One of the keys to survival in the modern age is relentlessness. You can’t go with the flow anymore or you will be flowed over—like a village when the dam breaks. Fortune favors the active, the engaged, those able to do a fuck-ton at once and change directions quickly. WARSAWWASRAW’s Sensitizer LP, released six years ago today, is relentless and agile—flexible and able to switch paths with confidence, ease, and purpose. These quick knife cuts of avant-heaviness give a lot over the course of a minute or less—brutality, precision, ideas that keep you guessing, all compressed into tiny symphonies you might call prog if they weren’t so ferocious.
In the center of the record, the eight-minute and 23-second “Hell’s Angles” changes course even further. After eight annihilating micro tracks, this one is an epic journey into a dark night of noise. A sort of mini-album in the midst of the main, “Hell’s Angles” runs through a soundscape of barbaric thrash, devastating riffs, and bold experimentation that makes most hardcore you’ll hear after this feel thin, formulaic, and primitive. There’s something deeper at play here in the work of this French duo—more compositional, smarter, an absolutely original take on a genre that is often anything BUT.
The “Hell’s Angles” suite flows through its adjoining sections with a natural, organic evolution, giving birth to fresh ideas, forging new trails with a machete as big as a windmill blade, dropping back into heavy, chunky minimalism after sections of sheer laceration, then softly-sung (but menacing) vocals that carry the song off into some kind of monstrous future-metal by track’s end.
After “Hell’s Angles,” it’s back to the fast, harsh, and brutal until the final track, the five-minute and 40-second “Hidden Ashes,” which shows the band in epic form again, though in different incarnation than previously heard. “Hidden Ashes” begins heavy as the world and slower than time before releasing into silence with overcast-grey distortion and feedback eventually rising from (what feels like) primordial goo. This is half what I wish Godspeed! You Black Emperor did more of and half Black Sabbath’s Paranoid deconstructed and taken apart like an engine in a living room then put back together wrong. Wrong but great. Wrong but better than right. “Hidden Ashes” is one of the most original tracks on the record, which also makes it one of the most original tracks in hardcore. Or not hardcore at all. Let’s take hardcore out of the equation. This is something else entirely—a new world for the modern age.
– Adam Gnade
Video by Displaced/ Replaced
A good split 7” is a two-headed monster that instead of eating you makes you fall in love with it (awwww). Not only that, you fall in love with BOTH heads, and if the monster’s done its job, you fall in love with both heads equally. The Qui / Secret Fun Club 7”, released by Three One G six years ago today, is that kind of monster. Qui fans walk away with a new love for Secret Fun Club and Secret Fun Club fans walk away with a new love for Qui. That’s how it works when both sides give in equal shares and these dudes are generous sweethearts of wild kindness.
Okay, let’s get weird…
Qui’s track, “Feel My Body,” is some kind of weirdo, experimental, spazzed-out Culture Club song ran through modern post-hardcore filters and maybe drugs, or maybe it’s a lost Prince song recorded with your favorite punk band in an attempt to make a dance song that’s also a punk song that’s also free of clichés and rides through the desert on a horse with no name, but the house actually HAS a name, only it’s too complicated for us puny humans to pronounce, so WHY TRY. Qui is an LA band. Their records are some sort of alien space comedy jazz and if you’ve heard them you haven’t forgotten that you’ve heard them and maybe you’re wearing a t-shirt that you hand-drew their faces on surrounded by hearts and lines like “4Ever my baby” (awwww, again).
Secret Fun Club’s “Pinche Harmonics” is a revved-up instrumental power destroyer in classic SFC form, which is something along the lines of: Sal Gallegos (formerly of Some Girls) beats the hell out of the drums only it sounds like some kind of skyscraper-high frost giant doing the beating and the drums sound Godzilla-size while bassist John Rieder shreds, rips, and freaks out into the Loud Heavy Music Cosmos until you and your baby sister are screaming in the front row with big #1 foam fingers on your hands and tearing at your faces as you cry. Only, yeah, we’re in isolation, so we listen to records instead of going to shows. We get obsessed with single songs and we play them 25 times in a row because 2020 fucking sucks and righteous noise can be a temporary remedy. We replay 7”s over and over again until our roommates (if we’re unlucky enough to have them) poison our cream cheese and put hexes on our basically nonexistent love life. We revisit the records of bands we might have missed the first time around and we fall in love with monsters.