Review Summary: Refreshingly abstract and unpredictable.
Not every Polish band has an opportunity to travel to Los Angeles and record with a renowned producer. Formerly known as Moja Adrenalina, Warsaw-based collective Semantik Punk have worked with Ross Robinson on their eccentric new album whose title abcdefghijklmnoprstuwxyz
revolves around the inherent limitations of language in how it's both universally understood and ostensibly meaningless. This intriguing concept propels the act's mind-bending blend of mathcore and noise rock. The quartet discards melody and linear song structures in favor of distortion, abnormal tunings and poly rhythms. Singer Adam Adamczyk augments unpredictable arrangements with psychotic screams in a Slavic dialect only familiar to himself. The results hearken back to Polish technical metal pioneers Kobong whose outside-the-box experimentation clearly inspires Semantik Punk. Yet, the act's crazed approach is distinctive enough to raise eyebrows, elevating an off-kilter collection of musical ideas to a form of abstract art.
The album is sequenced in a manner that recalls a twisted journey into the psyche of a deranged man. A misleading jazzy intro suddenly bursts into the chord-warping title track that finds Adamczyk monotonously reciting alphabet. To make things even weirder, the outfit follows that with a series of discordant freakouts in which fluctuant drum fills and hypnotic bass lines are juxtaposed with schizoid guitar riffs that never fail to deliver the sting of dismal paranoia. The unintelligible vocals work as yet another instrument, lending the music its share of vitriol and ferocity. Semantic Punk also make a strong point of not repeating themselves. Every track has its distinct vibe whether it's the perpetually altering descent into madness of “Trzepak Drapak” or the surprisingly uplifting atmosphere of “Jest To A.” The abrasive tendencies are smoothed over in the closing three-part suite which sees the quartet building up delirious walls of feedback on top of hypnotic rhythms. The post-rock passages culminate in 23 minutes of sensual drone, capitalizing on the group's unconventional way of perceiving music as a stream of thought.
The mix by The Dillinger Escape Plan's regular collaborator Steve Evetts makes for a brisk and powerful sound that's akin to mathcore inventors. Semantic Punk cannot be directly likened to any band from abroad, though. Their unique vision of music is manifested on abcdefghijklmnoprstuwxyz
in a daring fashion that defies any norms and expectations ingrained in the casual listener's consciousness. This record certainly won't appeal to the masses, but those who are willing to branch out beyond the limits of popular music will find it worthy of multiple spins necessary to decipher its refreshingly abstract content.