One month into 2017, and I already have 11 New Zealand music releases to write about. Actually, make that 12 local releases; homegrown experimental label End of the Alphabet Records just announced a new album from reclusive sound experimentalist Omit. That means I should be seriously getting my A into G and focusing on typing a lot of words as fast as I can. So I thought I’d start with a trio of write-ups looking at a trio of releases from a trio of trios. That sounds fun, right?
Below is some belligerent sludge punk from Over-Population. Some grungy, bloodstained punk from Tyrannosaurus Wreck. And some psych ’n’ doom from amp-melting rockers Blazing Shade. I hope that some (or all) of that noise strikes a chord with you, and there’s plenty more music to come. I’ve got releases from Stone Angels, Black Temple, Hollywoodfun Downstairs, Wizz Kids, Poverty & Spit, and Into Orbit to write about asap. As well a split release from Disjecta Membra, IKON and Sounds Like Winter, and a split cassette from Markdown and Blame Thrower too.
No rest for the wicked, eh.
As always, cheers for visiting Six Noises. Enjoy the rowdy tunes.
Over-Population: Civilization and Its Discontents
Crusty sludge punks Over-Population reside in the sun-drenched New Zealand city of Napier, which is famed for its beautiful art deco architecture and endless holiday charms. Of course, we all know that any city’s touristy veneer is paper-thin bullshit, and that’s where D.I.Y bands like Over-Population step in to peel the scab off polite society. The three-piece band captures the decay behind the facade on their misanthropic Civilization and Its Discontents album, where the band’s music is clearly framed by a deep loathing of all our hypocrisies, and our dead-end suburban dreams.
(If you’re looking for similar fare from the same location, fellow Napier noise-mongers Life is Hate and Moral Turpentine delivered “*fuck you, and fuck the whole shebang while you’re at it” *messageson their respective releases in 2016.)
Over-Population weigh in with an ultra-nihilistic communiqué matched by an aptly bleak sound on Civilization and Its Discontents. The album is certainly a step up in sonic terms from the band’s five-track Think Locally, Die Globally demo, which was released back in 2014. And the majority of Civilization and Its Discontents’ heavyweight tracks crawl along on smashed knuckles, with songs like “Right to Breed”, “Choking Hand”, and the lengthy “Graves in Suburbia” seeing throat-slit vocals and a churning morass of punk and sludge fuel their engines.
If you’re searching for a musical reference point or two, then the likes of Buzzov•en, Dystopia, or Grief work (sort of). Although, sonically, Over-Population are more lo-fi than those bands. You can also hear hostile elements similar to New Zealand bands like Meth Drinker or even Open Tomb in Over-Population’s sound. But, to be clear, Over-Population aren’t copycatting anyone. It’s simply that, like those bands, Over-Population wrap a very grim message around a very squalid sound. That message being, that the problem with this world is us, and that the sooner we’re all dead and buried the better.
Hate everyone and everything? Then press play below. You’re definitely not alone.
Tyrannosaurus Wreck: S/T
If you’re fan of harsh punk made by crusty horror fans, then Tyrannosaurus Wreck’s self-titled debut might fit the butcher’s bill for you. A vein of chugging noise punk with plenty of low-end rumble runs throughout Tyrannosaurus Wreck, and there’s a heap of grimy gutter metal lurking on the album as well. But, to my ol’ ears, what stands out most on Tyrannosaurus Wreck’s first full-length is the abundance of lumbering, bass-heavy grunge; à la the early years of Tad, the Melvins, or even Mudhoney and Nirvana.
Admittedly, Tyrannosaurus Wreck aren’t as monolithically heavy or directly Sabbath-inspired as Tad or the Melvins, and the Christchurch-based trio’s debut has a stench that’s far more squat punk than it is rock club. But Tyrannosaurus Wreck’s music definitely resides in that messy punk/metal/grunge zone where identifying any one genre leading the charge is tricky at best, and ultimately kind of redundant. Some music just isn’t made for finicky dissection.
The main point to take away from Tyrannosaurus Wreck’s debut is that the band make a really horrible (that is, really enjoyable) noise –– think filthy barbed-wire tunes wrapped in rusty razorblade sonics. Ripping tracks like “Dead”, “Battle Royale”, “Werewolf Village Massacre”, “Duke Nukem” and “Slowly Digested Over 1,000 Years” pay tribute to the band’s favourite bloodthirsty themes and influences. You’ll find murderous movie mayhem, sci-fi, lycanthropes, zombies, zombies, and more zombies, and violent video games galore. So if you think raw recordings and hordes of the undead are a great match, and I’m pretty sure they are, then check out the punked-up grunge ’n’ gore below.
Blazing Shade: Cooked in the Shade
Up-and-coming rockers Blazing Shade make a racket that reeks of ages past. That’s not to suggest the Auckland-based three-piece are churning out pale facsimiles of rock ’n’ roll’s former glories. (They’re not. Let’s be clear about that.) But Blazing Shade do deal in music that harkens back to the roots of heavy occult and psychedelic rock. The band tear through their songs with a fuzz-fuelled swagger on their recent Cooked in the Shade EP, and their sound is perfectly ragged at the edges and loaded with giant hooks.
If you’re a fan of Pentagram’s earliest years, or au fait with outfits like the Edgar Broughton Band or the Groundhogs, then Blazing Shade’s music is likely to prove enticing. It ticks the boxes for stoner rock, metal, and psych rock fans, and on Cooked in the Shade the band mixes the old with the new while tipping their hat to myriad acid-fired and power trio influences.
Tracks like “Cut Down the Witch”, “Demon Eyes”, and the A+ doom-psych romp “Grimoire” wouldn’t sound out of place on a long-lost proto-metal compilation with their bluesy vocals, red-hot riffs, and that dark devilish shroud hanging overhead. If stripped-down and hook-filled heavy rock is remotely appealing, make sure to check out Cooked in the Shade. It’s utterly smokin’. In every sense.