Label: The World Is Fucked Recordings Release date: Out Now! Website: MySpace
Striking you like a box of firecrackers cruelly lit as you sleep snug in your bed, the drums on ‘The End of the World’ are monstrous, setting forth a cavernous cacophony of noise. The bold chorus reminds me a little of Queens of the Stone Age’s ‘First It Giveth’ only as if it was performed by Depeche Mode dancing the rubik’s cube with Ministry in a dingy Warehouse located just off the M25. There are a lot of moments on The Fortress And The Fatalist when you’re thinking to yourself, “I recognize that from somewhere”. The somewhat dated sound that pitches somewhere between Pretty Hate Machine and Killing Joke’s Fire Dances, periodically stopping off into Sonic Youth’s agitated experimentation and the majesty of shoegaze. ‘Leeches’ unleashes a howl of feedback before rocking again into dark eighties industrial textures, ‘Not On My Watch’ with its scratchy riffage dwells in the greasy shadow of Fear Factory before mellowing out completely, the landscape abruptly changes into starlit serenity. ‘The Yellow House’ is Sonic Youth-y, careless yet consciously cool. Fellow critics have compared the band to the Smashing Pumpkins (A band they hoaxed back in 2006. Use Google to track down this ‘humorous’ story), The Fortress And The Fatalist is somewhat reminiscent of the gruel the Pumpkins served when Billy went bald, though handfuls of genres are crossed intrepidly; spectrums of sound are circled, dotted and splattered. Amy Blue takes a phone box trip through time, slapping palms and cracking craniums. ‘Amy Dates Destiny’ projects sugary dreams that are reminiscent of the more passionate moments of shoegaze, ‘White Noise’ on the other hand unravels completely; a hurdy gurdy speedball of nausea and manic pandemonium, again it has the Lee Ronaldo feel old school SY touch. Shaving a few flowers from the bouquet of goodwill the closing two tracks are regressively average. ‘Itch’ recalls the metallic clunge stank of InMe and ‘Speak of the Devil’ is a puddle of drippy slush. Yes, I know you could say that the track is a reflective breather, a nice climax after the rabble that has gone before, but the album needed to close on a erect exclamation mark rather than a drooping whimper. The Fortress And The Fatalist is a stern tug on the sleeve as opposed to a robotic chop to the solar plexus. Nearly there, but not quite ready to take celebratory slurps from the golden chalice of widespread admiration. Rating: 7/10