If you remember the first time you sat down with a Botch CD and damn near had your head taken off, then this virulent blast of hardcore-infused metal is definitely for you. An impressive split EP from Coilguns and Kunz, this is a startlingly brutal assault from Pelagic records (the label run by The Ocean member Robin Staps) which showcases two Ocean-related side projects via twenty-odd minutes of white-hot art-metal noise.
Followers of the Ocean will know that the band offers up a beguiling mixture of progressive metal in the vein of Neurosis fighting it out with Pink Floyd in a car park and full-on, enraged art metal. Coilguns gleefully showcases this latter side of the band with furious, extremely dextrous riffs providing the backdrop for the sort of apocalyptic vocals that Dillinger Escape Plan displayed on their early recordings. Opener ‘mastoid’ is a sucker punch, body slamming the listener with a real force and intensity, so much so that it takes until the five minute audio massacre of ‘phersu’ for the listener to recover any sort of balance. Opting for a brutal speed and jazz-influenced fluidity, riffs rarely stay still for long and the speed with which the band deploy each new element is dizzying on the first run through – so much so that it takes several listens to truly get one’s bearings within the swirling maelstrom of sound on offer. ‘Kachinas’ offers no let up in the intensity of the band’s sound – indeed the vocals, if anything, are more apoplectic than on the previous two offerings while the riffs and drums seem to be operating exclusively in a realm of their own, tearing up the rock ‘n’ roll rule book and searing their own identity onto the pages instead. With a strong nod to acts such as Converge and the much-missed Botch, it’s a most welcome display of brutality that will have fans of the aforementioned bands on the edge of their seats wide-eyed with excitement.
Having impressed with their three tracks, Coilguns are left to sleep off their exertions (presumably in a padded cell) and it is left to art-sludge act ‘kunz’ to aurally abuse listeners with music that comes from almost the polar opposite end of the spectrum. Trawling the dirt-laden sewers that run between Neurosis and Khanate, Kunz deal in the sort of down-tuned, feedback-strewn monolithic sludge that made Buzzov*en such a monumental proposition on the psychosis-inducing ‘sore’. Seemingly the unfiltered flow of subconscious from a serial killer, Kunz are a darker proposition than Coilguns and while they may operate at a BPM that implies heavy ingestion of ketamine, they are no less intense than the flesh-rending act that precedes them on the disc. A short blast of speed and atypical energy is next with ‘apnea’ which lasts a mere 1:41 yet packs in enough ideas for a song three times its length. The dirty, distorted ‘flush’ is a paranoid attack of screaming anxiety with everything recorded very much in the red while closing track ‘what makes me sleep’ is surely the sound of a sweaty, scream-filled nightmare with the stunningly angry vocals set to feedback, roaring bass and clattering drums. It’s sludge metal with black metal production, as raw and untamed as you could ever want your music to be and as dangerous as a feral animal backed into a corner.
As with all their other releases Pelagic haven’t skimped on the packaging front. Housed in a beautifully designed digi-pack, this is the sort of record that you want to purchase just so you can appreciate the astounding amount of effort that has gone into its production. Meanwhile the music on offer is a fantastic display of post-hardcore aggression and sludge-metal brutality. Certainly fans of the Ocean will be delighted to hear these none-more-vicious excursions but this is equally for those who love DEP or Converge and yearn for a band to take that sound into new areas of sonic extremity. A short, thrilling and devastatingly heavy collection of songs – this is a raw, untamed journey into dark, creative pastures and is not to be missed. You can find out more at http://www.pelagic-records.com/