(The Flenser, 2013)
I was pretty moved by No Youth, Wreck & Reference’s 2012 album on The Flenser. It totally pushed the limits of where black metal, noise, punk, and goth could transect – it was a Venn diagram whose intersections could probably only be seen in three dimensions if someone were to construct it properly. I don’t think you can draw it on paper. You’d go crosseyed.
Where No Youth flopped menacingly all over the stylistic map, its follow-up, the No Content 7”, stays on a relatively straight path by comparison. I guess that’s partly a constriction of the medium – No Content only features an A- and a B-side, leaving little room for expansion upon the duo’s harsh template. And it’s not a bad thing either, as Wreck & Reference clearly aren’t wasting your time with a fumbly little one-off – “Absurdities & Echoes” is one of the band’s strongest songs, and “Abhorrence” is a maelstrom of grit and guilt, a harsh avalanche of nails and screws and bitterness. The former, whose video appears below, begins and ends covered in sonic sludge, doom passages that buoy pained and tense vocals. Its middle is relatively minimal, as martial snare hits serve as the backdrop to an emotionally dismal splatter of chord changes that tease sympathy before diving back into the gunk.
I can’t think of any better title for “Abhorrence” than “Abhorrence.” That’s what it is, the sonic representation of hatred, loathing, detestation, disgust, repugnance (these are the first five synonyms that pop up in Word’s thesaurus). It’s angry and vile, seething with malice. In short, it’s a perfect encapsulation of the concept within Wreck & Reference’s idiom, and rocks pretty hard. Gotta love it.
It’s weird seeing any sort of visual accompaniment to the band’s music – I just imagine some sort of black morass when I’m listening to it. But to see actual people interacting with “Absurdities & Echoes” adds a different dimension to Wreck & Reference, one in which humans actually exist instead of the monsters or demons conjured by the band’s music. The video moves slowly, and I’m not terribly sure what its point is, but you’ll definitely see a fairly gothed-out woman gently placing bits of broken glass on a depressed-looking man’s face. You explain it to me.
RIYL: Black Veins, Prurient, Locrian