While the majority of the Svbterranean team covered mathcore albums that were released 10 years ago or more, I opted for a record that came out a mere 3 years ago for my final post for March Madness. The record in question is Warsawwasraw‘s debut full-length, Sensitizer; an album that pays tribute to the mathcore and metallic hardcore greats, while giving the genre a vicious kick in the ass. If you enjoy all things fast and chaotic, then please read on.
On September 23, 2014, the infamous Three One G released what would become my favorite record of that year. Sensitizer is the first full-length recording from this Parisian act, and the second release since scaling back their lineup from a quintet with dual vocalists to a two-piece. That kind of massive lineup shift might spell disaster for some, but Warsawwasraw are living proof that less is more.
Drummer Mathieu Luckas Betard and guitarist/vocalist John Anthony Huss unleash 17 tracks of volatile, noisy and technical hardcore in a mere half-hour. Huss’ unpredictable riff conjuring and Betard’s frenetic, concussive drumming collide head-on, creating an unrelenting maelstrom of auditory chaos. Once I heard the flurries of dissonant, off-kilter riffs and percussive mayhem in the opening track “Nipplesin”, I was hooked and bit dizzy.
The majority of the tracks on this discombobulating release are short bursts of hyperactive riff salads that rarely extend past 90 second mark. These tracks will spin you around and beat you senselessly in the process. Huss’ guitar work is absolutely vicious and awe-inspiring on this release. The faster cuts are such a blur of hardcore virtuosity that even the shortest songs will take you repeated listens to dissect all that you have just heard. It’s like listening to the most complex moments of Botch‘s discography high on amphetamines.
Though the album has a lot to be enthralled by, its crowning achievement is undoubtedly its eight-minute centerpiece, “Hell’s Angles”. It would be stereotypical and honestly expected of a band to make their longest track a slow-burning, sludge-oriented number. Luckily, Warsawwasraw avoids this and I commend them for it. “Hell’s Angles” assaults the listener with seemingly endless barrages of dissonant, flesh-ripping mathcore riffs and ever-shifting rhythms for the first-half of its duration. As the second half approaches, the frantic whirlwinds of notes and chords begins to bleed into sprawling, dissonant breakdowns and angular grooves that will surely stomp you into paste, as it did me.
Sensitizer is one of those records that I put on regularly that has ceased to amaze me. There are so many “holy shit” moments on this insane half-hour of hellacious audio that it is hard to keep track of them all. I don’t think I have been this taken aback by a mathcore/hardcore record since I first heard The Dillinger Escape Plan‘s Miss Machine many years ago. Every time a fellow extreme music nerd asks me for a recommendation, this record is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s fast, unpredictable and, well, heavy as hell.
Ok, I am done fawning over this album. Listen to it for yourself.