Eye Flys were formed by guitarist Spencer Hazard and drummer Patrick Forrest; the former’s day job is with arch grindcore masters Full of Hell, while the latter plays in Backslider. Anyone who is familiar with either of these bands will know them for their chaotic, breakneck pace and intensity, something which they step away from with this new project. Joined by Backslider’s Jake Smith on guitars and vocals and Triac’s Kevin Bernsten on bass, Context is Eye Flys’ first release and consists of six tracks of menace and teeth-clenching venom. Hardly surprising fare from a band named after a track from Melvins’ superlative Gluey Porch Treatments album.

‘Stems’ opens the album and centres on a beautifully distorted bass riff which has all of the hallmarks of the bands that Eye Flys so obviously aspire to reference – Melvins, Unsane and Cherubs, to name a few. ‘Stems’ is a two-and-a-half minute sludge stomper which is hardly reinventing the wheel but is still mighty good fun. Smith’s vocals are spat out, relentless in their hostility and provocation. “What the fuck makes you so sure?” he hollers at the listener after asserting in the lyrics that he “don’t know shit.” Here, then, is a band seemingly at odds with the world around them as they rage against the machine of others’ apathy.

Eye Flys crank it up a few gears on ‘Dosed’ which follows. This song has a more hardcore feel to it, coming off as it does as something that All Pigs Must Die or early Code Orange would have spewed out. Standard d-beat drums underpin the busy riffs of the guitars which intertwine and weave a punk ethos to the sound that Eye Flys belch out in their gnarly, pessimistic manner. Any album with tracks titled ‘Crushing of the Human Spirit’ and ‘Fuckface’ can be seen as nothing other than cynical of humanity and bleak in nature which is certainly true of the main themes on Context. There is also a sense of urgent and cathartic action here, like an enema you weren’t expecting and didn’t feel you needed until everything is flushed out of you.

‘Weaponize’ has jagged, razor sharp riffs which pulverise the listener in the most satisfying of ways, before the album’s best track ‘The Triumph of Hagbard Celine’ takes hold with an almost math-rock opening riff which is dizzying in its intricacy. The song is over all too quickly but promises much for the future of Eye Flys, as this feels like the moment on the album when they find their own voice as it is less indebted to their influences than what has gone before it.

With some of the exacerbated and tensely delivered vocals it’s easy to mishear some of the lyrics, but I really hope that the opening line to ‘Fuckface’ is “You Billy Bastard/ You’re scruffy.” In all likelihood it’s probably not (the second line could also be “You disgust me”) but the idea of a member of Backslider suggesting that the target of their vitriol is scruffy is a pleasing one to these ears. The album closes on this track, the longest here at just over three minutes. The lyrics centre on toxic masculinity and are again delivered in a spleen shattering manner of visceral rage and aggravation while a punk-inflected maelstrom of noise erupts from the drums and guitars. There are changes to the track’s time signature, a key change and even a guitar solo as Eye Flys look to challenge the expectations of the genre they exist within.

Context is an enjoyable romp through the murky terrain of sludge, hardcore and noise-rock but there are melodies and musical intricacies at play here which may surprise.