Review: Bigstrut ‘Bigstrut’

Noise rock is as big now as it has ever been, possibly more so than in its late ‘80s/early to mid ‘90s heyday. Bands such as The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, Chat Pile and The Tunnel have been leading the resurgence of late and now we have Los Angeles’ Bigstrut to add to this ever-expanding list…

Bigstrut 'Bigstrut' Artwork
Bigstrut ‘Bigstrut’ Artwork

There isn’t a fantastic wealth of online information available on the band, and nor could I find a social media presence, which for an artist in 2023 is unusual. What I did manage to uncover is that Bigstrut are a duo comprised of Nick Turner on guitar/bass and Jared Moran on drums/vocals. Seeing as Bigstrut marks their full-length debut with no prior releases (again, that I could find when undertaking my research), one has to assume that their formation happened relatively recently. I am ready to be proven wrong of course.

Interestingly for a band ascribed the noise-rock tag, Resolution opens the album in a slightly different fashion to what I was expecting. The vocals for instance are far harsher, with a slight blackened death metal tinge to them, while the music is also considerably heavier, employing, as it does, more of a filth laden sludge-based sound akin to Dream Death crossed with Unsane. All of this seems to bode well for the rest of the album I’d say.

Domestic strangely grows increasingly catchy the more you listen to it, and I was also reminded of Chris Reifert of Autopsy’s now sadly defunct crust-punk side-project Abscess. This is no ‘Hey ho, let’s go’ friendly Ramones style singalong, this is the musical equivalent of grimy, rat-infested burnt-out buildings and nefarious characters from the wrong side of the tracks. Again, like the aforementioned Unsane, this is the soundtrack to hell, with LA being transplanted for New York instead. Dig beneath the Hollywood bullshit facade and glamour and this is what you get.

Dig beneath the Hollywood bullshit facade and glamour and this is what you get…

Liberate, despite its outwardly pummelling approach is fairly nuanced with nods to psychedelia and math/prog-rock. These moments are subtle and whether this is intentional on the band’s part is uncertain, however, whatever the case, it works! House Clear marks the album’s halfway point and with its bludgeoning stop-start riffing style is reminiscent of traditional post-hardcore and noise-rock ala Helmet and The Jesus Lizard than any of the preceding tracks so far. Of course, the band offer up their own harsh twist that helps add a sense of uniqueness to proceedings.

Suicide, at nearly six and half minutes, is the album’s longest track and a little more experimental with the band creating a sense of space through dynamics that you’d associate with the better end of post-metal ala early Neurosis, an excellent piece. Gluttony is one of the seven deadly sins so hopefully I’m not cursed as a result of listening to Glutton, a tasty yet nasty number that embraces black metal and bares similarities to the likes of Usnea.

Pillar is slow and grinding with an industrial pulse present that recalls Godflesh and makes for intentionally uneasy listening, while the not terribly pleasant sounding Rancid Grave matches the tracks title in the aural sense. A miasma of pure evil with which to conclude the album.

Those expecting a traditional sounding noise-rock record may prove somewhat disappointed and whereas it does share some of that genre’s similarities in terms of abrasiveness, it definitely leans more towards ‘metal’. Whilst I don’t feel Bigstrut are necessarily reinventing the wheel musically speaking, it is nevertheless an enjoyable release with some interesting stylistic twists and turns along the way.

Label: Malevolent Sound
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Reza Mills