Since around 1985 Dean Jones has been at the helm of Extreme Noise Terror taking the band through thick and thin and a cast list of somewhere in the region of 25 ex members, including some that are well known from other acts as diverse as Napalm Death, Raging Speedhorn, Cradle Of Filth, Eastern Front, Doom and The Varukers. Unfortunately there have been a couple who have passed away during this three decade period including dual vocalist Phil Vane in 2011. The band regrouped and have been making very riotous live performances since then with a musical backbone basically comprising of members of Welsh death metal bastards Desecration. Even more recently they went and grabbed Ben McCrow formerly of disbanded grot-bags The Rotted and have after a six year gap finally got round to recording this new album. It may well be a long time since this aging git first got slapped silly by the band on encountering ‘Holocaust In Your Head’ back in 1989 but I can assure you that this lot have not mellowed in the slightest.
What we get here are 13 tracks battered out in under 30 minutes that pretty much forcefully flatten you the second play is pressed and the group launch into ‘Punk Rock Patrol.’ Those who have not heard the band before may well find it a bit one dimensional as the attack and incessant smashing of the drum kit by Michael Hourihan hardly stands still for a second as sharp fired vitriol is contemptuously spat out by the yellers with the microphones and guitars and bass are discharged with shredding force. Unlike the idiots who thought it a good idea to book the band to play at the Brit Awards all those years ago with The KLF listeners should know what they are getting here but that does not make it any less forceful when you are flung into the midst of it all. Helping along the blunt force trauma of the attack here the band have gone and apparently also roped in guest guitarist Kody from Singapore punk band Minus and there is also a cover track by cult Japanese band Outo called ‘I Like Cola.’ Blink and you might well miss it. It’s a sharp sound as far as the production is concerned and the album actually hones in with doom laden riffs before that aforementioned first track explodes into a distempered sounding melange of punky hardcore. It’s fast, furious and utterly filthy, no doubt the recording session spurred on by several gallons of scrumpy. The one thing that really hit me on the first of many listens and successive ones is the third number ‘No One Is Innocent.’ It’s possibly due to the fact at 3:33 it’s by far the longest track on the album but it also has a real definition making it stand out as it grinds and grooves away with a classic punk as fuck apocalyptic riff about it. Slightly slower it sounds more controlled than anything else on the album at first but rest assured it rages away like a good un. Perhaps having seen the band live not too long ago is one reason this number particularly stood out.
There are plenty of guttural growls and higher pitched screeches vocally on the album and you can have fun working out who supplies what. I might not have been au fait with that cover but the vocals sound absolutely inhuman and it fits right in as abrasive and nasty as it gets. Numbers like ‘Think Outside The Box’ could easily have been penned by Napalm Death donkey’s years ago and have plenty of spirit and political discontent about them hitting like a petrol bomb, exploding and then legging it before the cops manage to grab and make an arrest. I have been listening to this on a daily basis since I got it and I doubt that’s going to desist or resist in the near future, the compact playing time and raw aggression throughout make it a compulsive listening experience and it works far better than an energy drink when it comes to waking you well and truly up. Sometimes the vocals have me laughing at their absurdity on a track like ‘Sheep In Wolf’s Clothing’ they gibber away like a rabid bulldog that swallowed a wasp and is trying to spit it out floods of saliva flying all over the shop. It hardly looks like the band are having their ‘Last Fix Of Fame’ as the track title suggests having seen pictures of rammed in crowds going mental while they have played Mexico and Colombia earlier this year. If you are looking for something hard and fast you won’t go wrong here so grab it, prepare the Molotov cocktails and get hurling. That bonfire night release date seems really suitable! (UK fanatics should note the album is available via Gravewax Records and Grindscene Records here too).
(7.5/10 Pete Woods)