Bulk Bogan: Flex

2018 Aug 16, 2018

BB1Every month, I post a new Ear-splitting Fun column on Six Noises, highlighting some of the rowdy music that’s caught my ear. I always include a lot of loud New Zealand music, but it’s pretty much guaranteed that about thirty seconds after I publish the latest column, a homegrown band will release a bunch of brain-battering noise I wish I’d included. This month, that honour goes to the (magnificently named) Auckland-based duo Bulk Bogan.

Bulk Bogan’s debut EP, Flex, features seven speedy tracks primed to pummel your senses and – like all good full-bore powerviolence purges – maybe even help you exorcise a few inner demons. Bulk Bogan’s members, Fluffy (guitar, vocals) and Mark (drums, vocals), throw blast-beats, fastcore, sludge, grindcore, hardcore, and a little jagged metal into the mix. Then they mash all those influences up and sprinkle a few neck-wrecking breakdowns into that noxious brew, and the result is a raw torrent of noise that’ll make you want to pick fights with strangers.

If you've enjoyed the whirlwind dissonance/sonic terrorism of an NZ band like Stress Ghetto, then rest assured that Bulk Bogan's audio attack is also akin to getting thwacked by a baseball bat that’s been wrapped in barbwire. Flex features barked, gargled, and spat out vocals, and adjectives like mangling and pulverizing are apt descriptors for fierce tracks like “Living Contradiction” and “No Time”. No question, Flex is a razorblade cyclone – but it isn’t a ceaseless storm.

Bulk Bogan take their foot off the gas here and there, letting danker sludge take over, or allowing the grind to grind more slowly, and a track like “The Teeth from the Sea” offers something genuinely unorthodox in comparison to the more explosive happenings here. “The Teeth from the Sea” isn’t the only track to feature shapeshifting swerves either. Even if some of those deviations are only explored for a microsecond or two.

In the end, it’s those off-kilter twists and turns that matter most. They add crucial personality to Flex. But, more importantly, they underscore that while Bulk Bogan’s musical palette is awash with violent colours, Flex still manages to feature subtle shading.

I don’t want to ruin Bulk Bogan’s riotous, powerviolence rep. I mean, they do make a hellishly harsh racket on Flex. But there’s also no denying the duo have woven some clever tricks into their cacophonous debut.

Fans of music that kicks the shit of you should dig in.

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