Right before I get to the review for this record you’ll need to grab a few things. You’ll need some fisherman’s waders, gloves, gasmask….you know what, fuck it! It’s 2020 the worlds gone to shit so stick ya’ eBay hazmat suit on and buckle up bud because this one’s a stagnant pile of filth.
Today I have the…well I’d say pleasure but not sure that’s the right word for this record. We have Victoria, Canada’s Resent and their debut full length Crosshairs co-released by three great labels from across the globe. The UK’s Dry Cough, Nerve Altar out of USA and Rope Or Guillotine out of The Netherlands.
Crosshairs is a sludge record of the ugliest kind, drawing on the classic sounds of sludge legends Grief, Noothgrush and Corrupted. The group have produced easily the bleakest album I have heard all year. It’s always apt when a bands sound perfectly encapsulates the name of their genre but it’s even better when they take it ten steps further and cover that sludge in a thick layer of disease, disdain and scum to create this amorphous resonance that is just incredible. If that doesn’t sound good then we are very different people.
The record is filled with these heinous samples that introduce or finish off each track and serve the purpose of introducing the subject matter of each track, whether it be drug abuse, mental health, self-hatred or religious indoctrination.
The record starts with the aptly named Miserable with its first harrowing sample ‘Make Me Feel, How Much You Hurt…..IT HURTS ALOT ….. I CAN’T FEEL IT’. Resent then kick your teeth in with a distortion covered riff that’s cloaked in darkness, think New Zealand’s Meth Drinker or Seattle’s Burning Witch. Then comes this retched howl that creeps out between the thick layers of noise, just loud enough for you to hear it. It’s truly haunting. The breakdowns and riffs slow to this abrasive trudging pace that is so heavy, the concrete beneath you shatters at its sheer weight.
The record continues with tracks like Degenerate which feels like it’s about self-hatred, and with track names like Wallowing In Filth that opens with a sample referring to bodies lying on the floor, smeared in shit and living in a life of misery, the album does not relent in its despairing tone.
but it’s even better when they take it ten steps further and cover that sludge in a thick layer of disease, disdain and scum to create this amorphous resonance that is just incredible…
As the record rolls on it gets more and more claustrophobic with the addition of low gutturals which does add a little variation to the sound. Each track also finishes with quite a large gap, which seems intentional. It’s really ominous as you’re waiting for the next distress inducing sample.
The sound isn’t perfect. The production, alongside the performance is purposefully washed out, messy and over distorted to portray the subject matter. It’s meant to be dirty and it’s not for the faint hearted. It’s produced to sound like it’s spewed out from the nastiest part of your soul, that part you’ve subconsciously locked away.
The stand out title track Crosshairs. It’s got this great pace and reminds me of EyeHateGod if their sound was drenched in even more darkness. It’s a monster of a track with one of the most uncomfortable samples of what sounds like a young lady, seemingly being sedated and screaming she doesn’t want the ‘needle’, which is frankly distressing. The album’s rounded off with Miscarriage which starts off with this weird trance like group discussion talking about ‘I am I, you are you’ over and over before crushing you again with riff after riff.
Ah man how do you sum up a record like this? Other than the occasional vocal change and sample, there isn’t a tremendous amount of variation to the record. The tracks could easily mould into one and that’s OK because it’s not the intention to be intricate and spellbinding. It’s intended to be a raw and an emotional release of despair and, on that side of things, Resent nailed it.
This is not an easy listen, but it’s not meant to be. I can’t imagine this record is going to be on heavy rotation but there is something really intriguing about it. It’s something you certainly need to be in the mood for and dedicate some time too, but if you like your music utterly bleak and soul destroying then look no further. Crosshairs is for you.
Now if you excuse me, I need to go and take a long ass bath to wash this filth off…
Scribed by: Matt Alexander