Bait, three guys from Würzburg, Germany, certainly don’t lack ideas, nor energy. There is so much happening on their album Revelation of the Pure that you don’t know where to direct your attention first. Pressing play is like a whirlwind catching you unexpectedly and of guard. Partly, that has got to do with the fact that the band’s music resists clear classification. Hardcore, crust, punk, black metal and doom are all part of the mixture. In addition, conflicting imagery is sending mixed signals. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
The band emblem as visible on the CD and their Facebook page reminds me of the anarchist black cross logo – a cross topped by a clenched fist – and would suggest some kind of political motivation, as would the band name. Yet, what is written around the symbol is pure nihilism: Nothing is sacred, sacred is nothing. What’s the use of political action if you don’t believe in anything? Political action makes only sense if you’ve got at least a flicker of hope that things can get better.
A look at the lyrics, which are screamed and mostly unintelligible in the music but have thankfully been added to the press kit, confirms a gloomy and misanthropic outlook on life: “only death is real”, “we are demise”, “we are decay”, “human scum”, “human waste”, “ruled by traitors”. The lyrics to the title track Revelation of the Pure offer the only exception. They speak of winds that have turned, of “cleansing” and of “the beauty in the storm”, giving you the impression that a storm, a fire or a tidal wave might turn things around. Yet the album cover features a black-and-white photograph of frothy waves in which a skull, the symbol of death, can be discerned. And the tidal wave will hardly kill selectively.
The music accompanying all of the above is brutal, hectic and often chaotic, making for quite an exhausting listening experience. Opener Nothing is Sacred, for example, wastes no time on an intro or any kind of build-up. The drumming assault is instant, the screamed vocals add to the shock, the bits of melody that the guitar provides are not enough to allow you to get comfortable, to settle in. Leviathan III continuous in a similar fashion. Here the battering drumming is accompanied only by a prolonged scream in the beginning. Hectic and anxious, the album rarely offers a break, although things get occasionally a bit more atmospheric towards the end. The rare pauses, for example at the start of Into Misery or Eternal Sleep, are uneasy and electrically charged, making the following sound attack seem only more forceful.
As said in the beginning, Bait do not lack ideas, energy or musical skills. The music is well played, often impressively so, the album is well produced, well made. The overall arrangement, however, is a bit too frantic for my taste. If anarchy doesn’t want to be synonymous with chaos, and it doesn’t, then music inspired by anarchy needs some discernible structure in order to escape the same analogy.