Oh the Finns. It’s perhaps not a secret that Finland has done more than its fair share for underground music in the last few years in terms of both metal and harsh noise, but it’s also home to some of the finest sludge and noise rock in Europe currently too. Throat are one of a growing number of bands coming from that neck of the woods bringing forth some top class 90s inspired noise rock, keeping that sound alive and adding a modern twist to it in the process. After a fine MLP and a bunch of 7″s in the last two years or so, we finally get the full length they’ve been hinting at. And it’s a keeper.
Opener “Gas Gift” kicks things off nicely, with some Unsane style swing and gnashing guitars, setting things up nicely for the rest of the album – if you’re already a fan it confirms it’s business as usual, and if you’re a new convert it’ll grab your attention straight away.
“Asbestos” which follows is an early highlight, a lurching number that uses some clockwork drumming and ominous bassline before layers of guitar come clanging in over the top. There’s a feel of subdued menace that brings the Birthday Party to mind here, and that’s no idle compliment. “Katoye” continues that at a more upbeat pace.
Mood is where Throat really excel – rarely has a record carried the same feeling of someone struggling to contain the urge to lash out. There’s a focus on layering guitar dischords over a steady rhythm that they have down pat by now, and it can be dazzling and disorientating at the same time. In spite of capturing a controlled chaos in how the instruments play off each other, they never lose focus on how to write a killer song. As a result, each one of these tracks is as head banging as it is head spinning.
“Soft White Walls” is a perfect example. Insistent and repetitious, a fractured mess of guitars and yelled catchphrases for its opening section, it slips into a slower and more unified section in the middle (with a dual guitar line that I swear could have come off an Autopsy record!) before picking up again. Simple idea, sure, but executed perfectly.
Highlight for me though is the penultimate “Euthanasia Coaster”, where the control over the chaos slips momentarily, and we’re allowed the full, migraine inducing guitar squall the rest of the album has threatened, the full feedback and scree assault coming to a climax here. It’s a glorious noise. Closer “Bad Heat” seems almost like a ballad afterwards, taking a more relaxed (if no less angular) trot towards the finish line. Mind you, after the initial full band canter dies down, the foursome give us almost 20 minutes of amp hiss before the song “officially” ends.
From the subtly lurid cover art to the menacing but vague lyrics, right down to the raw, clear production – Throat have captured the 90s noise rock vibe of AmRep/Boner/Touch & Go etc perfectly. They often come across as a modern day Glazed Baby or Helmet in fact.
In spite of having their roots in music from 20 years ago however, they sound fresh here, they’ve developed little traits of their own in their songwriting that ensure they’re no mere retro act. Along with US band Tile, this band are easily amongst the best in the style going right now, and “Manhole” confirms their superiority without question.
Scribed by: Jamie Grimes