It takes a fair bit to get me to start talking to myself, yet here I am in an empty room getting crushed to death every time I spin this innocent-looking rotund piece of polycarbonate plastic and lacquer. With every single pound of Home’s ballistic combined bass and guitar strikes, a new word slips out. I feel under attack – like someone is hammering a wrecking ball into my chest, over and over again. Closer inspection, reveals that the band have completely shunned ProTools, and even a metronome, and just stepped straight into their perfectly-titled Nasty Sound Room recording studio in Innsbruck. The resultant sound is organic, raw and face-meltingly heavy.
That thought came a couple of weeks back but now, having spent more time with the record, I’m convinced that this trio of mountain-dwelling Austrians, have captured the sound of avalanches. It stomps about flinging sludge at math-streaked hardcore and emerges with something akin to a fusing of High On Fire and Black Flag. Dig deeper and you’ll uncover music that is also bursting with elements of grunge and doom, littered with addictive licks and with a vocalist that roars like a demented Yeti.
From the opening feedback, sliding verse, punk rock tang and the half-time hook of the excellently-constructed “Hole” you’ll know you’re stuck in a battle of wills. The band’s unrelenting attack against your useless resistance. Very quickly, there’s the sudden mid-song downing of tools that lurks in “Next To Last” and, during that odd interlude that follows where the ground disappears from underneath you and a quiet voice drawls “STOP!”, you’ll be left utterly defenceless. It’s an odd experience but, as the gravel-munching drawl of Ganner’s vocal turns almost Lemmy-esque, the solid foundations are being laid for an album that not only hits hard and fast but has the odd ability to improve with each listen. The key lurks in its hit of instant neck-snapping gratification but also in the variety of attack from song to song.
There are the awesome haunts of “Burlesque” and “Old Hand” to wallow in. Both conjure the antagonistic machinations of Bleach-era Nirvana, but the former breathes heavy with a sweet rising riff and a vicious chorus lick, whilst the latter is all about the constant return to the beating heart, two-chord crunch that allows the discordant scrawling chaos to flourish around it. Their are a couple of tracks that outrun their welcome and the loose cannon of “Kyoto” show there is room for improvement for future releases. However, with the none-more-heavy, rhythmic bludgeon of the 8-minute “Dead City” echoing that immense machine-gun rattle fired off by Gojira, it’s easy to see why Home is not a band you will skip past lightly.
The great news is none of you have to – with Sound Zero being one of a few employing a policy of offering free downloads of all their releases, there really is no excuse. Alternatively of course you can show your appreciation by purchasing a hard copy direct. Whichever way you get to hear ’em, it’s always great to have an Austrian band really laying down in a country that is usually more famous for it’s classical leanings and folked-up Schrammelmusik than anything else. There just aren’t too many tearing it up out there, especially with this kind of maniacal, no-holds-barred attitude – all in the most beautiful and peaceful of surroundings. So, horns up and cowbells to you Hans-Peter, Amadeus and Mathias – you guys just made me take one more step towards insanity.
(7.5/10 John Skibeat)