Wreck and Reference
Black Cassette


4.0
excellent

Review

by rasputin USER (196 Reviews)
June 15th, 2011 | 45 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist


From the outset, Wreck and Reference’s music retains elements of traditional doom, but it warps and distorts them into something totally unique. Coming out of California, the band describes themselves as a 'lo-fi electronic doom band', one that plays doom with no guitars. While this could be off-putting for some, all it does is simply set Wreck and Reference apart, putting them in a category that is completely their own.

Other than the drums and vocals, all the music on Black Cassette is electronically created using synthesizers and various samples. The end result is a composition that is structurally a 'doom' record, but one which loosens the genre's boundaries and leads expeditions into experimental territory. The claustrophobic nature of doom is here, but it is further accentuated by a noise-esque fuzz over the composition. Moments where the music bursts to life are shadowed by a deep rumble that is unnerving in the best possible way. Do not be mistaken, however, in thinking that this is as ‘lo-fi’ as the band claim – while there is a DIY feel to this record, it is immaculately produced and simply sounds great.

The pace of the EP is pretty much perfect. There are no lengthy songs here, and though the whole thing goes for a little over 23 minutes, I don't even notice the time when I listen to it. Compositionally, Wreck and Reference have nailed it. Each song is as engaging as the last, and while they keep to a similar core approach in each one, there are differences that set them apart and keep them fresh. Strange melodies, such as the one at the end of 'Evening Redness' or on 'Surrendering' are captivating and emotionally charged, a current that runs throughout the entire EP.

If I had to pick one thing about Wreck and Reference which makes me refer it (loosely) to traditional doom, other than the lethargic tempos, it would be the vocal work. While it's not a reference due to similarity, I'll simply drop the name Warning to get people interested. The vocals on Black Cassette are very unique and ordinary at the same time, something that Pat Walker is arguably known for. On Black Cassette, one thing that characterises all the vocal work is the acerbic tone in which it’s delivered, one which ranges from almost Placebo-like emission to Walker inspired wails (the vocal performance on 'In Chains, Awakening' a perfect example). If anything, they make Black Cassette all the more inviting.

What I love most about this record is the fuzz. And sometimes the lack of. The 'riffs' are made of walls of distortion, which swell and dip frequently, and the occasional moment where the absence of the fuzz is emphasised juxtaposes wonderfully with the rest of the composition. The quiet first half of 'Surrendering' as opposed to its abrasive and almost despondent climax is one such example, a formula that the band repeats in a variety of ways throughout Black Cassette.

At first I put little effort into this EP, but all it took was one concentrated listen for me to realise how good it is. Wreck and Reference is a young band, forming only a couple of years ago, and I'm while I'm unsure of any earlier releases, Black Cassette is reason enough to become a fan. They're a mesh of Warning and The Die is Cast-era Menace Ruine, with a lot of unique twists and touches - something which, in my opinion, simply has to be heard. This comes with the highest recommendation I can possibly give.



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user ratings (26)
Chart.
4
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


You can stream and download this from Wreck and Reference's bandcamp. The option to buy a physical copy is also there.

http://wreckandreference.bandcamp.com/

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2011


16137 Comments


Great review. I'm sold, especially with the Warning and Menace Ruine comparison. Never enough quality doom floating around these days.

rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


Yeah definitely, it's one of the better submissions I've had (though I'm lucky enough not to have had any 'bad' ones yet).

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2011


7122 Comments


Doom?No Guitars? i'll have to check this out. Nice review have your pos.

rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


It's not as 'experimental' as some may think (or as I may have implied), but it does have a very unique sound. I really like it, anyway.

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2011


16137 Comments


Yeah, one would think appalling black metal submissions would be in heavy abundance.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2011


7122 Comments


You can find some of this on youtube yeah?

rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


You can find some of this on youtube yeah?


Yes there is, but you can stream the whole thing from their bandcamp.

Yeah, one would think appalling black metal submissions would be in heavy abundance.


Yeah I thought so too, but I guess they all sent their stuff to Attila.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2011


7122 Comments


Na links work better cause youtube eats up my internet usage, and this saves it a little bit if i'm already in the right spot.

DiceMan
June 15th 2011


7068 Comments


looks kvlt

North0House2
June 15th 2011


5880 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I downloaded this months ago, I don't know how i found it... I think it was on SirenSound or something. But, it never clicked with me at all, so I deleted it from my library. I don't really know why, but I just didn't like it.

Anyway, good review.

Digging: From Indian Lakes - Able Bodies

North0House2
June 15th 2011


5880 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ah, I might give this another shot. I only listened to it once.

YetAnotherBrick
June 15th 2011


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Definitely gonna check this out. Sounds extremely intriguing.

Good review, too.

Digging: Soul Coughing - Ruby Vroom

rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


It would be worth it. At the very least you should listen to some of the songs on the bandcamp, it's not like that takes any effort.

qwe3
June 15th 2011


21369 Comments


damn this sounds cool.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
June 15th 2011


7122 Comments


Thanks Rasputin.

rasputin
June 15th 2011


14555 Comments


Hope whoever checks it out likes it as much as I did.

DoubtGin
June 15th 2011


6752 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

doooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooom

will check out

Relinquished
June 15th 2011


25584 Comments


yeah this sounds real good

AngelofDeath
Staff Reviewer
June 15th 2011


16137 Comments


Yep, this is pretty awesome, as promised.

Kind of makes me wish I had a tape deck. Would buy the hell out of that cassette.



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