Wednesday 1 November 2017

Review: Concrete Lung – 'Fumes'


It's been a while since the last slice of uncompromisingly brutal industrial-doom from Concrete Lung bludgeoned us back in 2014, but as with life (supposedly) good things come to those who wait. 'Fumes' continues to see the band evolve their sound through their own mix of industrial, metal and grindcore infused with urban alienation, paranoia and all-out violence.

Like Godflesh fighting Nailbomb in tanks in the ruins of Stalingrad, 'Fumes' relentlessly crushes everything in its path. The slow sludgy riffs, the artillery batter drums and the corrosive industrial undercurrent combine into a challenging but rhythmically driven whole that propels the seven tracks with ease. It's dark, despondent and uncompromising, but it also shows a band at the top of their game innovating while looking back to their earlier recordings and drawing from the best of both.

Tracks like 'The Harbinger', 'Spinning In The Grave', 'When The Blind Man Sees You', 'A Thousand Years', and 'Fumes' show the best of this with their doomy lead riffs giving headbang appeal and even imbibing the compositions with shout-a-long potential that balances the inherent dissonance with a twisted nihilistic appeal. Whereas the cacophonous noise soundscapes 'Dissension I' and 'Dissension II' sound like Merzbow torturing Al Jourgenson with his own synths in some Hostel or Saw like scenario that reminds you that Concrete Lung are built for uneasy listening.

In terms of production, Concrete Lung remain entirely listenable despite the noise, grind and low-fi elements that permeate each track. There is an inherent rhythmic groove in most tracks that is always prominent in the mix despite whatever additional assaults they unleash. As with the previous album its a great blend of a professional and polished mix that doesn't dull their edges, but rather sharpens them.

'Fumes' feels like Concrete Lung's most self-assured album too date. It builds on the solid foundation of 'Tolerance & Dependency' and adds in a sense of live performance where rhythm and groove sit comfortably with crazy industrial noise. It's a beast of an album and one that shows the band as the true powerhouse it is.

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