Negativa: Self Titled EP

Arguably like a blob fish, an ugly baby, or Shane MacGowan, the beauty within the self titled EP from technical death metalers Negativa, is one which only a mother can see and love. Well her and those of us who find discord and chaotic imagination the only truly fresh thing in music today. The release really is a thing of beauty, a corrupted and disfigured beauty for sure, but still something starkly beautiful and intrusively stirring.

The three track EP first came out in 2006 as a limited release of 1000 copies, making physical copies highly sought after and near impossible to find. Now re-released through PRC Music, the release shows the band not only ahead of their time but probably still streets ahead of what mass consumption is ready for.

The Canadian band was formed by guitarist/ vocalist Steeve Hurdle (Gorguts ,Purulence)and guitarist/ vocalist Luc Lemay(Gorguts). The EP also sees drummer  Etienne Gallo (Augury, Neuraxis, Aborted) and bassist Miguel Valade (Ion Dissonnance) bringing their distinct imagination and skills to the canvas that was Negativa. The music the quartet spawn is staggering and in just a trio of tracks leaves most other bands struggling to match ideas let alone their realisation. The band since the original release of the EP has seen line-up changes with Lemay one to leave, but all things found true perspective with the passing away of Steeve Hurdle in May of this year aged 41. The release is an impactful and impressive aural monument to Hurdle and the band which leaves a saddened pleasure to its colossal magnificence.

Opener Chaos In Motion preys on the senses immediately with crippling scythes of guitar dishing out blistering destructive discordance. With rhythms from Gallo expelling the breath from the body through its vicious and disorientating attack and vocals as abrasive as high grade sand paper upon the ear, the track is an immoral and delicious sonic cluster bomb of intent and originality. Though a completely different genre the track takes one back to bands like The Fire Engines and Diagram Brothers from the eighties, two more who use discord as a full ingredient , exploring its textures and properties. Negativa go much further igniting its life and shadows with a madness of creativity which envelopes and challenges every synapse and a power which is equally demented and far reaching .

The following epic Thedium Vitae is a monster of a track. It crawls and prowls all over the body disrupting all senses, thoughts, and emotions. The track throws a spanner into rational thought and emotional safety to confound and cripple sanity during its venomous mesmeric assault. From its consuming energy the track intensifies into a brawling clash of rhythms, riffs, and indecipherable but wholly contagious scarred notes. The track is ever evolving, a seemingly maniacal improvisation, but all is perfectly and ingeniously structured to singe and scorch deeply with intense thought and imaginative creative malice the conjurors. The sounds and release as a whole, is a nightmare in sonic form giving no escape and perpetually incessant in its intent, and most of all simply blackened annihilatory beauty.

Closing with the slightly jazzy Rebellion, if that term can be applied to sounds which almost defy description, the release is incredible. This song treads and ultimately stomps over the debris already left in the wake of its conspirators to unleash its own dazzling and dehabilitating majesty. The EP is confrontational and inspiring, ruinous and so refreshing, and without doubt one of the most impressive things heard in a long time. Thank goodness there has been another and for some of us a first chance, to enjoy its towering brilliance.

Negativa is tagged as progressive death metal primarily but this goes far beyond that to have its own unique stature and world. As stated earlier the kind of references and comparisons which come to mind are far from being death metal bands, those earlier unique sounds added to by at a push the likes of Kunz, Coilguns and Dope Body, maybe even Morkobot to try and give some idea of the genius at play on the EP, but it is something distinctly different and special. If you want something to bring back the thrill, danger, and menace which has been generally lost in music, then go and let Negativa do their glorious worst.

RingMaster 15/08/2012

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