“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she laid an asteroid.” ~ Mark ‘Don’t Call Me Marky’ Twain
I have mostly missed the boat in terms of keeping up with the huddled world of underground noise/punk/hardcore infused black metal. Blame it on my being an unsophisticated sorehead who’s overly picky about how much gets mingled into the tried-and-true formula, but the truth of the matter is that I just don’t have the time or energy to keep up. Jump into any number of the small labels and distros specializing in this elbow-to-elbow realm and you’ll find loads of bands chopping out piles of demos per year in limited quantities tailor-made for those with an unquenchable thirst and very itchy trigger fingers.
But also adding to my overall neglect is the fact that a significant portion of what I’ve managed to sample from time-to-time ends up coming across a lot more like an egg than an asteroid, so the motivation to spend more time and carve a little deeper just… hasn’t really been there.
Virginian duo american, however, offer up an intriguing slice of modern USBM with a noisy, industrial twist, and their debut via Sentient Ruin Laboratories rings like a herald of provocative things to come for a young band that’s navigating a sea teeming with greedy peers.
As confirmed by the tune above, Coping With Loss represents a rowdy, raw and surprisingly beefy venture when the songs are their blackest: Opener “Ritual Suicide,” “Decedents,” “Retinere” and “Solace in the Silence” all push a jackhammering, destructive strength that’s clearly intensified through a pronounced and weighty bass and drum tandem. But what ultimately sells the record is how well american blends the lethal side of Coping With Loss with its less-ruinous slant, which makes up for a substantial portion of the record’s full 40 minutes.
Stretches that underline a noisier, slogging edge crop up during the close of each of the harsher tunes (and all over “Lamb to Slaughter”), with the particularly caustic strike of “Solace in the Silence” opting to drift out with a softer, decidedly gloomy face. And crackling industrial noise takes the driver’s seat for the unsettling 3.5 minute trip of “Pulse Beating Slowly” and throughout the album’s stretched 18 minute atmospheric collapse of “Coping With Loss And The Insurmountable Guilt Of Existing.”
Also worth mentioning is the fact that the record truly manages its full potential when cranked from start to finish. The idea of closing an album with such a long stretch of bleak atmospherics may seem superfluous to some, but the song expresses an essential and quite suitable aftermath to the bedlam and crackling energy that precedes it.
This probably won’t be the last you hear of american, or Sentient Ruin Laboratories, for that matter. Both entities represent all that’s good in the US in terms of young talent working hard at delivering something new, noisy and worthy of attention. So if you’re interested in jumping in on the ground floor, there’s no time like the present.
Coping With Loss is slated for release on cassette and digital format on August 19th, 2014.