The duo of Ed Oxime and William Riever have, as Concrete Lung, come together to create one of the most interesting industrial / metal crossover acts for quite a while. Blending crushing, sludgey doom metal and abrasive industrial, the band channels acts like Swans, Godflesh and Ministry into a slow and methodical sensory assault executed with the intensity of Napalm Death and Nailbomb.
On their fourth release, 'Subtract Nerve', they certainly pull no punches. Each track has an ultra-heavy presence that is full of deep and distorted electronics that compliment the dirty guitar and half-shouted, half-growled vocals. It builds nicely on the nihilistic and apocalyptic visions of their full-length album 'Versions Of Hell'.
The opening track 'User' is a textbook case of being thrown in at the deep end. The song slowly emerging from a static haze into a bludgeoning eight minute ordeal that grips the listener and won't let go. The following tracks, 'Self – Shriek (Intensity)', 'Rot And Seethe' and 'Waste' each maintain the heaviness of the opener, but the emphasis on a chugging pace and chant-a-long vocals make them a little more accessible and catchy... in an Ebola virus kind of way.
The re-recorded version of 'Flux' shows just how far the band are developing in terms of quality as well. The original simply doesn't stand up to this with its fuller sound and more forceful vocal style. Even the hidden track is an enjoyable exercise in nightmarish dissonance.
Even the production is very strong here. With an act like this the temptation would be to go low-fi for a lot of people, which more often than not just sounds sloppy. Concrete Lung on the other-hand have created something that, although packed with distortion and harshness, is very well mixed so that all these elements don't simply become a homogeneous noise.
'Subtract Nerve' is a very impressive release from an act that hits you hard on every level. They have taken a big step forward from their full-length album 'Versions Of Hell' and are reaching their full potential. It's going to be very interesting to see what the next LP brings.