body and October File in sound. The synapse firing groove of the track is also delicious bait which simply accentuates the lure and veracity of the track, though it turns out once its successor steps forward to be just the appetiser for even more addiction crafting chastisement. The best track on the album, Reinvention lets the guitars score and abrase the senses first, softening up their victim before twisting out a groove which makes Ebola seem lightweight in virulence. The track soon has body, imagination, and soul crusading down its venomous landscape with greedy submission, its repetitive toxicity reminding of early Therapy? whilst the rhythmic manipulation of the senses and vocal poise of Hollyer leaning the way of equally early Killing Joke. It is a blistering escort for thoughts and emotions not forgetting passions into the inventive and evocative narrative of the release.
Following song, The Water takes longer to release all of its persuasion than the previous songs but ensures the journey is a riveting and thought stretching pleasure. Lasting over eleven minutes, the track slowly stretches and ambles from within a thick cascade of watery evocation before flexing its lumbering muscles and strolling causticity into a doom seeded march. Again that Coleman and co reference rears its unmissable head but only a flavour which accentuates the power and imposing majesty of the release. Chugging with incessant rhythmic hunger and breath stealing creative rabidity, the song consumes and seduces with the appetite of a deliberately stalking tsunami clad in epic dark intent within ruinous immersive depths.
The acoustic persuasion of Upon Reflection brings a break in the musical onslaught if not the emotive weight of the album, guitar and voice a potent spark before the exhausting Elation soars in with major intensity and a sonic endeavour winding tightly around the already rapturous appetite for the album. The order of these two songs may be reversed as the Bandcamp stream for the release had then the other way to the promo sent through to us.
As The Clouds Meet The Horizon pleasingly swamps air and senses next bringing a tidal wave of caustic almost pestilential seduction within a fierce rhythmic frame, grooves and hooks biting hard and digging deep for exhilarating expression and enticement. As with all the tracks there are twists and turns to the persistent repetition cored drive of the song which spellbinds and skilled guitar play which simply bewitches.
The album is closed by the equally thrilling All Rise All Fail, a track which sonically swaggers like a professional assassin and rages like a wounded bear, and finally the exceptional To Be Watched Upon. If the previous track was an angered animal, the last song is a bestial force of sound. Rhythms and riffs prowl, pound, and gnaw with incisive jaws whilst the bass discovers it’s most carnivorous voice yet. Danger and intimidation drips from every note as shadows and savage climates lurk ready to pounce and tear body and heart asunder. Leaning towards ten minutes of primal provocation, the sensational song is a charnel house of sonic acrimony drenched in venomous enterprise.
Released on 26th May, The Application of Loneliness, Ignorance, Misery, Love and Despair… is easily the finest and most dramatically imposing October File storm yet, a predator of sound and passion which leaves the majority of other bands and releases floundering in its turbulent wake.
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