Czar – Life Is No Way to Treat An Animal
Tacoma progressive noise metallers Czar have crafted a discombobulating, auditory acid trip with their debut full-length, Life Is No Way to Treat An Animal. The record is a maddeningly multifaceted affair that rests of the edge of the avant-garde. There are hints of mathcore grind, Blood Brothers sass, Residents-esque peculiarity and just a general sense of unpredictability throughout this massive record. With 19 tracks at their disposal, Czar make it a point to deliver as many oddball moments as possible. The shorter, more grind-oriented tracks on the record feature angular, dissonant guitar riffs that writhe and twitch with seizure-like intensity. These guitars flail hand-in-hand with grimy, over-driven bass and quirky keyboard accompaniment. These short bursts of chaos are rounded out by jarring drum performances and zany, volatile vocals that range from drug-induced rambling to insanity-laced howls. As the songs get longer, the band experiment even more by adding more aberrated pop-sensibility, random jazz flourishes, ambient breaks and even more weirdness. There are so many moving parts in each track that it is difficult to find one composition that sounds like another, which will constantly keep the listener on their toes. But sometimes this gratuitous experimentation doesn’t always work in the band’s favor, especially in the longer cuts, and ends up sounding like a feverish attempt to do as much as possible within a given timeframe, rather than a cohesive song. And with its 47-minute runtime, these moments can cause a bit of drag. But on the whole, Life Is No Way to Treat An Animal is a gleefully weird record perfect for those Monday morning drug benders. Czar is not for everyone, but those masochistic and strung out enough to give their erratic tunes a shot will undoubtedly become enamored.
Release Date: January 21, 2017
Favorite Tracks: “Too Many Yetis”, “Shark Cancer” and “The Golden Calf”
For Fans Of: Mr. Bungle, Daughters, As the Sun Sets, The Blood Brothers, Fantomas and Naked City
The Throne – Frail Threads
Polish act The Throne weave together concussive crust with brooding post-metal sensibility on their newest effort, Frail Threads. Following 2015’s Singularity, Frail Threads shows the band delving deeper into darker and moodier territory, focusing less on technical flair and more on gritty atmosphere. The five-track release begins with the explosive “Cursed”, which comes stampeding out of a wall of feedback with a herd of incendiary riffs and thunderous d-beat. The guitars, rife with melody and a sense of triumph, gallop over seismic drum work and is further propelled by throat-searing vocals. “Self Harm” follows shortly after with a brief march of clean, shimmering chords and grumbling bass lines, before the song transforms into a melancholic sludge dirge that bleeds further into hardcore mayhem. “Observer” and “Frail Threads” are more direct with their metallic hardcore approach, with the former focusing more on melodic structures and the latter dishing out the fire and brimstone. Everything is brought to a dismal, and satisfying end with the simply-titled “V”. This eight-minute behemoth is what would happen if members of His Hero is Gone covered Isis, or vice versa. The track begins with an undeniably heavy, lurching riff that permeates and shifts in shape throughout the entire track. In between verses of earth-shattering post-metal, the song churns out quiet flurries of doomed melody and apocalyptic post-rock. The track eventually builds into a crushing climax that decays into a beautifully somber outro that slowly fades into nothingness. Though falling short of a half-hour in length, Frail Threads attempts to pack in as much punch as it can within its short runtime. The Throne aren’t doing anything revolutionary on this release, but they do a damn fine job at crafting some memorable, sludgy hardcore jams.
Release Date: March 5, 2017
Label: Unquiet Records
Favorite Tracks: “Cursed”, “Frail Threads” and “v”
For Fans Of: His Hero is Gone, Tragedy and Cursed