Saturday, October 26, 2013

A Cold Gust of Wind

A little bitterness to offset life's sweetness is one thing, but then there's the need now and then to prepare for those inevitable bouts of despair-- stare down the barrel of a gun, glance over the edge of a precipice, or just listen to some metallic Polish hardcore.  Bands from that country have an intimidating tradition of flirting with utter bleakness; favorites of mine would be Lost, Silence, and Insuiciety (I know, technically based in Germany, but still comprised of Polish personnel).  Next Victim became an instant entry to the list with the outstanding From the Depths split LP, which I still regard as one of the best splits I've run across in quite some time.  On this one, Next Victim break up their doomy, hypnotic riffs and rhythms with more buoyant, almost groove laden picking, and one very haunting, melodic interlude.  Although confined to only a small section of wax, their three songs still succeed in capturing the expansive, epic quality of their approach.  But it's on their CD, "The Cold Gust of Wind," that the band was able to fully unroll the intricately realized map of pure hopelessness in sonic form.  The whole disk flutters in circles like our own stomach butterflies as we peer over the beams of a bridge that could be our last stop in life.  The frequent use of space in the songwriting offers moments of clarity, which are then abruptly suffocated by heavy chords and anguished screams. Then, occasionally, our buckled and hunched figure is raised up by Gosia's robust vocal melodies and some truly enervating guitar riffage.  Rarely before has a band succeeded in making the abyss so alluring.

I'm going to offer both records for download, but I hope you'll at least try to find the split or send the label or bands some money.  The split tracks are my own vinyl rips, by the way.  And, if you haven't heard From the Depths before, they are another incredible band, dark and powerful, with almost operatically sung lead vocals (they are also a Crimethinc joint, if that matters to you).  Finally, if Next Victim appeals to you, certainly check into Mind Pollution, a band which not only has NV members, but sounds rather similar too.  They offered much of the darkness and songwriting idiosyncrasies, while kicking up the speed at times and working in more dissonant chords, a la Silence.

Next Victim "A Cold Gust of Wind" CD (Sadness of Noise, 2009)

Next Victim/From the Depths split LP (Nikt Nic Nie Wie, Scream, and Zaraza, 2010)

Mind Pollution "Spalone Dusze" CD (Yama Dori and Sadness of Noise, 2005)