STRESS band by Luke Calder
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“Misery Fatigue” – introducing new noise hardcore act STRESS!

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Comprised of members assembled from a fistful of accomplished Wellington, NZ bands, featuring Callum Gay (vocals) and Ben Dentice (guitar) of Spook The Horses (Pelagic Records), Alex Backhouse (bass) ex-DIAL (Robotic Empire), Otis Chamberlain (guitar) ex-Akaname (Debello Records), and Jason Gascoigne (drums) ex-Strangers, noise rock and sludge infused heavy post hardcore act STRESS will release their 5-track debut EP “Misery Fatigue” independently on December 20th via Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes and a host of digital platforms, and we’re stoked to give you its first listen, along with the band’s first-hand track-by-track commentary, and their visceral and near disturbing new, Jay Araia directed music video for the EP’s closing track “Civil Gutless”!

Misery Fatigue builds on the promise and unveils a dynamic, high energy and multi-multidimensional beast of a band. Its foundation are the nods to bleak metallic noise and hardcore, but there are many different layers and firm, overwhelming undertones of almost industrial edge that altogether manage to establish harsh sonic peaks, thick atmopshere and relentless soundscape.

Stress came into being by a combination of good geographical timing, shared history, and a mutual love of heavy, dissonant and disparaging noise. Having cohabited stages, vans and floors with their respective pedigree bands over the past decade, Stress’s inception and sound was a natural and almost inevitable eventuality.

With an emphasis on abrasive tones, sustained intent, and a grounding in simplicity – Stress set forth a mandate of bleak density, drawing inspiration from historic iconoclasts of the order of Breach, Converge, Knut and Abhinanda, while drawing parallels with contemporaries such as Dödsvarg, Bridge Burner, and Coilguns. Stress deliver a dose of heavy hardcore with undercurrents of sludge, post-metal, and death-rock.

Stress recently introduced their live show in August 2018, helping local black-noise outfit Tuscoma kickstart their 63 date European tour, and followed up in September with local support for Tired Minds and Darkhorse (Australia). Stress will round out the year opening for Hexis (Denmark) this December (GO HERE for more details on that).

This ‘party-mix’ of an EP was written, recorded and assembled ad-hoc and intermittently in 3 countries over a 3 year period. While the intention always remained consistent, the band took on a few names and line-ups on its journey from conception until the final form presented here. During this period these recordings were pieced together within the limits and available resources of that place and time, and as a result, this collection of songs is somewhat a Frankenstein; a sum of the various studios, instruments and personnel attendant to each track. It is also an honest reflection of the incubation period that steared the project from an idea to a real-world, performing and recording entity. All the core people involved along the way have long been good friends and contemporaries, so it is perfectly fitting that the crystalization of this band and recording should play out in the place where it all began – Wellington, New Zealand. Haere mai te kāinga.


Callum: Decay is a simple intro, so the lyrics aren’t exactly a deep wellspring of meaning, but it’s referring to the perceived, completely false “moral decay” that certain power structures claim is occurring, when in reality they’re seeing people fighting for their own self-interest and resisting blind deference to authority.

Otis: This was a last minute addition, even though the EP is a short first offering, we wanted to balance it out and include something in the slower end of our palette. It felt like a good set-up to what follows and we will probably reprise this motif on the next release.


Sincere in insincerity
Surrounded by false decay

Continued below…

STRESS live by John Lake (2)
STRESS live by John Lake


Callum: Judas was the first song I wrote for STRESS, so it’s fairly dense with mood and metaphor. It ended up being something of a summation of the feelings I was trying to express across the whole EP. It deals with pressure and anguish, obligation and retribution. Judas was the working title of the demo, and it ended up being inspirational enough lyrically and in terms of mood that we kept it for the final.

Otis: Yep , this was the first thing we wrote and has basically set the tone for everything thereafter.


Through the auger
Dancing in the teeth of the vice
Stolen grip
Flesh upon gear
To your daughters
And the hidden ones who make the nails
I can barely lift up my arms
Worn into powder
Forced into gums
Scorch the earth for what had to be done
A line on every tooth into a crest on every bone
A noose to protect my neck
It will work
Im sure
The great destroyer
Sputtered and died
A line on every tooth into a crest on every bone


Callum: Strangelove is one of my favorites and probably the darkest in content on this particular release. It’s about riding the world down in flames, a life spent circling the void before being swallowed. It’s about the arrogance of life, the sheer horrid entitlement of “deserving” to live in a world where millions starve and rot through no fault or action of their own. The title is the most spoon-fed entry-level reference possible. I hate naming songs.

Otis: He hates naming anything – it took 3 years to name the band! Seriously though, I love that this was also one of the first pieces of music written for the band – but one of the last songs that Callum conjured lyrics for. The original instrumental demo for this track had an almost groovy, party vibe to it. Conversely, Callum killed that vibe with the addition of some of the more menacing lyrics on the release. Thanks Callum!


There’s a chain around the ankles of the world
All our lives are only nails in earth
Every rat had the arrogance
to think they’d see the end
Knotted in filth,
Drowning under dead weight
The conceited belief
That you’d deserve to die
In some self-made armageddon of shame
At least I’ll cease
At the peak of human misery
Nothing but the best for me
There’s a chain around the ankles of the world
All our lives are only nails left in earth
Every rat
Every rat

Continued below…

STRESS live by John Lake
STRESS live by John Lake


Callum: Hex is your classic Emo banger. It’s about the anxiety and resentfulness of living in a small place with lots of people you have difficulty relating to, and the way your thoughts end up spiralling inwards as a result- how your definition of worth and value can be corrupted by lack of positive reinforcement. It’s about the twin feelings of wanting to recede into philosophical thought and lash out violently at the same time to ‘cope’.

Otis: Really? I thought you said this song was about eating shit while bombing hills on skateboards?


A new resurrection
Comes over everything
Strung between my teeth
Scatter me
The mountains are millstones
To die with dignity
At least there’s purpose here,
Then choke it down
Feel the vacancy
Breathing out your bones
Tethered across the stomach
Fall into fear and pour it out
Choke it down
Feel the vacancy
Breathing out

Civil Gutless

Callum: Civil Gutless is about the common inability for people (myself included, at my weakest) to condemn immoral behavior on the part of authority figures they’ve been taught to defer to. It’s about how the language of “civility” and “respect” disarms marginalized people and reduces their legitimate grievances to mere rudeness. It’s about the thousands of us who drank the kool-aid and spoke the language of civility, who are now rotting the ground without building a better world.

Otis: Instrumentally, I just wanted to cram as much violence as possible into 60 seconds. Pace pace pace. The lyrical intent works with the musical density, this is my favorite on the EP.


With a mouthful of sand
with a tongue like ash
In a void of language and lack
There is a gnawing rot at the heart of this
A shallow grave for us
It is a sickening creeping act
And it will never be enough for any of them
With a mouthful of sand
With a tongue like ash
In a void of purposeful lack
There is an ember lit at the heart of it
Despite the failures of all the rest
And the uncounted mass of clamouring dead

Karol Kamiński

DIY rock music enthusiast and web-zine publisher from Warsaw, Poland. Supporting DIY ethics, local artists and promoting hardcore punk, rock, post rock and alternative music of all kinds via IDIOTEQ online channels.
Contact via [email protected]

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