The world may be on a downward spiral to destruction guided by the corruption of humanity but it is also spawning some glorious reactions along the way and maybe none as thrilling as the second album from UK outfit System Of Hate. Part commentary, part serenade to apocalyptic horizons, There Is No Madness Here is a tenebrific tempting bred from the united breaths of punk rock and post punk, and simply one of 2018’s finest moments.
Released via Louder Than War Records a few weeks back and the successor to the band’s well-received 2016 debut, Unhallowed Ground, the ferociously compelling There Is No Madness Here is an honestly snarling, venomous contagion of sound and observation. As with their first full-length, the Barnsley hailing band has linked up with producer Matt Ellis for their latest meshuga of blackened intimation and dark punk enterprise. It roars with inescapable uniqueness yet keenly embraces the hues of bands such as Killing Joke, Angelic Upstarts, Leitmotiv, and Theatre Of Hate for a proposal as psychotically clamorous as it is skilfully woven.
There Is No Madness Here opens up with its title track, instantly enticing with a wiry guitar lure before slipping into a lively predacious prowl eagerly twisting and turning with every passing moment. Equally Dave Sutcliffe’s vocals stalk ears with lyrical suggestion as an anthemic breath fuels the whole sonic web in a proposition virtually impossible to resist participating in.
That irresistibility is an on-going tempting across the album as proven by the following pair of Black Fire and We Who Walk With God. The first is similarly portentous but with an infectious swing which lines its dark inference. The sonic lattice of Patrick Crawford’s guitar is wrapped in the similarly suggestive lure of keys cast by Martin Roberts, both aligned to the dark pulsation of esurient rhythms sprung by bassist Shaun O’Neill and drummer Carl Gulliford with vocals a raw angst lined narrative to the black infestation. The second presented an even darker and heavier trespass as it unsettled and ensnared the senses. Both tracks, as indeed all across the release, are loaded with appetite entangling hooks and acerbic melodies creating an array of temptations which needed little time to get under the skin.
In The Shadow Of The Cross teases and nags as it rises to its feet next, every tendril of guitar and caress of keys a blend of danger and enticement until the track breaks into a just as magnetic ravening canter. There is a great touch of Sex Gang Children meets 1919 to the track while there is something of an Adicts hue to the punk bred Your God Is Dead. Even so, System Of Hate’s sound is strictly individual and as virally rabid here as in the subsequent caliginous joys of Tears Of Blood, with its wolfish grooves and toxic air, and in turn within the abrasive and bracing sonic plague that is Resurrected.
The latter has the senses feeling flailed and energised; its defiance and animosity a rousing incitement matched in its own particular way driving by the raucously anthemic Rising and its fiery winds. If its predecessor was an announcement of intent, this track is the threat in full holler and again a song impossible not to get embroiled in.
The album concludes with firstly Ill Are The Cursed, a calmer melodically alluring but no less imposing and rousing proposal and finally the track System Of Hate. The closer harries and taunts ears with its sonic exploits whilst seducing with its acidic melodies and raw siren-esque vocal harmonies. It is a last incursion of sound and adventure which sums up the album’s heart and the band’s music and imagination perfectly as indeed the thrilling contagion of each aspect.
We have come to the album’s apocalypse later than others but join the call that There Is No Madness Here is and will be as relevant to the world and humanity’s decay as to post punk and punk ‘n’ roll for years to come.
There Is No Madness Here is out now via Louder Than War Records.
Pete RingMaster 04/01/2019
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