Luckily the music on Spoils Of Failure makes up for the pretension. Marrying hardcore leanings with Black Sabbath riffs, this is an album of brutal, lurching guitar, precision-like drumming, and hardcore bellowing that drags the punk kids into a pit of molasses for a slow, grinding mosh.
Opening with the rattling military-like precision of drums, and heaving, mandrax guitar before vocalist Nick Shaw opens up and spews forth, the pattern is set for the rest of the album: instrumental intro (usually guitar) before the powerful Tony Iommi-like early Sabbath dirge smashes down on top and Shaw’s voice of unreason assaults your senses.
Interestingly, on tracks III ,IV and VI the guitar intros had me thinking of Metallica’s Master Of Puppets album – not so much the actual sound as the atmosphere they created. Of course, that was soon beaten out of me when the hammer came down. For me, the most interesting thing was the precision and crispness of Mick Godbout’s drumming. No frenetic “let’s hit everything in sight”, no sloppy missed beats, just this military timing, this power and rhythm holding the whole thing together. He is the difference between this band and most of their like-minded travellers. The guitars are slow and crushing, pushing down on you, squeezing every breath out of your body and I can’t over-emphasise the Tony Iommi/early Black Sabbath feel here.
Fans of bands as diverse as Neurosis, Isis, Mass Appeal, Propaghandi and Iron Man are going to find something in this album that appeals. It’s brutal, crushing and relentless, but the melodies and Kurt Ballou’s production have produced an album that’s clean and sharp and ultimately, despite the pretension, damn near perfect. But I wonder if the band gets the irony of them releasing an album that purports to be about a future where machines have taken over from humanity, my reviewing it by streaming it online, and of their offering of sample tracks of for downloading. Don’t know that they have that sort of sense of humour though.
Buried Inside's Spoils of Failure is out now on Relapse/Riot.