Sunday, May 9, 2010


All too brief (only 20 minutes) slab of misanthropic obliteration from one of my very favorite bands. I've loved these guys since i bought their first EP years and years ago; new material since then has been sparse but amazing across the board, firmly establishing the Austerity Program as the only band worthy to carry on Big Black's legacy of enraged disgust and acerbic, nullifying rage. Albini's spectre hangs heavy over this band but in the best possible way-it's the sound fully realized and taken to its furthest end, the pot of hate at the end of the black rainbow.
Coming off of the destructive and epic "Black Madonna" full-length, "Backsliders..." seems immediately odd in a few ways. Firstly is a renewed interest in minimalism. "Black Madonna" was a whirlwind of sick, progressive drum programming full of stop/start headspinners and riff after riff after dizzying fucking riff. On "Backsliders..." we're treated to a more reserved and maybe contemplative Austerity Program. The drums here drive rather than pummel and destroy and riffs are actually allowed to hang around for awhile and evolve as opposed to showing up, punching you in the face and getting the fuck out. Of course on "Black Madonna" there was harsh repetition as well but here the point doesn't seem to be drilling it into the listener as much as setting a mood of ever-growing tension and seething banality. Which brings us to the other big difference, that being the growing lyrical focus on depression, disgust, dissatisfaction with every aspect of life and the boiling over of those elements into intense acts of anti-societal violence. Seriously, this record may as well be the soundtrack to every mass murder and workplace massacre every committed. This is the sound of falling down. This is what it is to exist at the end of your rope. This is not being able to take it anymore, of being fed up with everything. Earlier lyrics hinted at this sort of personal downward spiral but there was always a hint of malicious, sardonic humour thrown in. Here it's all serious. There's nothing even remotely ironic or amusing here. You've been doing everything wrong, you're fucking everything up, it just keeps getting worse and someone is going to have to pay. It's some of the angriest, most bitter and poisoned music that i've ever heard. I fucking love it. There's a song about disposing of bodies. There's a song about murdering tons of children. Every mind is on the brink of collapse. It all falls apart. And always, always, the Austerity Program ratchet up the tension, grinding ever closer to the sweet, sweet demolishing release of drum machine hyperblasts behind scathing guitar waste. Mean, mean shit here.
The Austerity Program have never been a project that wastes time or fucks around. This is all maximum impact full velocity detritus flowing all around you. Reality is cracking every hour, every day. Stress just fucking builds. Not every form of catharsis is good, nor is every escape truly such. There's a plan, there's coordinates, there's a specific way to get there.
You just might not like the outcome.

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