Japan’s enigmatic Friendship deliver 25 minutes of uncompromising sonic hostility on their aptly named full-length debut, Hatred.
The mysterious Tokyo act turned a few heads stateside earlier this year with the reissue of their previously self-released I&II EPs. This two-part release featured a rampaging, antagonistic sound that was a fiery collision between hardcore, grind and powerviolence, with a bit of industrial grit and antisocial noise added for good measure. While Friendship traversed familiar waters on these releases, and frankly still do, the sheer ferocity and sonic power of their music leaves a lot of their contemporaries in the dust.
Hatred picks up where I&II left off stylistically (and features two rerecorded songs for that matter), but the amount of tortuous heaviness is increased to unfathomable levels, making its predecessor seem like easy listening in comparison.
The record opens with the one-two punch of “Rejected” and “Regicide”; two tracks that set the bleak and malevolent tone for the record and waste no time beating the listener to a bloody pulp. “Rejected” comes stampeding out of a wall of feedback and furious blast beats with deadly array of bestial powerviolence-esque riffs conjured by guitars and bass tuned to subterranean lows. This display of super-speed rage lasts exactly 26 seconds before the chaos bleeds into a devastating, chugging lurch, before churning out hardcore carnage a final time. “Regicide” follows up this rampage with a burst of muscular, grimy hardcore riffage that seamlessly transitions into grumpy, palm-muted riffs. From here the riffs become gradually more and more sparse as the song is eventually swallowed by walls of caustic noise and amp-generated feedback.
The longer cuts on the record, which include “Corrupt”, “Blue Berry” and “El Chapo”, delve deeper into the murky recesses of the band’s sound. On these particular tracks the band craft sludgy, towering, plodding riffs that atomize with each note. These trudging beatdowns often weave in-and-out between flurries of blast beats and psychotic hardcore on a moment’s notice, keeping the listener on their toes. In addition to their volatility, noise also plays an important role in these tracks, often weaving in-and-out of riffs for dramatic effect.
Other highlights include the nauseating “Compton”, which opens with an angular, bending riff propelled discombobulating rhythms and hellacious drumming. The guitars lurch in odd, disfigured patterns before being engulfed in a cacophony of percussion, which then leads to an onslaught of misanthropic powerviolence. Then there is the throttling “Execution”, which revolves around galloping grooves that will either inspire a violent mosh pit or a full-scale riot.
From start-to-finish, Friendship make quite the name for themselves on this monstrous, unforgivably heavy debut. Despite their name, Friendship’s music is the furthest thing from friendly.
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Label: Daymare Recordings/Southern Lord
Favorite Tracks: “Regicide”, “Rejected”, “El Chapo”, “Compton”, “Grief” and “Execution”
For Fans Of: Weekend Nachos, Nails and Dead in the Dirt