Sam Bean, erstwhile bassist/belcher of stygian fumes with Aussie noise terrorists Werewolves, memorably stated that “We want to be the band where if your mum and dad catch you listening to us, they know they’ve failed as parents” last year within these very pages, and on the band’s latest Prosthetic Records release, What A Time To Be Alive, you can certainly see what he’s getting at.
Put simply, WATTBA is thirty four minutes of pure, unadulterated, debilitating filth. There is not a single scrap of art on offer here that anyone remotely considering themselves to be ‘decent’ would be interested in, let alone want to stand in the vicinity (IE earshot of). I have treated my neighbours to the whole thing, in full, on multiple occasions, and they’ve stopped greeting me on the communal landings with no explanations given. In these terms, and obviously by extension in accordance with their stated war aims, What A Time To Be Alive is an unmitigated success.
Apart from the early part of closing track They Will Pay With Their Own Blood, Werewolves don’t let their collective feet off the hammer for the duration of the album, pouring on the pain as only former and current members of names like Psycroptic, Akercocke and The Berzerker can. And whilst all three members of the band are equally to blame for the state of your nerves by the end of the record, it has to be said that drummer David Haley is going to have some explaining to do when the ear doctor comes to inspect your tattered Ossicles and Stapes. The man puts up a frankly inhuman barrage from start to finish, producing a relentless pounding in connivance with Bean over which guitarist Matt Wilcock weaves tales of utter sonic terror with grim faced efficiency. I’ve used this phrase before, but listening to this record will definitely leave you feeling in desperate need for a shower as only the best extreme music can.
Fave tracks? Well, I could name a couple but what would be the point? What A Time To Be Alive does contain standout nuggets (and as the editor is twitching uncomfortably as this dribbling drifts ever further away from something that could be construed as a review I’ll put forward the superb Mission Statement and Traitors and Bastards as evidence), but the whole point of the exercise is the pummelling it gives as a febrile, seething whole. The arrival here is just as important as the journey, let me tell you, but you won’t go on many more enjoyable trips this year if relentless, hate-drenched bile is your thing.
What A Time To Be Alive releases on January 29th.