I mean what the fuck are you supposed to do?

I didn’t have a lot of hope coming into 2020 as we slid further into the arms of a right wing embargo cult that preferred to mire us in a pointless culture war in the name of ‘independence’ and ‘national pride’… with every slice of the corporate knife meaning more of our lives become monetised…

Then before we know it we’re confined to our homes… limited in our movement… reliant on those very people that we abhor to make decisions and provide the vital public services that all of a sudden become critical… I mean what the fuck ARE you supposed to do?

For many of us 2020 has all the appeal of a rancid boil that needs to be lanced… we need an outlet we need to see our frustrations explode… into anything really… we need to exfoliate our lives in an era where every indoor public space has become some sort of mask-wearing dystopia…

We just want to explode!

What… I hear you wondering… has this got to do with this album…

Because I write about music I very rarely get to hear an album for the first time on vinyl… I receive the promo files and get to hear those first… With Deafbrick, however, I never got to do this… so when it came I found a rare hour when I was alone in the house… turned the amp up and let it rip…

FUCK ME!

As the album opened with the shattered drone of ‘Primeval I’ I felt a sort of peace come over me… the rolling drums adding to the sense of suspense… something was up… there was something coming… I could feel it… I got a sense of both foreboding and a sinister chill as the dark forces seemed to mass within the mix… then

BAMMMMMMMMMMMMM!

Straight into ‘Força Bruta’… all of a sudden the power was within me… the absolute brute force of the title didn’t so much fly out of the speakers but seemed to bring them to me… it was like I’d suddenly attached a massive fuck off bass bin… holy mother of fuck the mix was just incredible… I felt immersed…

After that the punch of ‘Sweat-Drenched Wreck’ hit me just as hard… add in a bangin’ beat and all of a sudden I felt like a Stuka arms akimbo dancing my way into the side of a mountain… a sonic force of destruction doing anything to shed the last six months from my psyche… but somehow with the freedom to do so.

The all of a sudden I was in a massive cavern… there were electronic Covid bats flying around… blasting me with their laser eyes… as ‘Menace for the Dark Polar Night’ hit me with its more subtle whiles… I was back in the dystopian realm… the escape somehow futile and the cause once again hopeless…. and yet, as the track progresses, the hope somehow returns as the sound becomes more grandiose reaching a crescendo of power and authority… but whose is it? Can I claim it… I feel that somehow I can… the bell tolls at the end… but for whom?

…that all suddenly seems moot as the band power (and I mean POWER!) into ‘Máquina Obssessivo-Compulsiva’ something that sounds like a massively heavy version of my very favourite Killing Joke track ‘Exit’… this is so massive… just so sonically exfoliating… listening to I’m makes me feel strangely purified… as if I’m being pummelled by some sort of ethereal tenderiser… it’s the sort of psychological lustration I can get behind.

After that its good to take a minute to wander around and think about what just happened…

WHAT THE FUCK DID JUST HAPPEN?

…before turning the record over and strapping myself in for side two.

‘Anthropoceno’ begins in a similar sort of manner as ‘Primeval I’ did on side one, with fragmented beats… drones and a gradual ramping up of the ante to lead you to believe that something wasn’t right… and it’s about to be encountered in a somewhat uncompromising manner…

Sure enough ‘Mega-ritual’ just hits hyper-drive and take you on the sort of trip where you don’t really have time to think… it’s just happening so quickly…. there is so much going on here… Jesus where do I listen next… it’s almost like a happy hardcore smiley being hit repeatedly with massive hammers… the sort that make Thor’s look as if it’s made by Chad Valley… this is an absolute fucking monster of a track that makes even what’s gone before it pale into significance…

Not sure I’ve ever felt so drained sitting in a chair and listening to music… ‘intense’ does not even begin to cover it… and as I move into ‘Hyperkinetic Mass Disorder’ I am grateful for the time and space to breath and reflect on what just happened… it feels like that calm moment in the middle of a ritual where you can take stock and think about the new numinal reality…

Probably the last thing that I’d be expecting at this stage was a Discharge cover… but as ‘Free Speech for the Dumb’ hits my ears… it feels just about right… and somehow reflects the angst that pervades this record… who knew that Discharge would somehow feel lighter… but as that riff permeates its way into my brain it feels like the band is saying “ok you’ve has the spiritual/ psychological treatment… here comes the sermon!”

And very welcome it is… all seven and a half minutes of it. It’s hard to describe but this track somehow gives the whole album balance and meaning… I get the sense that it needed some grounding… and this does it just right… it kind of feels like a reward for the rest of the set which is heavy-going in a brilliant way… but still heavy-going…

I also love how they got members of Discharge to insult the version as it fades out “Metallica could do a fucking better version than this” being marvellously hilarious and patiently untrue statement.

Then we’re into ‘Primeval II’ during with I feel a wonderful sense of heady elation… my time with the record is nearly over and this feels like a decompression chamber as I prepare myself for a re-entry into the shite reality that passes for our current ‘society’… I feel like I’m being sent out with purpose and hope… but all I want to do is go back in again…

I am not sure that with this album Deafbrick manage to purge this hideous boil from our society… but for just short of 40 minutes they do manage to apply a mixture of salt and salve onto the wound… and while the infection remains it somehow feels less intense and more manageable for a while… that is because it’s a set that says that it’s ok to get fucking furious and is so absolutely intense that it helps you to somehow absolve yourself for a while.

‘Deafbrick’ is released by Rocket Recordings and is available to buy/ download here. You can also find out more about the band and recording there too.

-o0o-

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