Halshug – Drøm

Temptation can come in a broad and varied landscape of enticement; it can be a warm seduction or a nagging teasing among numerous other incitements. In the hands of Danish band Halshug it is a challengingly fearsome proposal and as their new album proves one irresistible proposition.

Hailing from Copenhagen, the trio of bassist/vocalist Jakob Johnsen, guitarist Mathias Schønberg, and drummer Mads Folmer Richter create a voracious trespass of hardcore and noise punk but as their third full-length Drøm quickly establishes it is a sound which has evolved across previous releases to embrace industrial, post punk, and numerous other darkly bred sounds. Its title translated as ‘Dream’, Drøm is bred on the theme that dreams are “a succession of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations that occur involuntarily in the mind. And also sort of a vision or a wanting of something more than just what is.” With even richer depths and variations to that exploration, the album never leaves ears and imagination alone in thought. Whether nagging on the psyche, intruding on the senses, or manipulating body and imagination, a degree of emotive frustration almost lining it’s every moment, it harasses from start to finish and it has to be admitted, few moments shared here this year have been more rousingly thrilling.

From the moment album opener, Kæmper Imod, with its first breath begins clipping at ears, attention and appetite were stirred; Richter’s magnetic percussion almost teasing as it lured. Seemingly knowing when the listener should be hooked beats hold a momentary pause from which a punk scourge of sound and voice explodes. The band’s hardcore instincts fuel the eruption as the song continues to grip and captivate, its proposal just taking on a whole new character to its beginnings and escalating both by each raucous senses baiting second.

It is an outstanding introduction to Drøm yet quickly and continually eclipsed or certainly matched across the release with next up Dø Igen raising the ante in craft and temptation. Richter’s beats again make for an animated and compelling coaxing and more than equalled in enticement by the visceral growl of Johnsen’s bass. If the first song teased with a whiff of post punk amidst darker sonic deeds, the second track exploits their tenebrific coercion to ravish and inflame the senses. From within its voracious noise clad insurgency, essences of bands like Faith No More, Sex Gang Children, and The Three Johns tease which only adds to its inescapable seduction of ears.

Schønberg’s filth soaked guitar brings Fantasi to ears next; Johnsen’s similarly polluted vocal attack standing eyeball to ear on the tide of antagonistic punk riffs and rhythms. Devious twists and diversity only add to the excellent track’s evolving body and increasing prowess before Giv Alting Op swings in with matching animosity and discord. As with all tracks, there is a kind of psychosis which shapes its tone and invasion; one never allowing a moment for album or listener to relax within the infernal kaleidoscope of illusory or maybe real provocation.

Spejl hounds and disturbs next, riffs and rhythms chaffing on the senses as melodic toxins and scorched grooves seduce across a volatile gait which launches itself with nostrils flared and at times prowls with equally venomous intent. Once more there was no defence to the at times almost drone like quality of its urging as neither was there any barrier to prevent the industrial compulsion and intimation of the dystopia flooded 02.42. The track’s cold intense threat is as claustrophobic as it is galvanic; a web of intrigue and ravening malevolence greedily devoured, rapacious hunger just as forceful and rabid for its successor Tænk På Dig Selv. Again Richter had rhythmic claws in psyche and instincts from the off before all three musicians unleashed their enterprisingly tortured throes of sound and emotion. If that was not enough to embroil the passions, an X Ray Spex meets Essential Logic flavoured sax incursion only sparked lustier reactions.

Through the feral yet imaginatively crafted transgression of Ingen Kontrol and the virulent sonic appropriation of the senses by Et Andet Sted resistance was thread bare to the album’s continuing indeed increasing domination, not that defiance was actually contemplated or offered, a fact the closing majestic post punk incitement of Illusion seized with rhythmic and sonic devilment. The simply glorious instrumental is part nightmare part psyche haunting escape from reality and simply cathartic suggestion to, as we found, increasingly greedy ears and animated imagination.

It is an avidity flooded appetite which is just as ravenous for the album as a whole especially as every play revealed further aspects to its devious body. With a presence and sound which ultimately defies being truly pinned down Drøm has declared itself as one of the year’s essential moments.

Drøm is available now via Southern Lord @ https://halshugsl.bandcamp.com/releases

Upcoming Live dates:

7 Sep – Oslo, NO – Vaterland

12 Sep – Aalborg, DK – 1000Fryd

13 Sep – Aarhus, DK – Radar

14 Sep – KBH, DK Stengade

20 Sep – Gøteborg, SWE – Kulturhuset

27 Sep – Malmø, SWE – Plan B

28 Sep – Stockholm, SWE – Hus 7

http://halshug.blogspot.com   https://halshug.bandcamp.com   http://www.facebook.com/halshugcph

Pete RingMaster 24/07/2019

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Centuries – The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding

It has been four and a half years since hardcore fury Centuries scorched this earth with their debut album Taedium Vitae, time we can say thanks to its successor which has not seen the band mellow a degree. In fact The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding reveals the band’s sound has become even more sonically and emotionally irritable yet honed into a tempest of noise and intent as precise in its aim and impact as it is rousing in its nagging causticity.

The years between releases has also seen the 2008 formed band’s line-up evolve to now include members based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee, and Manchester in the UK. Similarly the Centuries sound has grown and matured; its dark hardcore breeding embracing even richer crust and metal hues amidst bolder adventure. It is imposing, invasive, and persistently tormented; a harrowing and severely intense mix which also manages to be violently infectious and increasingly cathartic. Carrying a theme of constant self-doubt, “It follows how we choose to accept our loses and the reaction to life, as well as the journey we take to make peace with the demons we’ve made”, the air is a searing soundscape once more within their creative tempest just one more grievous, blacker, and inescapably compelling.

Recorded with by Kris Hilbert at Legitimate Business (Catharsis, Torch Runner, The Body) last year and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Integrity, Black Breath, Halshug), The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding first scores the senses with its title track. Initial silence soon brews an electronic lure, its impending incursion quickly joined by vocal irritancy and a raw scarring of guitar. Just as swiftly it all unites in an insatiable charge, rhythms wildly yet precisely flung as acidic grooves tempt and abrase but an inhospitable surge as catchy and irresistible as it is punishing, and quite superb.

The outstanding start continues with Wooden Hands; it’s first coaxing an intimate acoustic melody, its second down an inviting line offering a furious expulsion of senses crippling beats, scavenging riffs, and vocal discontent. As the first, it has an instinctive infectiousness, an organic swing to a sonic chastisement which grips the imagination and manages to enhance rather than defuse the song’s vehemence.

Bygones is next up with barely two minutes of infernal confrontation. It is barbarous and unforgiving yet too has that contagious ability to tease and manipulate with virulent traits before Soil unleashes its own ruinous tirade. With a sludge thick weight but no less boisterous in its creative and physical mauling, the track prowls the listener, stalking their psyche before giving it a hellacious clubbing. As in all tracks though, the mayhem is finely sculpted and skilfully woven, every twist a fresh coercion into the heart of turbulence.

The following Bow Across A String sends a cascade of corrosion across the senses, every rhythm and riff putting them under duress but equally exciting them while each unpredictable turn in its caustic exploration has ears hooked and imagination challenged and aroused. Closing on the most excruciatingly intrusive yet addictive repetitious sonic yawn, the track leads into the meandering arms of The Climb. Its grooved vining wraps around the senses with ease as vocals scour their lining, muggy smog emerging to envelope the inviting bait and subsequently collude with equal potency with them as the track worms its nefarious way under the skin.

A delicious causticity of bass opens up The Endless Descent, its insidious grumble soon met by the raw throated assault of vocals and together triggering another highly addictive scourge of deliciously grooved bullying which only gets more captivating and debilitating by the second. That majestic ability to entangle extremes continues through the portentously shadowed May Love Be With You Always, its relentless rhythmic shuffle alone sheer captivation matched by the tapestry of guitar and groan of the menace brooding bass. The track is a maelstrom of sound and intent, a vortex of intensity which ebbs and flows but persistently pressures and pleasures as a host of flavours infuse its incursion.

A sepia toned clean vocal beckoning opens up Fury next, its dusty air shared by another mesmeric acoustic melody. It is an enthralling request for attention which boils up its emotions and air into a melancholically hazed wind and a proposition which bewitches before evolving into the rapacious climate of Nul Orietur. The outrage is a cyclone of suggestion and provocation, from the rolling enterprise of its rhythms and the inescapable snaring of its hooks and grooves to the scalding touch of its riffs and vocals, the album’s closer is another compelling assault to lead the album out on another major high.

With their debut Centuries made a major introduction to themselves, with The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding they have uncaged one of the essential hardcore furies of this or any year.

The Lights Of This Earth Are Blinding is out now via Southern Lord Recordings and available @ https://centuriessl.bandcamp.com/album/the-lights-of-this-earth-are-blinding

https://www.facebook.com/centuriesfl

Pete RingMaster 31/01/2018

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright