My initial enthusiasm for this band was due to the fact that I thought this was the grinding terror UK version of Chestburster only to find that this is the Finnish version. A quick listen online gave me enough to still plump for this for review. This band is not for the faint of heart or limited musical vision as they completely destroy any sense of normality you’d expect from a punk act that dips its boots into grunge, rock ‘n’ roll, heavy metal and straight up hardcore.
The raucous and utterly raw production is refreshing to hear as the sound clamours around seemingly randomly on the opener “Faces In The Rain” to the point that it is hard to decipher the nuances of the bands song writing on first listen as you are hurled into a maelstrom of cavorting nihilism. As your auditory senses overcome the blanketing avalanche of virtual cacophonic mire you get a sense of a band that has a style that feels weirdly awkward but comfortable at the same time. The vocals are typically harsh but, and possibly the make or break aspect for some with this release, there is a healthy dose of clean vocal crooning that has a ring of Glenn Danzig or Peter Steele to its tone. Occasionally the vocals veer slightly off key which is probably deliberate and adds to the distortional groove that infests this album from start to finish. “Experienced Virgin” has a garage like feel; stripped to the bone sonics but loaded with melody as the lead has a ‘Fast’ Eddie Clarke (ex-Motorhead) due to its gnarly feel and brazen shredding. The opening riff to the title track is gritty and matched by a drum sound that is clanging but fitting for the style adopted as the tune threatens to veer into outright pandemonium on the guitar work before reining in for the main melodic riff and verses.
The massively long “Gas Station Pilgrim” didn’t challenge me in the way I expected, as the slower more droning approach creates a very old sleazy rock style. As the tune progresses various components are layered onto the drums and bass via the experimental guitar work. In my intro I hinted that this band has some grunge like touches and “The Aim Stretches Out” is typical of what I am driving at. Before the grunge scene became massively corporate there were dozens of bands playing hard hitting rock tunes with colossal distortion that gave the genre its unique guise within music. The tune has some very early Mudhoney and Soundgarden touches and I mean early, no major label bullshit bastardisation. That influence (whether the band or agrees with me or not) continues into “Rojo Sangre” with a very rough around the edges appeal as the lone guitar and vocals with steady drum beat create a feeling of despair but engaging with it. If I thought things couldn’t get any more peculiar then I was wrong as “Licking Letters” begins normally and has a laid back riff and head nodding beat. That comfort zone is shattered when a saxophone appears from nowhere jolting you to sit up as the tune speeds up towards its end with a fret blazing lead at the end of it that would have fit any Motorhead release with considerable ease.
This is not an easy album to listen, but who said music has to be easy, listen to pop music if that’s what you want. Chestburster will test you on every level as their 45 minute slab of noise will crush your speakers and give your amplifier palpitations.
(7.5/10 Martin Harris)