There’s no question that listening to the bleeding-raw debut from sludge punk duo Pantihero is about as pleasant as having iron filings stuck in your eye socket. But (a) that’s no bad thing, and (b) that’s kind of the point.
Pantihero don’t play nice. But then, who wants to listen to safe or anodyne punk rock anyway, right? There’s no fun in that. Or maybe I’m just more of a masochistic music fan than I thought I was. Either way, Pantihero’s über-harsh debut is a riot. Well… I mean, it is if your idea of a fun day out is listening to a band that sounds like an even rawer System Fucker covering NZ sludge ’n’ doom punks like Meth Drinker or Ritual Abuse.
Essentially, Pantihero delivers scungy, fuzzed-out metallic punk. But what makes the band’s five-track debut stand out is its caustic, “fuck-you” production. That ensures all the crashing drums and churning bass feel like they’re stripping the enamel right off your teeth.
Eoin’s concrete-mixing bass and buried/blown-out vocals were recorded live and in-the-raw alongside Katie’s battering drums, and Pantihero’s putrid downtempo tracks contain zero sweetened melodies and even less swanky instrumentation. “Gagged and Bound”, “State of Unrest”, “Walk in Hell”, “Arabian Nights” and “Back into Earth” are all grating and jaw-grinding –– genuinely salt-in-the-wound tracks –– but their crudeness is what highlights the instinctive allure of filthy, lower-than-lo-fi noise.
In fact, Pantihero’s debut is fucking great because it’s so fucking horrible. And I mean that in entirely complimentary terms. Label Razored Raw is releasing the band’s debut, and as on the label’s previous release (from rough-hewn punks Stress Ghetto), Pantihero hammer home attitude over aptitude.
That means Pantihero’s red-raw, obnoxious primitivism is the main attraction here –– and sure, all the acid-audio adventuring is a challenge. Still, I’d argue that it’s downright healthy to get your earholes thoroughly reamed out by dissonant and disgusting noise now and then. And Pantihero are made for that.
You can grab a digital copy of the band’s debut via Razored Raw’s Bandcamp page below.