This Extreme Noise Terror article was written by Chris Hobbs, a Gigsoup contributor. Edited by Zoe Anderson
Considering how Extreme Noise Terror‘s music aims to challenge societal norms, it seems fitting that their latest offering suffers somewhat under the constraints of the five point rating system. The sixth album from one of the founders of crust punk is a back-to-roots offering, heavily emulating the style of the band’s first album, ‘A Holocaust in Your Head’. The main difference between that release and this one is less in the music and more in the 26 years that lie between their releases
While in 1989 ‘A Holocaust in Your Head’ was a product of the music that laid down the groundwork for countless seminal grindcore albums, ‘Extreme Noise Terror’ pushes few boundaries. It is an album for Extreme Noise Terror fans and makes no pretences about being anything else.
As expected, pressing the play button unleashes an aural assault with a refreshingly raw feeling to it. ‘Punk Rock Patrol’ opens with a bleak muddiness that explodes into a frenzy of blast beats, half-distinguishable vocals and simple, heavy guitar riffs. The following track, ‘Dogma, Intolerance, Control’ sounds so similar that, if not for the lyrics, it could have been part of the same song.
Following this, the short, bouncy introduction to ‘No One is Innocent’ comes as a welcome break, and marks the longest track on the album. Jumping between various levels of intensity, it is easily the strongest of the opening three tracks, and the fist-pumping ending, with dual screams of “no-one is innocent”, just begs to be screamed along to in concert.
While lacking no conviction in performance, the occasional use of heavy distortion on vocals feels like it flattens the tone and pointlessly hides any semblance of pronunciation left in the vocals. This is especially noticeable on ‘I like Coca’ – a cover of Outo‘s ‘I like Cola’ – where a welcome shift of tone, in the form of a guitar solo, is somewhat undermined by the vocal effects.
By contrast, ‘An Endless Cycle of Misery’ showcases the duality of the two vocalists at its best and most raw, marking one of the strongest tracks on the album.
As is commonplace in grindcore albums, many songs are remarkably similar to the ones that precede them – sub-two minute, hyper aggressive punk pieces. The final piece, however, ‘Only in it For the Music Pt.27 (Black Putrefaction)’, with its chugging guitar riffs, energetic guitar solo and stop-start sectionality ends the album on a surprisingly fresh note.
There is no doubt that this latest release from Extreme Noise Terror fulfils its purpose perfectly: full of compact, punk aggression, the album is a showcase of exactly why hardcore punk became so influential. For Extreme Noise Terror fans who loved the previous albums and want more, this album won’t disappoint. While this album is far from a bad choice for new fans, picking up some of the band’s earlier works will offer not just the signature crust punk sound but a slice of British music history at the same time.
‘Extreme Noise Terror’ is out now via Willowtip Records.