Review Summary: Sexy, shimmering, tinnitus-causing, neighbor-murdering glory.
Listen: I don't know why I'm not bleeding. I've been punched, kicked, baseball-batted into the curb, stabbed in the gut repeatedly, and borderline-sexually-assaulted. My head's still spinning. So is this record. Something's creeping me out. There are guitars screaming about it from the top of skyscrapers and a drum machine shaking the floor and a bass that won't stop trying to get into my pants, and, goddamn, something is creeping me the f*ck out.
And what in the Sam hell is that noise
Oliver Ackermann, the heart, guitar, voice and brains of A Place To Bury Strangers
, couldn't find pedals that made his guitar sound disgusting enough. So he made his own. His DIY pedal brand is called Death By Audio. Pedal names include “Fuzz War”, “Total Sonic Annihilation”, “Soundwave Breakdown”, and “Apocalypse”. This is not a shoegaze band, it's an extension of a murderous cult. If Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine
fame wanted to make his guitar tone into a warm pillow for you to lay down on, APTBS wants to fill that pillow with BB pellets and beat you to death with it.
Every track on Worship
is very much religious in its devotion to presenting this contagious strain of masochistic rock in a crisper and more varied way than previous APTBS outings. The improved production of Exploding Head
and Onward To The Wall
has returned, but the crew have managed to improve their sound so that it seems lush and dense even as it comes at you like a runaway freight train, a cascade of shattered stained-glass rather than a simple broken apartment window. The instrumentation alone merits multiple listens: the combination of digital and manned drumkits make for an unstoppable mechanical drive, the bass tones are deliciously bouncy and buzzing, and the guitar squalls, squeals, and riffs manage to be disturbing and headbangingly awesome simultaneously.
What really elevates this album is the balance of old-fashioned rockers, like the titanic “Revenge” and the pulsing “Mind Control”, with more sinister, laid-back tracks. Lead single “You Are The One”, for example, is initially a relatively quiet affair, with slithering guitar riffs playing underneath Ackermann's whispered sadomasochistic lyrics, until feedback smashes into the end of the first verse and the chorus becomes a supernova of steel wool. Or there's “Dissolved”, an initially slow-paced burner that goes ahead and doubles its tempo halfway through. And just try not to have your hair stand on end during Ackermann's distorted, demonic sighs in the outro of “Worship”. The band's sound is the better for this newfound variety.
There's not enough noise and fun being thrown around the simplistic rhythms that make up the initially promising “Fear” or the single-riff “Slide”, but these are small bumps in an otherwise brutally straightforward and catchy album. Any fan of noise rock, industrial, or good old rock needs to give this a listen. It's a record to die for.