Review Summary: Unapologetically heavy but surprisingly listenable, Love Sex Machine's second release builds on their brutalising debut without losing sight of its appeal.
Love Sex Machine's self-titled debut was a monstrous, caterwauling mire of low-register abuse. Lacking any form of subtlety, either musically or in relation to its 'provocative' song titles, it was found by many to be enjoyable for that very reason; bringing in-your-face sludge to the listener at an animalistic standard. With this in mind, their follow up Asexual Anger
carries itself slightly differently.
This isn't to say that Asexual Anger
is entertaining the niceties; the focus still seems to be on seizing the listener around the throat and shaking them violently. Yves' vocals are largely a vitrolic, acidic rasp that sit deep within the mix, bearing resemblence to ex-Lord Mantis' Charlie Fell in his bile-spewing delivery. The sludge influence is the outstanding feature, mixing choppy, buzzing riffs with a deafening bass presence, but 'Infernal Spiral' is probably the closest to an unfiltered sludge experience the listener will face here. Their modus operandi
is largely a peculiar mixture of the aforementioned, doom and hardcore punk, one which sees the different styles take prominence on a track-by-track basis; 'Aujeszky' yields an almost Nails-like sound and 'Silent Duck' is a great showing of grim doom atmosphere, to give but two examples. Arguably though, it's the production that provides the real drop-kick. Balancing the noisiness seen on their-self titled with a surprising low-end clarity, it allows the riffs that give Asexual Anger
so much traction to stand out. The result is an album that is still punishingly heavily, but carries with it enough intelligibility that each track sounds strangely invigorating in conjunction with one another.
However, perhaps contradictorily to the previous point, Asexual Anger
's most prominent asset is also its only weakness. Very rarely straying into higher territories, Love Sex Machine seem intent on staying within the boundaries of the thicker two or three strings of their instruments. Admittedly, while listening this is no problem as the Lille trio pull it off fantastically, but after 'Silent Duck' finishes, trying to remember any more than a track's basics even 5 or 6 listens down is a struggle. Whether or not catchiness was ever the intention is up for debate, but this does show that Asexual Anger
is only really suitable for filling a hole when the listener wants something to pulverise their brain tissue for 40 minutes or so.
But then, what's wrong with that? Would a hammer be bemoaned because it's nigh-on impossible to saw wood with it? From the word go, Asexual Anger
fulfils its purpose to a fantastic standard, while managing to distance itself from its predecessor through a well-balanced mixture of genres and a clearer production style. Although it may not cover a wide breadth of emotional response, for when venomous aggression is the order of the day, Love Sex Machine bring the goods with the greatest aplomb.