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Notorious noise-niks A Place To Bury Strangers don't do cheerful. Happiness is simply not a setting on their monochrome pedalboard of doom. Transfixiation grumbles, squeals and hollers, forgoing craftsmanship of songwriting for total aural desolation. Already on their fourth album, instead of pushing themselves as musicians or songwriters, A Place To Bury Strangers prefer to stick to what they do best; pushing EQ levels above and beyond the red zone.

Transfixiation is a mixture of straight up noise-rock filled with ear splitting feedback solos ('Straight'); throbbing shoegaze ('What We Don't See'); nostalgic 80s post-punk reminiscence (Now It's Over); and even some slow-core doom-rock ('Deeper'). Its a bit of a tour through all the different kinds of music you might want to make if you have a bunch of expensive, boutique fuzz-pedals, something A Place To Bury Strangers have in abundance thanks to frontman Oliver Ackermann's homemade guitar pedal business Death By Audio.

He may be a dab-hand with a soldering iron and a circuit board, but Ackermann certainly isn't going to winning a T.S Eliot Prize for Poetry anytime soon. Transfixiation focusses on lyrical concepts surrounding the depths of depression and death in a predictably morose and occasionally hackneyed fashion. Then again, you don't listen to a band called A Place To Bury Strangers for flights of fancy and whimsical imagery do you? Thankfully, their shortcomings as lyricists are eradicated by their ability to create a bloody brilliant racket.

There aren't many hooks to grab hold of, but the fuzzy wall-of-sound envelops and - as the album title suggests - entrances you. There's plenty here for those who enjoy giving their ear drums a good old pounding from time-to-time, and for those who really want to experiment with joys of tinnitus, I would strongly suggest you go and see A Place To Bury Strangers' infamous live show complete with brain frying levels of noise and an incessant blitz of strobe lighting to boot.

There may be variances in sound on a track-by-track basis, but individual songs lack any real dynamic shifts and as a result this makes Transfixiation a fairly gruelling listen. Unless you admire a band that simply sets its stall to make a continuous racket without much thought for the subtleties of song-craft, then this is not the album for you. Calgary post-punks Viet Cong have recently shown us the virtue of combining melody with mayhem by releasing one of the finest noise-rock debuts in years. A Place To Bury Strangers could probably take note that it is more effective to shout when you have something worth shouting about. That said, there is is plenty of guitar gear geekery on Transfixiation to keep a certain kind fanatic happy, a certain kind of music lover who likes his guitars loud, brash and so fuzzy it rattles your teeth.

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