Review Summary: We all bleed noise.
I consider myself a fan of noisey music. Not really in the vein of electronic superpowers like Merzbow (I respect his work, it’s just not for me), but more akin to the likes of DEP, Converge, United Nations or basically anything in between with that chaotic embrace of “a guitar being chucked into a trash can and beaten senselessly”. Some have coined this as “dissonant”. Frontierer is the embodiment of this sound. Their first EP ‘The Collapse’ impressed me with it’s creative approach to drown it's grindy instruments in extremely muddy tunings yet still having a pretty clean production behind it. It was fast, brutal and uncompromising. Fast forward to now and we have a whole new LP consisting of 15 tracks going over 45+ minutes in length. How’d they do, you ask? Well, I’d say they nailed it.
Now I’m just gonna put this out there so we can get it out of the way: The sound these guys are going for is extremely reminiscent of the former Tennessee mathcore group known as The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza. I actually enjoyed a lot of their music when I was in high school and still hold their third album as the magnum-opus of “djent” sound technique (or pattern, depending on who you ask). However, Sputnik as a collective is not very fond of this band. So, in short, if you do not care for this type of music; you’ll probably find this revolting. You’ve been warned. Moving on.
First, let’s talk about what you’ll be hearing from the guitars on this album. Putting it bluntly, they are heavy as ***. I’ve never heard a more destructive and rage-driven tone like what Pedram Valiani is putting out on this. It almost sounds like a group of sledgehammer-toting construction workers are battering the absolute living *** out of these instruments and it just so happens to be making music. But, I wouldn’t be calling this a perfect way to play them by any means. The structure of each riff can become a bit repetitive as the album goes on. Examples like “Helium Vat” and “Cascading Dialects” sound like one big breakdown that just keeps going and going. It just becomes a bit like filler when compared to their first track “Bunsen” that starts in this fashion but transforms into a huge wave of distorted noise that’s oddly catchy and original. As far as deep layering mixed with tapping sections, look at tracks “Delorean Trails” and “Mt. Swath”. They do not disappoint. As for the bass, they seem to emulate it in the same way some bands have in the past with the use of 8-string guitars. It’s not really a positive or a negative since the guitars are so low they would be practically unrecognizable in the mix.
Next, I’ll go into the vocals and lyrics. Chad Kapper, who previously hosted vocals in a band with Danza star Joshua Travis called When Knives Go Skyward, fits perfectly in this album. He’s one angry dude. From songs describing the apocalyptic desolation of humanity to the inner-workings of his body being literally ripped apart, he mixes like a tornado in a hurricane. Probably one of my favorite songs “The Collapse”, that was reworked into the LP from their previous EP, sounds way more extreme and chaotic as his vocals were mixed to various different degrees as the song is being torn apart by the guitar’s screeching riffery. This is better observed than explained, trust me. Another standout is a pseudo-interlude called “IALCCA”. While it’s definitely more electronic in nature, it leads perfectly into the following track with Chad beckoning the raw intensity of Jacob Bannon. It’s effective and showcases a bit of emotional harshness towards the listener.
In closing, this was a highly entertaining album. I was impressed by how successful they were creating this album in both tone and power throughout all of it’s length. However, pondering as I write this, I’m not sure how this would be enjoyable to someone outside of this genre. This is probably quite a jarring listen to the average metal fan or music enthusiast in general. It’s quite literally a trip into the deep cavernous underbelly of chaos. Nevertheless, I can’t wait to see where these guys go next, especially when they start to tour. I mean just imagining this band playing these songs live ... holy ***. Get ready for next level stuff guys.