Equal Minds Theory – Self Titled Album Review

Ever fancied capturing the blistering intensity of fury on disc? Equal Minds Theory will undoubtedly be the band for you as for the majority of this release (creepy intro notwithstanding) they burn with a white-hot intensity that recalls the glorious early days of Dilliniger Escape Plan and Converge and sends the whole thing spinning over the edge with a healthy dose of toxic vitriol. Expect no quarter from the band’s savage and relentless attack, although subtle shades and colours are introduced at strategic points, and expect no redemption – this is a vicious, nihilistic strain of punk-infused metal that will make your toes curl. Read on with caution.

Having whetted your appetite with an intro straight out of a black and white horror movie, ‘Oceanbound’ leaps into the fray like a feral dog, snarling and clawing through bone and sinew with a ferocity that never fails to surprise. Churning guitars are the order of the day, although the song throws up more than a few sonic curveballs to keep it from becoming one hard-to-decipher mess of jazzy time signatures and harrowing vocals. ‘At the golden sea’ is yet more traumatic, the vocals heavily distorted to the point of oblivion, the music short and to the point, and then we hit up against the solid wall of noise that is ‘the nomads’, a beautifully brutal track that feels like it soundtracks the Nietzschean movie that plays in Henry Rollins’ head, think DEP covering Black Flag in the style of Doom and you have some idea of the horrific noise that you’ll be willingly subjected to upon buying this excellent beast of a record. ‘Lost cosmonauts’ is not, as you might imagine from the title, a lilting post-rock piece, and clearly the cosmonauts in question have drifted into unpleasant regions indeed if this is the emotional experience they are undergoing – frenetic guitar, semi-destroyed vocals, riffs made of reinforced concrete – it is frightful territory indeed and not since Converge have a band so comprehensively taken searing fury and melded it to such an uncompromising chassis.

‘Bad moon’ finally sees the pace relax for a moment, although it does so in favour of a break-beat enhanced sonic-collage that is creepier by far than any of the more ferocious elements the band choose to unleash. Short and utterly demented it rapidly collapses into static before giving way to ‘the flood’ which would be business as usual if it didn’t feel that much more intense as a result of following ‘bad moon’. The vocals, once again, must surely get special mention as they are filtered through all sorts of mental effects at various points creating a song that is one part hardcore, one part metal and one part Bugs Bunny – fans of Fantomas and DEP will be in heaven. ‘Grindiac’ is, as you might already suspect, a snarling beast that spits and screams with undiminished ferocity recalling the blistering intensity of napalm Death’s ‘Scum’ in the process. ‘Hollow earth’ opens with some sweet, if short, bass work before heading off on a spacey tangent, all phased effects and clattering, atonal riffs and then ‘thoughts of a giant’ loses the plot completely sounding like at least half of it is played on Kazoos and even at 20 seconds it still pollutes the atmosphere like a dirty bomb leaving only the calm of ‘the icebreaker’ to close the album with its epic riffs, and slow-burning sludge a counterpoint to the relentless feast of blinding riffs that constitute the rest of the album.

Music this extreme will, necessarily, only appeal to a select few. Like DEP and Converge (Botch and Fantomas too), Equal Minds theory do whatever they want with scant regard for whether an audience exists at the other end. This is how it should be, and the music sounds all the better for the band’s unselfconscious submission to the music rather than to shallow and short-lived commercial concerns. As a result the music is fresh, vital, furious and organic. For fans of music that exists at the outer-reaches of tolerance; of metal that has the power to stun and surprise; and of devastating riffs that have the power to silence an entire room Equal Minds Theory may well become your new favourite band. Intelligent, exciting and utterly insane, this is a great, powerful and brutal work of art.

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