Brooklyn duo, Uniform, reached dizzying heights of success following the release of ‘Wake in Fright’ – the album received mass critical acclaim, with two tracks featuring in the newest season of Twin Peaks, and most recently the pairing teamed up with fellow harbingers of noise The Body for the collaborative release of ‘Mental Wounds Not Healing’. With fans hungry for new material it seemed only fitting that Michael Berdan (vocals) and Ben Greenberg (instrumentals) return to the studio to record the eagerly anticipated ‘The Long Walk’.
This latest opus sees an element of Uniform’s industrial influence shelved, as the duo become a three piece with the addition of drummer Greg Fox (Liturgy). The band take on an angrier hardcore/powerviolence sound, which is eerily fitting for the subject matter dealt with on this album. ‘The Long Walk’ borrows its name from a Richard Bachman (Stephen King) novel of the same title, in which an annual race ordered by a totalitarian American government called ‘The Long Walk’ is held. In this contest, 100 boys are made to walk south from the Maine/Canada border at a constant rate of 4mph until only one is left standing. The winner is granted anything he wants for the rest of his life, while a far more nefarious fate awaits the 99 behind him.
The record immediately sets out to unsettle, with a loud burst of crackling feedback jolting the music to life. Berdan parallels his lyrics with the storyline of the novel as a means to purge his anger surrounding capitalism and organised religion, and as he rages and spits his lyrics, Greenberg provides a steady plodding beat that almost feels like it could be mimicking a steady walking pace. The addition of Fox makes Uniform’s sound denser and more cohesive; whereas their previous releases have sounded like chaotic white noise, incorporating a real life percussionist into the mix has added an edge of discipline to their sound. However, despite the more linear path of the songs, they have lost none of their aggression. ‘The Long Walk’ is without a doubt Uniform’s best release to date – at their most controlled they sound their rawest and more pissed off than ever.
(9/10 Angela Davey)