Although Above & Below‘s bijou and compact debut offering Suffer Decay Alone is shorter than Reign In Blood and therefore fails the Sentinel Daily ‘is it an EP or an album then?’ test, at seven tracks and a tick under twenty eight minutes in length it offers enough misery and desolation in it’s grooves to keep all but the most misanthropic weeping into their beer for the duration. Sometimes less is indeed more.

The solo brainchild of Plaguewielder guitarist Bryce Seditz, Above & Below offer a concise look at industrial metal as it is in 2022; this isn’t just a nostalgic repurposing of old Nine Inch Nails or Fear Factory riffs, oh no – every track here is suffused with the freshness of someone looking at a venerable genre through new, excited eyes – and that really shines through on tracks like perky closer Covered.

Of course the use of the word ‘perky’ is relative; Commercial breakfast radio DJ’s ain’t gonna be playing this to get you going as you slump face down in your quinoa energy bowls at 7 AM, obviously, and it’s skitterish, drug comedown twitching isn’t for everyone, but when placed up against the grim dirgemongering of Hope it’s positively festive, so you get my point.

However the best track here, the pounding, pumping Tear will have you up and at ’em every time it comes careering out of your speakers; Seditz wrenches an unholy row from the space between his tonsils, accompanied by tumultuous riffage (imagine Geordie Walker if he’d been in Pitchshifter instead of Killing Joke), and backed by a martial, grinding percussion track that might well have started life in Industrial Beats 101 but is no less impressive for all that when forced into one’s aural receptors at high, high volume. I’ve used the phrase before, but ‘music as a contact sport’ seems particularly apt here, so I’ll use it again.

Suffer Decay Alone releases on June 10th.