Thursday, May 24, 2012

Negative Standards - VI​-​XI

Harsh, impassioned, and overall gloomy is how I'd sum up Negative Standards in one sentence. As for their latest effort, VI-XI, it is a brutal slab of Dystopia like gloom with a hardcore approach and nods to black metal and sludge.

There isn't one particular aspect about VI-XI that strikes me as the cornerstone to their sound and success, but rather the delivery of the album as a whole. To point out a riff here, a line of lyrics there, doesn't really do a thing as it's the soul crushing atmosphere of VI-XI that makes me come back for more.

Album opener "VI" illustrates the band perfectly as bits of harsh noise and lost screams give way to a driving d-beat and charnel scraping guitars only to collapse in a titanic down-tempo section that has the meatiest bass drums I've heard in awhile. Where the band really gets things rolling it's with "VIII;" a great snippet and snaking black metal section that leads its way to sludgy outro all in under 2 minutes. The band accomplishes similar feats throughout the album, blending the soul crushing attributes of sludge (I'm talking Moloch sludge here, not Down), the energy and urgency of hardcore and the melodic tendencies of black metal none being a better example than the finale "XI" which is easily the best track on the album.

While I really do enjoy this release, the vocals aren't my cup of tea. That modulated electronic screen has never done it for me. That being said, I guess they do fit and do not subtract much from the band's sound all that much.

This album's a must for people like me who enjoy the harsher and more pessimistic things in life.

Vendetta Records

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