Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Long Knife - Wilderness

Long Knife play that kind of no-quarters-given hardcore punk infused with roughhouse rock and roll tone that Poison Idea tore it up with. Long Knife/Poison Idea comparisons could be to 2013 what Night Birds/Dead Kennedys comparisons were to 2011. Both bands make hardcore punk lifting heavily from some of the best punk bands to ever do it, both sounding a bunch like bands that while beloved by many are actually kinda hard to sound like because they were just so fucking good. A lot of bands might have tinges and hints of Kings of Punk and Ian Mackaye but not many nail that sound down the way Long Knife manage, which is clear from the fact that there are not a huge amount of bands in the plain Poison Idea worship pool, the way there are with Discharge or the Ramones, because really, if your band could sound just like War All the Time, why would you want your band to sound like anything else?

A sarcastic sour perspective pervades Wilderness, it's an album born from a nasty mental space, coloured by an ugly physical space, a combination of interior and exterior filth. Back to Blackout screaming "There's a war going on in the hall/Last night's blood is dried to the wall." It's like Culo in its evocations of and obsession with these dark spaces but less gleeful in its nihilism, cos while Culo revel in their mutant imprecations, Long Knife are just trapped there. After the meanmugging instrumental Intro, the first line on Artificial Heart Recall is "Tried to paint a pretty picture with a crooked pen", which is pretty much it, it's caught in this ugly situation, incapable of escape, a world of remorseless predators and shambling forlorn prey, a Robocop slice-of-life, they really Feel the Darkness.

Narco, a Power of the Dog-style drug war assault from top to bottom, shades maybe of the outrage of Rats Blood's Heroin, which goes at the society that and the ones who judge more than it hits the addicts, but still it's got a shout of "A nation of junkies get what it deserves" just to complete its encompassing blast. Tearaway punk that explodes perfectly into squealing tracerfire solo. It also rhymes KKK with CIA which is one of the most punk rhymes you can do. That widescatter scream of anger might suggest an outside looking in exceptionalist take on all this murk, that everyone falls beneath a standard set by the narrator/singer, but it never has that superiority to it cos it attacks its own inadequacies, its own broken pens, as much as it rolls against everything else.

Drugs pop up a couple of time on the album. It's just a fact of life in Wilderness, narcotising against pain and boredom is just a thing that happens in these places. In Back to Blackout, rotting in City Baby urban decay, obliterating yourself with flophouse blue pills is the only way to chase away the flophouse blues, before it goes all quasi-metal evil as it intones the chorus. Turn Blue's "Daddy was a rolling stone/Snorting cocaine all alone".

Turn Blue and Ghost in the Hall scratch further at the inevitability of death and the pointlessness of life. "One fine day when you are gone/Will your memory flicker on" on Turn Blue, "And in the end we will all fall, tormented and alone" on Ghost in the Hall. Those Jerry A-style vocals drawling and sneering, cracking into bitter half-retches as the philippics peak.

Move It Creep that moves from uncompromising dismissal "Nevermind what you said/Integrity's a word that you've killed dead" to something starker, as the bass skates and dances under the riffs, Proxy wild. The first line's "MOVE IT CREEP! FIGURE IT OUT!" but the second verse leads off  with "I'LL MISS YOU CREEP/YOU WERE MY DAWG!" it's one of the few times that regret sneaks into the album, one of the few times that an emotion beyond spitting outrage and fatalistic snarling is pulled out. A brief acknowledgment of real feeling, but that got snatched away with all the rest of the shit, as everything will with the apocalyptic Last Wave. Tight snapping hardcore, punk rock to burn bridges to. Pig Champion rides again. On Feral Ward records.

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